Straddling the Mthatha River and the N2 highway 235km from East London, the fractious, shambolic town of MTHATHA (formerly Umtata) is the erstwhile capital of the Transkei and the Wild Coast region’s largest town. Unfortunately, it’s a pretty ugly place, its crowded and litter-strewn streets lined with nondescript 1970s office buildings, with the odd older architectural gem, albeit dilapidated. However, the town is useful for stocking up and drawing money, all of which can be done at the Spar Centre or Shell Ultra City on the edge of town. The only reason to venture into the town centre is to visit the Nelson Mandela Museum, housed in the old parliament, or bungha, built in 1927; however, it’s closed for refurbishment until 2013. The most interesting display in the museum traces the great man’s life with photos and other visual material. The museum co-ordinates guided trips to Qunu and Mveso, Mandela’s birthplace, from its sister museum, the Youth and Heritage Centre in Qunu.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

South Africa features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
6 reasons your next trip should be to Durban, South Africa

6 reasons your next trip should be to Durban, South Africa

Subtropical heat, golden beaches, craft distilleries and spicy curries: Durban is an intriguing mix of urban South Africa and the Indian subcontinent, with a ge…

25 Apr 2017 • Andy Turner insert_drive_file Article
7 amazing African journeys

7 amazing African journeys

Africa is a continent of wild open savannahs, terracotta sunsets, thousands of vibrant green hills and rugged coastlines. Here, you can be chugging along on …

06 Jul 2016 • Harriet Constable insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month