Bathurst is a town located on the Kowie River, 55 km southeast of Grahamstown and 15 km north-west of Port Alfred. Port Alfred is the principal town of the Bathurst district, at the mouth of the Kowie River. Bathurst neighbours the Waters Meeting Nature Reserve, home to many species of animals, bird and plants. The reserve offers hiking trails, picnic spots and a remarkable viewpoint of the river and valley.

Founded in 1820 and named after Lord Bathurst, Secretary of State for the Colonies, by Sir Rufane Donkin, Acting Governor of the Cape at that time. Beautiful, bountiful Bathurst is a fascinating little hamlet situated 15 km’s from Port Alfred. It is an 1820 Settler village that survived turbulent times to emerge today as a peaceful haven, showcasing an eclectic mix of old and new. Bathurst’s chief claim to fame is that it was (briefly) the administrative centre for the 1820 British Settlers who were established in the district as a buffer between the Cape colony and the Xhosa pastoralists.  The town was initially intended to be the administrative capital of the Albany district, but the administrative function was moved to Grahamstown by Sir Charles Somerset because of Grahamstown’s superior military position. It was established by British Settlers in May 1820. In 1820, the first 4,000 British Settlers arrived in the Cape and were transported by Ox Wagon to Bathurst in the Eastern Cape where they were allocated land. The reality was that the Settlers soon found themselves in the middle of a struggle between Xhosa and British Soldiers.

Many of the original settler buildings have been preserved, and there remains much of the look and feel of an English village of the early 19th Century. The Pig and Whistle, at the heart of the village, is reputedly the oldest existent pub in the country. It was built in 1831 by Thomas Hartley, a blacksmith who came from Nottinghamshire with the Settlers. Later accommodation was added and it became known as the Bathurst Inn. Legend has it that it was nicknamed “The Pig & Whistle” by the men at the nearby 43 Air School in WWII.

Trappe’s Valley a settlement about 10 km north-east of Bathurst. Named after Captain Charles Trappe who was Second in Command of the 72nd Regiment at Grahamstown in 1819. He was the founder of Bathurst and Provisional Magistrate in 1820.

The Kasuka River rises in the hills between Bathurst and Kenton on Sea and flows south-east to enter the Indian Ocean near Kasouga, some 6 km north-east of the mouth of the Kariega River. Of Khoekhoen origin but adapted to Xhosa, the name means ‘many tigers’ (ie leopards).

While time has moved slowly in Bathurst, there is an increasing population of artists, academics and retirees who have chosen to live in this tranquil environment.

Visit Bathurst when Exploring the Sunshine Coast.

Contact the Tourism office.
Port Alfred Office:
Causeway, Port Alfred
Tel: 046-624-1235


Key Statistics 2011

Total population 737
Young (0-14) 15,6%
Working Age (15-64) 66,6%
Elderly (65+) 17,8%
Dependency ratio 50,1
Sex ratio 96
Population density 10 persons/km2
No schooling aged 20+ 1,1%
Higher education aged 20+ 31,6%
Matric aged 20+ 29%
Number of households 319
Average household size 2,2
Female headed households 33,6%
Formal dwellings 92,2%
Housing owned/paying off 57,9%
Flush toilet connected to sewerage 27,6%
Weekly refuse removal 85,8%
Piped water inside dwelling 59,6%
Electricity for lighting 93,8%


Bathurst is part of the Ndlambe Local Municipality which is a Category B municipality situated within the Sarah Baartman District Municipality in the Eastern Cape Province. It is bordered by Makana to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the south, Ngqushwa to the east and Sundays River Valley to the west. It is the smallest of the seven municipalities in the district, making up only 3% of its geographical area.

The Ndlambe municipal area forms part of the Eastern Coastal Zone, which can be described as having a pristine coastal area, well-preserved river mouths and inter-tidal areas, diverse vegetation, relatively low density development along the coast, and major tourism potential.

Cities/Towns: Alexandria, Bathurst, Boknes/Cannon Rocks, Bushmans River, Kenton-on-Sea, Port Alfred, Seafield

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