The South African city of George is one of the most picturesque, lively, and exciting places in the country. The second-largest city in the Western Cape province, it occupies a 10-kilometre plateau between the stunning Outeniqua Mountains to the north and the enticing Indian Ocean to the south.

Early History

The city has a long and interesting history. Before the first European settlers arrived in the 1700s, it was the home to the local Khoekhoen tribes. These include the Gouriquas, the Attequas and the Outeniquas. That is why most of the local landmarks like the Outeniqua Mountains, for instance, emerge from the Khoekhoen names for these locations.

George Becomes Goringhaikona

In February 2021, the minister of Arts and Culture of South Africa Nathi Mthethwa announced the city of George would change its name to Goringhaikona (pronounced Kurin gai-Quena). The new name stands for “seafood collectors” or Strandlopers. The Strandlopers were a Khoikhoi-derived people who survived by hunting and gathering food along the beaches of southwestern Africa. They inhabited the strip from Cape Colony to the Skeleton Coast. Unfortunately, they did not make it to the present, as they were assimilated throughout the centuries. The only surviving tribe of Strandlopers now lives in modern-day Namib.

In Mthethwa’s words, the name change came as a “part of a national programme to transform South Africa’s heritage landscape.” Several other name changes of settlements across the country were announced during the same year.

Colonial Years

As the European colonialists expanded their activities within the region, the need for more timber emerged. Wood was also in high demand, and so in 1777, the Dutch East India Company established a station that was charged with the provision of timber. The outpost became the home to a manager, a dozen woodcutters, a blacksmith, and a wagon maker. They all settled in with their families and 200 oxen. Later on, a forest caretaker was appointed. This is how the history of modern-day George began.

In 1811, George was officially announced as a separate district, largely thanks to the availability of good water. The emerging city was named after the ruling British monarch at the time, King George III.

George Today

Nowadays, George is a beautiful place that possesses all the advantages of a big city while retaining its small-town charm and welcoming atmosphere. The city is mostly known as a conference and event centre and a commercial hub. It is also a preferred destination for holiday-makers who wish to enjoy the beautiful nature and the various amusement activities modern-day George offers.

If you are considering visiting the place, here is a quick guide on some of the activities you can savour while in the vicinity.


George is one of the most famous golfing destinations in South Africa and the world. The area around the city is the home of top-class golf courses that have been recognized across the globe. A few of them have even won multiple prestigious international awards. They have become favourite spots for world-famous celebrities, and often host important tournaments. Some of the most high-quality, popular golf courses include:

  • George Golf Club
  • Fancourt Golf Club
  • Kingswood Golf Estate
  • Oubaai Golf Course
  • And more.

Chilling at the Beach

Downtown George may present a busy urban environment, but the city and its surrounding areas also allow you to enjoy the beauty of the local nature. Situated on the majestic Indian Ocean, George offers a variety of beaches, where you can enjoy different kinds of activities.

For instance, there are multiple family-friendly choices, where kids can bathe in the shallow, warm waters and engage in all kinds of amusing activities. If you are on to some adult time, you and your company can go instead to the trendy, hipster beaches and enjoy different musical, culinary, and entertaining experiences. There are also beaches where dog owners can let their pets run free without a leash. In addition, all of the beaches allow you to practise outdoor sports activities like sailing, paragliding, surfing, snorkelling, swimming, and so on.

Scenic Views

Just the simple fact that the city of George is comfortably nestled between the stunning Outeniqua Mountains and the Indian Ocean should be sufficient to set your imagination on fire. We must say that the nature here is simply amazing. You have the towering mountains, the crystal clear ocean waters, the lush vegetation, and many more nature-inspired sights to see. To do so, you can embark on a car ride slowly cruising the roads in the vicinity or simply stroll around. Those of you who have a taste for long walks might want to pick the later part of the day and be careful to not miss the gorgeous sunset. Trekking is also a very popular local activity that will introduce you to some of the best views around.

Experiencing the Farm Life

Spending the day at a local farm is also an excellent choice of activity if you happen to be in George. The experience is especially beneficial for kids, who get to see the farm animals and learn about the local traditions. The farms offer diverse activities that are both fun and educational, so your children will most definitely remain entertained the whole time.

Dining and Local Cuisine

Needless to say, Africa offers some of the most diverse, intriguing, and delicious culinary experiences than can ever exist. George is one of the places where you can try all sorts of local foods that will excite your palate and will keep you coming back for more. You can also take with you some of the indigenous herbs and spices so you can recreate the unique taste of the local meals at home.