Type of accommodation: B&B, self-catering and camping
A visit to Old Thomas River Historical Village will conjure up memories of a time long gone when in 1801, an English deserter by the name of Thomas Bentley was killed by a Bushman’s poisoned arrow while crossing the river – hence the name of Thomas River. Two stone forts at either side of the original station bear testament to the Frontier wars and the picturesque stone-dressed church tells the history of this farming community since 1888.
More than one hundred years later, the Sansom family has lovingly restored this village to its former glory and offers a wonderful holiday setting full of history, beauty and nature. Part of the Thomas River Conservancy, the village has joined with 19 farmers who together have 31000ha of land for the purpose of conservation and recreation.Immersed in tales of a time long gone, the historic dining hall offers the perfect venue for weddings, private functions and conferences. The Ramble In serves scrumptious country style cuisine and the Museum Pub is popular with locals and holiday makers alike.
A perfect spot for a family holiday, weekend break or for those who simply want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, Old Thomas River also offers a caravan and camping site with electricity and 2 ablution blocks. Equipped with a swimming pool, games room, table tennis, trampoline, swings and a slide, children are well catered for. Being part of the conservancy, trout and bass fishing are available and it is a wonderful area for mountain biking and in fact two annual events are held, ‘The Mean Cuisine Challenge’ in October and in May, the Extreme Outdoor which incorporates a MTB cycle, swimming, an obstacle course and running. Walks and hiking, with several trails starting from the village are popular and a wonderful way to explore the area while immersed in the outstanding natural beauty.
With over a 150 species of birds in the vicinity, it is a birders paradise and the flora varies from high altitude species of the mountain tops to sweet valley bushveld. The conservancy is steadily restocking the Bontebok plains with species that used to be endemic to the district making game sighting a frequent event and for an experience of a different kind, there is even a Vulture Restaurant nearby. All in all, Old Thomas River Historical Village is a holiday destination not to missed, offering history, beauty, nature and fun filled days in the Eastern Cape.