Geography and History
Cookhouse is a village about 170km north of Port Elizabeth and 24km East of Somerset East, on the West bank of the Great Fish River in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.
It is said to take its name from a small stone house used for shelter and cooking by troops camping on the bank of this river. Another explanation links the name to the hot climate as experienced by the troops stationed there.
Settlement in the Cookhouse area started when troops patrolling the eastern boundary along the Great Fish River pitched camp here. The first building was a small stone hut used for shelter and cooking. Today, the town is an important railway junction on the main route from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg and an important centre serving an intensive irrigation-farming community. Dairy, merino sheep, angora goats, and ostrich farming are practised in the district.
Shopping in Cookhouse: For an interesting shopping experience visit the local cheese factory and old-fashioned country shop, “Bird in the Barley”, especially if you are interested in McDuck’s deer stalkers and tartan tam-o’-shanters.
Interesting Activities in and around Cookhouse include:
Slagtersnek Memorial: Situated 8 km south of the town, this memorial commemorates a rebellion by local farmers in 1815 against the Cape government.
Glen Avon Heads: The 1 400-m rock formation called Glen Avon Heads etches the town’s western horizon. Part of the world-famous Orange-Fish River tunnel is near this site.
The Golden Valley: The beautiful valley is fed by the Great Fish River, which provides for the agricultural crops and natural vegetation. During winter, flowering aloes decorate the landscape with their vibrant colours.
Accommodation includes B&B’s, Guesthouses, Farm Stays, Camping and Self Catering.
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