Charming in its antiquity… The Pig & Whistle Inn: a welcoming stop-over for tired travellers

BY NATALI IVERSON - MARCH 17, 2015

Time is known to move slowly in the historic town of Bathurst – a great incentive for anyone wanting a break from modern stresses. The town, which was established as a buffer between the 1820 British Settlers and the amaXhosa, is situated a mere 15 minutes out of Port Alfred on the road to Grahamstown.  

In the midst of its many original settler houses and other early 19th Century buildings, is The Historic Pig & Whistle Inn, which is reputedly home to the oldest existing pub in the country.

Built in 1821 by Thomas Hartley, the pub became the Bathurst Inn when accommodation was later added. High profile guests included Lord Charles Somerset, the Governor of the then Cape Colony, and Sir Benjamin D’Urban. It was later renamed ‘The Pig & Whistle’ by men of the British Royal Air Force who were stationed at the nearby 43 Air School in WWII.

Apart from its rich history and heritage, The Pig & Whistle is a very pleasant stopover for anyone travelling on the R75. The Inn’s rooms are well-appointed and the owners go out of their way to ensure that you enjoy authentic old world English hospitality.

There are ten rooms on offer and every room features antique furniture as well as comfortable Sealy Posturepedic beds and crisp, clean, white linen. Four of the rooms have en-suite bathrooms while the other six 1830’s-styled rooms have shared facilities.

The pub, decorated with Air Force memorabilia, is full of character and atmosphere while the restaurant offers good solid ‘English pub fare’ - from pot-pies to freshly-baked cakes, vegetarian meals and even a few Mediterranean favourites. There is also a comprehensive a-la-carte menu available and, in keeping with tradition, the Inn still serves Sunday roasts.

Besides enjoying the pub’s great wines and whiskies while chatting to the welcoming locals, it is recommended that you spend a few hours touring the town and its surrounds.

Bathurst hosts several museums – the most prolific, being the 17-metre-tall pineapple museum. It neighbours nature reserves, which offer hiking trails, picnic spots and great viewpoints of the Kowie River and valley. Pineapple farms, game reserves and several provincial heritage sites as well as cattle and sheep ranches also surround the town.

To find out more about The Pig & Whistle, call 046 625 0673 or visit www.pigandwhistle.co.za today!