We all love a mystery, folklore, myths and tales passed down from generation to generation. Stories of ghosts, monsters and unexplained things that stir our imagination. South Africa is rich with fascinating enigmas, like the Eastern Cape Steytlerville Monster, a ‘shape-shifter’ that both terrifies and intrigues the small town residents, or ‘Trunko’, a giant, white sea creature that appeared in Margate on the KwaZulu Natal South Coast. Then there’s the friendly ghost Charlotte, who’s a long, long time resident of the Nottingham Road Hotel. Of course, no story would be complete without the endearing tale of Huberta the Hippo’s odyssey from KwaZulu Natal to the Eastern Cape, or the sad and tragic end of Saturday Mthiyane, ‘Child of the Wild’ found living with monkeys in KwaZulu Natal.
So, let yourself be thrilled and delighted by more on these South African stranger than fiction legends, we’ve chosen just a few to tantalize you.
Nottingham Road Hotel – KwaZulu Natal
‘Charlotte’ – The Nottingham Road Hotel Ghost, KwaZulu Natal
Stay in room number 10 at the Nottingham Road Hotel and you may run into Charlotte, the resident ghost who likes to move mirrors, tidy beds and re-arrange flowers. Legend has it that during the war Charlotte fell in love with a British army officer who jilted her, and broken-hearted, Charlotte jumped to her death over the balcony outside room number 10. Those who occupy ‘Charlotte’s room’ often find their clothes neatly folded, hear Charlotte talking, or the tinkle of a bell ringing for room service. Still to this day Charlotte hopes for her beloved’s return, and keeps herself busy while she waits.
Check into room number 10 and meet Charlotte in person at the Nottingham Road Hotel
Huberta The Hippo – King William’s Town, Eastern Cape – Info and photo courtesy Road Travel Africa
Huberta The Hippo – King William’s Town, Eastern Cape
“In 1930 the celebrated wandering hippopotamus Huberta, arrived in Port Alfred and resided there for nearly six months, which was when the river became known as Umzimvubu – home of the hippopotamus. Huberta had started her journey in Zululand in 1928, and progressing via Durban down the coast, she travelled nearly 1600km to King William’s Town. Huberta enjoyed a two and a half-year period of celebrity status during her time of wanderings, as unlike all other sociable hippos that stay with the herd and never consider a nomadic existence, Huberta decided to strike out on her own. One day she set off from her home in Zululand and trekked South entirely alone, except for the reporters and sightseers who kept track of her progress. Many regarded her as a mystical reincarnation, but sadly not everyone held Huberta in such high esteem, and four farmers who saw her as nothing but a trespasser, shot and killed her at the Keiskamma River”.
Huberta’s body is now exhibited in the Amathole Museum in King Williams Town, and we still wonder where she was going, and ‘why’.
See Huberta last resting place – stay in King Williams Town accommodation
Steytlerville – Eastern Cape – Photo via Wikimedia
Steytlerville Monster – Eastern Cape
Although the tiny Eastern Cape town of Steytlerville only sports a population of a few thousand, and is predominantly an Eastern Cape farming community with simple people living simple lives, Steytlerville is known the world over for the many strange myths of a shape-shifting ‘monster’, which has plagued the sleepy Karoo town causing serious havoc. Apparently the monster changes shape while one looks at it – one man reported that it changed from a man wearing a suit into a pig and then into a bat. There have also been rumours that the monster can fly. To date the ‘monster’ has done no harm other than to terrify Steytlerville residents, and bring this quirky Eastern Cape town to the notice of visitors from afar. Mostly, Steytlerville is known as the Eastern Cape town where “the silence is so pure you can hear God think, and the stars so near you feel you have only to reach out to touch them”.
Go find out for yourself – see the Where To Stay Steytlerville accommodation page
Margate South Coast – KwaZulu Natal – Photo via Wikipedia
‘Trunko’ – KwaZulu Natal, South Coast Sea Creature
On October 25, 1924, when Margate on the KwaZulu Natal South Coast was still a small, little known town, people witnessed a battle between two killer whales and a giant, white sea creature which attacked the whales with it’s tail, and jumped 20 feet out the water. The spectacle lasted 3 hours, resulting in the death of the mysterious creature, which later washed up on Margate Beach. Said to be 47 feet long, 10 feet wide and 5 feet high, it was named “Trunko,” by cryptozoologist Karl Shuker. It was later described by the Daily Mail of London as being a “Fish like a Polar Bear”, covered in 8 inch long white hair with no head, but rather a 5 foot long trunk coming straight from his torso, and a 10 foot long, lobster-like tail.
Trunko lay on the beach for 10 days, during which time there was no scientific investigation, and then it was reclaimed by the sea, leaving behind a mystery that still remains today.
Stay at the scene of Trunko’s last battle in Margate accommodation
Tugela River – KwaZulu Natal – Photo courtesy miquitos @ flickr
Saturday Mthiyane – Child of the Wild, KwaZulu Natal
One Saturday in 1987, a bedraggled boy aged about five was discovered living with monkeys near the Tugela River in the wilds of KwaZulu Natal. Showing only animal-like behavior, he could not talk, walked on all fours, liked climbing trees and loved fruit, especially bananas. It was thought that his birth mother had left him in the bush when he was an infant, and he was raised by monkeys until Sundumbili residents saw him. He was taken to the Ethel Mthiyane Orphanage, where he lived until he died in a fire in 2005, almost 10 years after he was found living with a troop of monkeys. Saturday, named for the day he was found, lived a tragic life to the end, perhaps he would have been happier and better off living his life out in the bush.
Visit the place where the ‘Monkey Boy’ roamed the wilds, stay in Tugela River Mouth accommodation