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Welcome to East Griqualand!

Join us and discover this beautiful part of South Africa. The festival starts on Friday the 3 November 8am and there is  a lot going on. Take the time and perhaps a coffee, from Monday the 30th 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. 

KJS Country Market

Encounter EG Trail & MTB Challenge

Click picture to download our 2017 Festival Guide 

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 2017 the “Encounter” will be hosted for the seventh 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, and the best red meat you have ever tasted. 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 town. 

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. This year we will be hosting speakers on wetland plants (Dr Carin van Ginkel of CRIPSIS) and East Griqualand Raptors (Ben Hoffman of Raptor Rescue, Pietermaritzburg). Jane Griffith (of Jane’s Delicious Garden) will again entertain and inform us about vegetable gardening and Linda Tarr of Tarr Roses will speak at our Rose Bonanza. We are also pleased to be hosting the Durban Chamber Choir for a Saturday evening of song.

This year the Festival, taking place in and around Kokstad, Swartberg and Cedarville, KwaZulu-Natal, is proud to present nine beautiful, unique and diverse gardens. An entrance bracelet of R 80, which provides you a brochure and access to all the gardens, can be purchased at the first garden you visit. We look forward to hosting you over the 3rd, 4th and 5th of November.

Come. Enjoy. Encounter East Griqualand!