Engcobo Local Tourism
Engcobo is an area approximately 2 848 km squared and 80 km away from Qunu (Mtata) where former Tat’u Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela was born. Engcobo is bordered with Idutywa, Cofimvaba, Elliot and Umtata and is also a transit route for all types of travellers. Whether you like to call it Ngcobo (formerly Engcobo), or affectionately as EmaQwathini – the land of the Qwathi, this is just an area you would love to know. Geographically, Ngcobo falls in Thembuland, an area, which was historically defined as lying between Mthatha and the Upper Kei River. Thembuland was originally an independent kingdom ruled by the Hala royal clan. In the 19th century, the Tembu people were frequently known as the “Tamboekie” or “Tambookie” people, while in IsiXhosa language they called themselves abaThembu. The area was divided into Tembuland Proper, Emigrant Tembuland (Xalanga and St. Marks) and Bomvanaland (consisting of a distinct tribe). All these were under one King who was recognised by Europeans as a paramount chief.
Engcobo is home to many liberation icons like Dr. A.B Xuma (Manzana in Ward 09), Tat’uWalter Sisulu (Qutubeni in Ward 13) and many more. Luhewini MK Camp (Ward 14) is one of the battlefields found in Ngcobo that were used in the olden days. Clarkebury Boarding Institute (Ward 16) is located at Engcobo where Tat’ uNelson Mandela pursued his first degree in higher education.
Engcobo is a mountainous area that offers dramatic mountains and beautiful scenery. It has an outstanding heritage and natural beauty that together creates the heartbeat of the traditional Eastern Cape. Engcobo is blessed with a large area of agricultural land especially for maize production and has potential for production of wool growing/feedlot. Engcobo also has a beautiful swamp at Gqaga.
Engcobo Heroes Park has a Memorial Wall where all Engcobo Liberation Icons’ names are engraved together with Dr. A.B Xuma and Tat’ uWalter Sisulu life size statues and their biographies.
Clarkebury Institution is an educational institution established in 1830 by the Methodist Church missionaries with the invitation of King Vusani kaNdaba of abaThembu nation. The institution lists the likes of the late Dr. N. Mandela and Dr. A.B. Xuma (and many others) as its students and were greatly influenced by the school’s strong sense of social responsibility.
King Vusani KaNdaba (Aha -a-a-a Ngubengcuka) Monument: the monument of the late King Ngubengcuka of AbaThembu who was the first person to introduce Methodist Church missionaries in the Eastern Cape and also founder of Clarkebury in 1830’s.
Engcobo is one of the places where Rock Art Paintings has been discovered in different areas like Elucwecwe (Ward 08), Sinqumeni (Ward 20), Khalinyanga (Ward10) documenting the Khoisan as the earliest inhabitants of the area.
Arts and Culture:
The area has people who are passionate in craft, beadwork, cultural dance and artists of different genres (maskhandi, hip-hop, gospel singers, pop stars, etc.) Some of the artists have home studios to produce and manage other artists.
Tora Mass Grave: students were coming back from a concert when a bus accident occurred at Xonya Mountain in the 1980’s and many students died. More students have been buried at the same place at the Tora Mass Grave.
Quluqu Mass Grave: people of the area were hosting a traditional ceremony while lightning hit them which caused them to die. According to history, people who die in this manner were forced to be buried at the same place regardless of where they come from.
Yearly Event: Ubuntu Bethu Cultural Festival is an event that Engcobo Municipality hosts in September yearly to celebrate Heritage Month. All cultural groups, artists and crafters partake in the event.
Mjanyana Hiking Trail: Mjanyana is amongst areas that are ready to explore the rich tourism potential of the area; the hiking trail is located near Mjanyana Hospital at 63km outside Engcobo town and 9.2 km to and from Cobosi.
Zadungeni Adventure Trail: located in between Zadungeni and Sentube.
Sondlo Gym: for those who are focused on their health and wellness, there’s a gymnasium located at Msawawa location, Manzana with modern equipment.
Jackpot City Casino: dine, gamble and mingle with the locals at Jackpot City located within Ngcobo town.
Palacio Bingo Casino: dine, relax and gamble at Bingo Casino located within Ngcobo town with beautiful offering relaxed atmosphere