The broad tree-lined streets and buildings of Grahamstown are the legacy of a time when this was the Cape’s second city. In fact, Grahamstown is the only city other than Cape Town where Parliament has sat, an indication of just how important this frontier town was in the 1800’s! Take time to walk through this historic centre and visit the Observatory Museum which houses one of only two Victorian Cameras Obscura in the world – the other is in Bath, England – with a magical mirror that reflects the town onto a large circular table. And, of course, there is the Cathedral of St Michael and St. George, which gives Grahamstown its city status, enjoying pride of place at its centre.
Modern Grahamstown is now built around education and the law. The world renowned Rhodes University has its home here and educates around 7 000 students each year. As a result, there are about 3 000 students who are accommodated off-campus and they are the ones who keep the buy-to-let market thriving. In many instances parents will invest in properties to accommodate their children and at the end of the child’s sojourn at Rhodes, will sell their property and make a sizeable profit!
Grahamstown is host to the seat of the Eastern Cape’s High Court and this has drawn a number of lawyers to the city, who have set up practice here and thrived. In addition, there are a number of advocates who reside in Grahamstown and can be seen in the High Court frequently.
There are excellent schools available in Grahamstown such as Victoria Girl’s Junior and High Schools, Graeme College, Kingswood College, St Andrew’s Prep and College and the Diocesan School for Girls. The quality of the schools has brought families to Grahamstown so that their children can attend schools that otherwise would be inaccessible to them.
Grahamstown is a lively place to live when the students are “in situ”, but it quietens down quite dramatically when they are on holiday. It has all the amenities of a modern city but manages to retain its “olde worlde” charm at the same time. All of this makes it a wonderful place to live!