Where to Eat and Stay
You won't find a great choice of dining establishments here, particularly when it comes to fine dining, as Grahamstown is largely a student town. There are a number of cafés on High Street that are reasonable.
Your best bet for help with lodging, especially at festival time, is the Grahamstown Accommodation Bureau. 046/622–3261 or 074/148–7146. www.grahamstownaccom.co.za.
137 High St. Conveniently located right on High Street, this warm, friendly coffee shop is popular with students, and there's outside seating in a pretty, sunny courtyard. It serves the usual pastas, sandwiches, and salads—and arguably the best coffee in town. The seven-room bed-and-breakfast ($$) upstairs has fabulous yellowwood floors in the residents' lounge. One room has a tub; the others have showers only. There's a self-catering one-bedroom flat, too. 137 High St., Grahamstown, 6140. 046/622–3242. www.137highstreet.co.za. No dinner Sun.
7 Worcester Street. Built in 1888, this magnificent dressed-stone mansion has been meticulously restored and beautifully decorated with a mix of local, Thai, and Indonesian artifacts. Rooms are elegantly proportioned and have high ceilings and large bathrooms. There are also attractive garden rooms next to the swimming pool. Dinner is by arrangement. As befits an establishment of this nature, the service is friendly and discreet, and no request seems too much trouble for the staff. You can arrange cultural and historical tours and activities through the inn. Pros: fine-dining restaurant; front patio is a wonderful place to have breakfast. Cons: no air-conditioning in the hotel, although the rooms do stay cool in summer; it's not in easy walking distance of town. 7 Worcester St., Grahamstown, 6140. 046/622–2843. www.worcesterstreet.co.za. 10 rooms. In-room: safe. In-hotel: bar, pool, business center, parking. Breakfast.
Cock House. Over the years, this charming building, a National Monument built in 1826, has been the home of distinguished citizens, most notably academic and novelist André Brink, so it's fitting that the individually decorated rooms are named after previous owners. The small hotel suffers from (or is blessed by, depending on how you look at it) the rather haphazard improvements that have been made over time. The spacious reception rooms have beautiful wooden floors. The dining room ($–$$) is large and somewhat gloomy, but the food is fantastic, and it's worth staying here just for that. You can also book a table for breakfast, lunch, or dinner if you're staying elsewhere. Try the delicious lamb shank, served in a thyme-and-rosemary sauce, or feta-cheese soufflé with peppadews (a cross between a sweet pepper and a chili). Dinner is usually a set menu, but à la carte is available. The next-door building has four self-catering apartments, which are good value for a longer stay, though they are cold and lack atmosphere. The rooms in converted cottages in the garden are the most attractive. Pros: a small, lovely garden in the back; good restaurant. Cons: rooms are on the small side; no air-conditioning in the hotel. 10 Market St., at George St., Grahamstown, 6140. 046/636–1295. www.cockhouse.co.za. 7 rooms, 2 suites, 4 apartments. In-hotel: restaurant, bar, business center, parking. Breakfast.