Mthatha (formerly called Umtata) was once the capital of the former Transkei homeland of South Africa, but is now one of the larger towns in the Eastern Cape. If you're heading to the Wild Coast it's the last place to get decent provisions.
Mthatha has its own airport and scheduled flights to Johannesburg are available with SA Airlink.
The train station is just south of the city centre.
The railway line to East London via Amabele has been upgraded and a full passenger service between Amabele and Mthatha began operating on 1 March 2008. This route is called "Kei Rail". Trains run once a day, leaving early in the morning, with passengers being conveyed from Amabele (76 km north of East London) to East London by bus. The trip takes about 12 hours. Since 2011 a trough train is available to East London.
A must see is the Nelson Mandela Museum (open week days and on Saturday till 12) and its beautiful craft shop of the Ithemba project.
Life St Mary's Private Hospital
- St Mary's is a 140-bedded private hospital. It is the only private healthcare facility serving the former Transkei region. All the major specialities are represented and a 24 hour GP run casualty unit caters to most types of medical emergencies. The hospital accepts all medical aids, and self-funding patients are also welcome. Rates are the same as that of other Life Healthcare Hospitals elsewhere in the country. St Mary's has recently undergone a major refurbishment and exciting new developments are planned for the near future. The hospital is centrally located at 30 Durham street and is easily accessible off Nelson Mandela drive, close to the Nelson Mandela museum . When you enter Mthatha from the airport you will be able to see the bright red hospital tower above the surrounding rooftops.Further information is available on www.lifehealthcare.co.za or 047 505 5600.
- Ebony B&B. The Ebony Restaurant is perhaps the best restaurant in the Eastern Cape and one would not expect to find it in Mthatha.
- Ocean Basket. A seafood chain found in most cities and large towns, it also offers a reasonable salad.
There are numerous places to stay in the town, and finding accommodation is usually not difficult.
- Ebony B&B (Not far from Walter Sisulu University). An enjoyable place to eat and sleep is the Ebony B&B. Steak, Johannesburg Urban Art décor, wrap around patio, plantation-style building. The site of the local Lions club dinners. R400 per night.