The Amatola area is named after the Amatola Mountains which derived their name from the Xhosa word for calves. The mountain slopes are covered in dense indigenous forest of white stinkwoods, Cape chestnuts, and yellowwoods. During winter some of the peaks are covered in snow as the mountains rise to over 2000 metres.

The area is particularly popular with hikers for its many forest walks offering breathtaking scenery including protected rainforest, waterfalls and trout streams, including the six day Amatola hike that is ranked as the top forest hike in South Africa.

The area is rich in history with small villages, mission stations and churches marking the many valleys. Towns such as Hogsback and Stutterheim offer beautiful and peaceful getaways. Amatola is also home to the town of East London with its unspoilt beaches and numerous outdoors activities.

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