The ancient tiny settlement of Bethelsdorp is located just outside of Port Elizabeth. The London missionaries Van der Kemp and Read established Bethelsdorp, one of the first mission outposts in the Eastern Cape, in 1802. After persuading the colonial administration to establish a settlement for indigenous people here to educate and give religious and social instruction, they started construction on the original almshouses that still stand today, behind the Van Der Kemp Memorial Church.
The Van Der Kemp memorial church, which is believed to be the earliest congregational church in southern Africa, is one of many structures in the settlement that are covered by the National Monuments Act. The original mission bell still resides on the market square, which sits in front of the church. While David Livingstone (of “Dr. Livingstone, I assume”) is said to have stayed at Livingstone Cottage, which is located directly behind the chapel.
Despite having a reputation for having a high crime rate, there are still good reasons to visit the village, not the least of which are the photo opportunities the almshouses offer. Bethelsdorp Common, a grassy area with fynbos and steep rocky gorges that is home to a variety of birds and where birders go for walks along a trail from the town via the common, is located between the town and the suburb of Bridgemeade.
Histroy About Bethelsdorp
Bethelsdorp is a historic town located in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. The town was founded in 1803 by the London Missionary Society as a settlement for the Khoikhoi people who were displaced during the colonial expansion of the Dutch East India Company.
The settlement was named Bethelsdorp, which means “House of God” in Hebrew, to reflect the religious mission of the London Missionary Society. The settlement was initially established as a refuge for the Khoikhoi people, who were suffering from displacement and oppression at the hands of European colonizers.
The London Missionary Society hoped to provide the Khoikhoi people with a safe haven where they could practice their traditional way of life and receive religious education from the missionaries. However, the settlement faced many challenges, including drought, disease, and conflict with neighboring Xhosa tribes.
Bethelsdorp became a hub of trade and commerce, attracting European settlers and merchants who established businesses and farms in the area. The settlement also became a center of political activity, with many Khoikhoi people becoming involved in the struggle for land rights and political representation.
Map Of Bethelsdorp
Bethelsdorp is a town in Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, 20 km north-west of Port Elizabeth.
Things To Do At Bethelsdorp
Visit the Bethelsdorp Museum
The Bethelsdorp Museum in South Africa is a fascinating place to visit for those interested in the history and culture of the area. Established in 1803 by the London Missionary Society, Bethelsdorp was a mission station that played an important role in the history of the Eastern Cape. The museum offers visitors a unique insight into this history, with exhibits covering a wide range of topics including the experiences of the Khoi and San people, the impact of colonialism, and the arrival of the London Missionary Society.
Visitors can see a variety of historical artifacts and documents related to the area, and the museum’s research library is a valuable resource for those looking to learn more. A visit to the Bethelsdorp Museum is a must for anyone interested in South African history and culture.
Explore the Bethelsdorp Nature Reserve
The Bethelsdorp Nature Reserve is a hidden gem in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, offering visitors the chance to explore the natural beauty of the area. The reserve is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including several species of antelope, as well as numerous bird species. Visitors can go on hikes, enjoy picnics, and explore the indigenous vegetation, including a number of different tree species.
The reserve also features a playground for children, making it an ideal destination for families. The reserve is committed to conservation and sustainability, and visitors can learn about the efforts being made to protect the natural environment and the local ecosystem. The reserve is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and reconnect with nature. Whether you’re interested in hiking, birdwatching, or simply enjoying a peaceful picnic, the Bethelsdorp Nature Reserve is definitely worth a visit.