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Useful things to know about Umtata
- Umtata was the name of the city when it was the capital of Transkei. At the end of the apartheid era its status changed and it was renamed Mthatha
- Qunu, south of Umtata, was the birthplace and family home of Nelson Mandela and three museums in the area bear testament to the man’s struggles for his country
- Umtata is a base for visitors intending to visit the ‘Wild Coast’ region of Eastern Cape
Umtata Mini Guide
What can you Tell me About Umtata?
The city was founded a year after a military post was set up in the area. This soon grew thanks to the arrival of the Catholic and Anglican Church in the city followed by the development of the city as an administrative centre and subsequent capital for the Transkei. During and after the apartheid era it gained importance for being the home and subsequent political hotbed for many of the leading figures of the anti-apartheid movement including the president, Nelson Mandela.
How do I get to Umtata?
Travel to Umtata is easy as the city has its own airport with direct flights to Johannesburg Airport
daily with Airlink. The airport is just outside the city and has a bus link to Umtata city centre. Last year the airport handled nearly 40,000 passengers who came to see the museums dedicated to Nelson Mandela or who set off from the city to explore the so called ‘Wild Coast’.
What Should I do in Umtata?
Visiting the trio of Nelson Mandela museums is a must for an insight into the history of the man in relation to that of the nation. Another must for the adventurous is to drive, then perhaps hike and camp, along the Wild Coast that stretches east from the city.
Latest Update from Umtata:
- With this year marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ANC, Umtata's place as the birthplace of Nelson Mandela means that it will be high up on the list of places to enjoy the celebrations for the organisation that eventually freed black South Africans from apartheid. Keep an eye out locally for the many planned events.