Grahamstown was founded in 1812 by the British as part of their colonial expansion plan in South Africa. The years that followed saw increased tension between the local Xhosa tribe and the British Colonial Army. This culminated with an ill-fated attempt by the Xhosa Warriors to capture Grahamstown in 1819.
The following year saw the start of the 1820 Settlers program where British Settlers were encouraged to move to the Grahamstown area. People with an interest in British Colonial history will find this area of the Eastern Cape of great interest. Grahamstown and the surrounding areas are full of monuments, historical buildings and famous battle sites and a historical tour of Grahamstown is highly recommended for those who wish to gain an insight into the interesting ‘frontier town’ past of this area.
Today Grahamstown has become famous as one of South African top cultural and educational destinations. It is home to many of South Africa’s top academic, legal and religious institutions and has often been referred to as the ‘City of Scholars’ and the ‘City of Saints’ due to its many religious and educational facilities. With a good selection of restaurants and accommodation, Grahamstown is perhaps most famously known for playing host to two large festivals each year. The National Arts Festival in June/July and the SciFest Africa in March/ April, each attract in excess of 50,000 people.