Mthatha – A historical gateway to the Wild Coast

April 3, 2023

A land so wealthy that it feeds the nation, it’s also rich in cultural heritage and history that’s deeply entrenched in what makes us a great country. Birthplace of world-renowned anti-apartheid revolutionary and SA’s first African democratically elected president, Tata Nelson Mandela; to say it is stunning would be doing it an injustice.

Mthatha is a small city located in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. It is known for its beautiful landscapes, lush vegetation, and rolling hills, which make it a perfect destination for nature lovers. Full of friendly people, it is also home to historical sites and museums that showcase the region’s vibrant history and culture. 

Nelson Mandela Museum

Without a doubt, when you visit Mthatha, you must go past the Nelson Mandela Museum. Located in the heart of the city, the museum is dedicated to the life and legacy of uTata Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. A historical building constructed in 1927, the museum houses a collection of gifts, awards, artefacts, documents, and photographs that tell the story of Mandela’s life, from his childhood in Qunu to his years in prison on Robben Island and his eventual release and presidency. 

Thembakazi Mvitshane, tour guide at the Nelson Mandela Museum said, “We have a selection of gifts that were presented to him from local and international communities in recognition for the role he played in the struggle for peace, freedom and democracy. When he accepted the gifts, he indicated that he accepted them on the behalf of the nation.”

One of the most remarkable artefacts at the museum is a replica of Tata’s prison cell on Robben Island. Constructed in October 2014, it allows people who may never reach Robben Island the opportunity to see the space Madiba was in. It’s also a symbol of encouragement to everyone who comes across it not to let their circumstances – no matter how dire – dictate where they end up in life.

The Ivory Eatery

After you enjoy your trip down memory lane, you will enjoy your downtime at The Ivory Eatery. A stone’s throw away from the Nelson Mandela Museum, the restaurant is à la mode and invites you to come and live your best life. Adorned with a good mood, the menu features a number of foodie favourites, including seafood, steak and vegetarian options.

Mains are served with a side of either chips, vegetables, salad, rice or mash, and you can look forward to all their steaks being accompanied by your choice of either homemade cheese, garlic, mushroom or pepper sauce. The Sea Food Pot was all the rave, made with fresh seafood, and the flavours are balanced and thus pleasing to the palate. Let down by their salmon, it was overcooked, which resulted in it being dry. One thing about The Ivory is you won’t go hungry as they dish up a generous amount of food that could guarantee a doggy bag home.

The salmon with veg at The Ivory Eatory

The Ivory Eatery also boasts an impressive drinks menu comprising of premium spirits and ciders. You can also look forward to their wine list, which has a selection of reds, whites, and sparkling wines from South Africa’s top vineyards.

Their excellent service and attention to detail make any occasion feel extra special. Whether you’re a foodie or simply looking for a great dining experience, The Ivory Eatery is worth visiting.

Hotel Savoy & Conference Centre

After a culturally rich day, laying your head on a fluffy pillow and comfortable bed will be a dream come true. This will be the case at Hotel Savoy & Conference Centre. Located just 5 minutes from The Ivory Eatery, the hotel is conveniently just outside the city. The Executive Suite is a decent-sized, open-plan room with comforts such as tea, coffee and water. The space needs some TLC, as chipped paint and water damage to the toilet walls are screaming for some maintenance. 

The Exec Suite at Hotel Savoy. Image source: Facebook/HotelSavoyMthatha

Ultimately, Mthatha offers a great blend of culture, history and modern amenities. You will enjoy your stay if you are a foodie, history enthusiast or globetrotter. Add Mthatha to your itinerary this Easter as you make your way to or through South Africa.

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    Welcome to the Wild Coast wonderland
    April 16, 2023 at 11:37 pm

    […] that serve as a reminder of the region’s turbulent past. You can visit the likes of the Nelson Mandela Museum to get the story behind one of history’s most remarkable […]

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