Kokstad is a town in Kwazulu Natal province, founded in 1863 and named after the then-leader of the Griquas: Adam Kok III. The Griquas, or Greek wax in Afrikaans, is a population group that originated when white European men based in the Cape married dark African women. The children that emerged from these marriages were often seen as ‘bastards’ and formed their own population group that later left the Cape along the Orange River, calling their new place of residence Griqualand in the region we now know as the Free State. From there a subgroup was formed later, led by Adam Kok III, who traveled east across the Drakensberg due to the increasing confrontations with the Voortrekkers who also left the Cape. The group of about 2000 Griquas settled at Mount Currie (on the border of what we now know as the provinces of Kwazulu Natal and the Eastern Cape), Adam Kok called the newly acquired land East Griqualand.

The area around Kokstad is popular because of the many rivers and dams where fishing is good and there are three nature reserves: Mount Currie, Wilfred Bauer and Mountain Lake Nature Reserve. You have come to the wrong place to see a lot of game or the Big Five, but nature is beautiful and pure and there are many birds to see. The Wilfred Bauer Nature Reserve offers beautiful picnic areas and Mountain Lake Nature Reserve has beautiful little hiking trails for relaxing nature walks. Christal Dam offers good opportunities for fishing, both from the shore and on the water itself and other water sports.

Those interested in the history of the Griquas should definitely visit the East Griqualand Museum located in the main street of Kokstad. The monument to the Griquale leader Adam Kok is on Hope Street and this street also houses St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, which was built in 1884. There are a number of restaurants and various accommodation options in and around Kokstad.

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