Fort Beaufortis a town 147 km north-west of East London, 80 km north of Grahamstown and 22 km west of Alice. It was laid out in 1837 around a fort of the same name, built in 1822 by Lieutenant Colonel H Maurice Scott against marauding Xhosas and named after the Duke of Beaufort, father of Lord Charles Somerset. Municipal status was achieved in 1883. The War of the Axe (1846) started as a result of a dispute over an axe in a shop in Fort Beaufort.

The Gaikaskop peak north of Hogsback in the Amatole Mountains some 40 km north-east of Fort Beaufort.

The town lies at the confluence of the Kat River and Brak River between the Keiskamma and Great Fish Rivers. Fort Beaufort serves as a mini-‘dormitory’ for academic staff and students of Fort Hare University. In 1840 Fort Beaufort became a town. Around this time Andrew Geddes Bain built the first road, including the Ecca Pass, from Grahamstown, to Fort Beaufort.

Adelaide is a town some 22 km east of Bedford, 37 km west of Fort Beaufort and 91 km north of Grahamstown.

Fort Beaufort is part of the Raymond Mhlaba Local Municipality which is a Category B municipality situated in the Winterland of the Eastern Cape under the jurisdiction of the Amathole District. It is approximately 200km from Port Elizabeth.
It is the largest municipality of the six in the district, making up a third of its geographical area. Raymond Mhlaba was established by the amalgamation of the Nkonkobe and Nxuba Local Municipalities in August 2016.
It is a countryside municipality that includes the imposing and majestic mountain range of the Winterberg (IiNtabazeNkonkobe). The rural hinterland forms part of the municipal area. Most of the farming activities take place in the rural areas, which consist of partly-owned farms, and this plays a major role in the economic growth of the area.

Area: 6 357km²

Cities/Towns: close to Fort Beaufort are Adelaide, Alice, Bedford, Hogsback, Middeldrift, and Seymore.

The Winterberge Mountain range extending east and west, about halfway between Tarkastad in the north and Bedford, Adelaide and Fort Beaufort in the south. Afrikaans for ‘winter mountain’, the name is derived from the climate in that season, when the peaks are covered with snow for three months. Also known as Thaba Yamoya, ‘mountain of wind’.

Fort Beaufort Tourism

Great Fish River Nature Reserve

Located 45 km’s form Fort Beaufort. The 45 000ha Great Fish Reserve provides visitors with panoramic views over diverse habitats of succulent bushveld and scenic river courses, supporting an abundance of wildlife.

The Great Fish Nature Reserve is a clustered conservation area comprised of the Andries Vosloo Kudu Reserve, Double Drift Kudu Reserve and Double Drift Nature Reserve – linked by a circular route and divided by the Great Fish River. An abundance of big game provides visitors with excellent game viewing opportunities.

This wilderness area in the historic frontier country once formed the boundary between Settler and Xhosa territories, evident through the forts, barracks, signalling towers and graves scattered in the area.

Mpofu Nature Reserve

Mpofu Nature Reserve is located 21 km’s away from Fort Beaufort. Mpofu Nature Reserve is a nature reserve in the Amatole district of the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa that is managed by Eastern Cape Parks.

Central Reservations: +27 43 492 0881

Fort Fordyce Nature Reserve

Fort Fordyce Nature Reserve (FFNR) is situated approximately 12km north-west of Fort Beaufort in the Eastern Cape, and falls within the boundaries of Nkonkobe Local Municipality and Amathole District Municipality. The Reserve lies on the Amatola Escarpment, on a plateau surrounded by steep kloofs and cliffs, offering a spectacular view over the Hogsback and Katberg Mountains to the north.

The Amatola mountains are known to be a regional centre of endemism. The Fort Fordyce Nature Reserve was originally proclaimed as State Forest in 1896, with the intention of conserving indigenous forests and establishing commercial plantations. It was extended in 1910 and 1945 with the proclamation of two additional pieces of land as State Forest.

Central Reservations: +27 43 492 0881

Self-drive game viewing
Black wildebeest
Blue duiker
Chacma baboons
Mountain reedbuck

Return to the Eastern Cape Towns/Cities page HERE

Visit the Eastern Cape Provincial Reserves page or Eastern Cape Private Reserves or maybe you would like to return to the Eastern Cape page. The Eastern Cape also includes some National Parks please visit the Eastern Cape National Parks page HERE.

For more information on Eastern Cape Tourism please click HERE.

Fort Beaufort

Key Statistics 2011

Total population 25,668
Young (0-14) 29,6%
Working Age (15-64) 63,9%
Elderly (65+) 6,5%
Dependency ratio 56,5
Sex ratio 89
Population density 310 persons/km2
No schooling aged 20+ 8,2%
Higher education aged 20+ 8,8%
Matric aged 20+ 21,1%
Number of households 7,379
Average household size 3,4
Female headed households 49,5%
Formal dwellings 94,7%
Housing owned/paying off 51,3%
Flush toilet connected to sewerage 86,4%
Weekly refuse removal 67,1%
Piped water inside dwelling 45,2%
Electricity for lighting 93%