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.

Get in

By car

The N2 highway runs directly through Mthatha and allows easy connections to Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London to the south, and Durban to the north.

The R61 regional road goes east to Port St Johns on the coast, and west to Queenstown as well as the mountainous and relatively remote interior.

By plane

Mthatha has its own airport and scheduled flights to Johannesburg are available with SA Airlink.

By train

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



There are numerous places to stay in the town, and finding accommodation is usually not difficult.

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