Welcome to East Griqualand!
Nestled amongst farm land and green hills are 18 of East Griqualand’s most varied, interesting and intriguing gardens. From large sweeping lawns and colour-coded beds, the graceful tumble of arched roses to lush patches of veggies, stately old old oaks and others trees alongside fruit espaliered, this region around Kokstad, Swartberg, and Cedarville is sure to delight you! Art displays, rose nurseries, music, and vario us food and craft markets add their own extra charm to these tranquil gardens. And yet, this festival showcases more than landscaped and natural beauty; it celebrates country life. Come and experience the warmth of locals and down-to-earth farmers who make the rugged hillsides,scenic valleys and fertile fields of East Griqualand truly memorable.
Join us and discover this beautiful part of South Africa. The festival starts on Friday the 26 October 8am and there is a lot going on. Take the time and perhaps a coffee, from Monday the 22th to chat to the ladies at Simply Wellness on 123 Main street to help you plan your weekend. Your entry ticket of R80 gets you into all the gardens and includes a free brochure. This year you will be able to pay with zapper and get R10 off your Open Garden ticket or purchase your tickets ahead of time at i-ticket.co.za!
About the Festival
In 2011, a group of enthusiastic Kokstadians got together and created the Encounter East Griqualand Country and Garden Festival. Our vision has been to expose our diverse and beautiful town and countryside as far afield as possible, thus creating a viable and interesting addition to the tourism agenda of East Griqualand, uniting and involving our entire community, providing several income-generating and employment opportunities directly and through spin-off activities, benefiting businesses, the farming community, social services, schools and our rich local talent.
Each year the Festival has identified and presented beautiful country and town gardens, a Street Market, birding, Wild Flower walks, Trail Running, Mt Biking and a range of progressive agricultural events, music in every garden, good food, antiques and fine art. In 2018 the “Encounter” will be hosted for the eighth time. Since 2011 it has grown from strength to strength; now attracting more than 800 guests into our region and pumping an additional estimated R 1 500 000 into the local economy over its three days.
East Griqualand hosts a range of advanced and interesting agricultural businesses. It may interest you to know that these include large commercial dairies, the largest wool producing area in KZN, Ferreira Roche hazelnuts, wild mushroom harvesting and export, bakeries, abattoirs, egg production, feed processing mills, the best red meat you have ever tasted and a recent addition is one of the first truffle growing ventures in South Africa. For this reason we include a host of agricultural events during the festival to showcase the work, dedication and high quality inputs and outputs of our farming community that makes up the bulk of the livelihoods and “raison d’être” of our area.
The environment is important to us country folk. So, in addition to the gardens, markets, agricultural events, good food, art, crafts and music, we also provide opportunities for visitors to “Encounter” our beautiful location. Previously, we’ve hosted speakers on cranes, frogs, the history of our area, and sustainable gardening.
Come. Enjoy. Encounter East Griqualand!