Xhosa ladies
©South African Tourism
Umtata was the capital of the nominally independent bantustan of the Transkei during the apartheid regime, so it’s a pretty big town, with a university and loads of infrastructural buildings. However, it still feels like an African village. It’s crowded and frenetic. Umtata is the biggest town on the N2, and it’s close to the turn off for the lovely Wild Coast resort towns of Coffee Bay and Port St Johns, so it’s a natural stopping place for fuel and refreshing. It also has a small airport with limited flights, so you might end up flying in. It’s not really the sort of place you’d want to spend too much time, unless you’re on business, but it’s a good overnight option if you’re driving through. It’s really not wise to drive through the Transkei at night, as the roads have numerous potholes and are unfenced so the chances of an inconvenient encounter with a large domestic animal are quite significant. And many of the local vehicles are not particularly road-worthy so headlights and tail lights are often considered optional.

But don’t just drive through – there is one very worthwhile stop. The Nelson Mandela Museum, which is conveniently situated on the N2, is a loving tribute to the world’s favourite politician. Budget an hour or so for this heart-warming interlude, and wander around this small, but interesting, museum and try to figure out just what makes this great man tick.

Mthatha Fun Rating

from 5 customer reviews
1.5 out of 5 stars!

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enjoyed the Museum
it was nice to see tata Mandela's house and the museum, Qunu, Bitji, Mthatha is a peaceful and beautiful place.Mirriam Kempton Park South Africa
mirriam makgato
South Africa

Spur reviews we read, posted 6 months before, were really bad, but we decided to give it a try. Area was a bit dark and dodgy, as people were sitting on the street drinking, but service and food were excellent, toilets clean and people were friendly. Someone came in from the street to tell us our car alarm went off, which we appreciated.Sorry to say that the main road, Nelson Mandela Drive, was filthy and buildings need maintenance. It would do a lot to the general appeal of Mthatha if Nelson Mandela Drive would get a face lift.
Mrs L. Richter
South Africa

Don't go there.
Mr Fazakerley

Lawless area
Sorry to say but Umtata people do not adhere to any road signs stop signs robots speed limits. Roads and infrastructure are dilapidated. The government pushes millions of rands into the area and there is no improvement. The shopping malls are filthy and you get the general feeling of lawlessness and corruption. I would not go there if it wasn't for business reasons.
Hein Louw
South Africa

Not a nice place, the main road is terrible - from the 4500 km whe did through SA, this was the worst. We felt unsafe to walk around. The Nelson Mandela museum is temperairly closed, so my advise is to stay away.
kris wuyts