Interesting facts about the area
Also known as Gcuwa - is a town in the Eastern Cape Province, with a population of 287,780 and is situated 111km north of East London. The area around Butterworth was populated by Khoi San people, however they were gradually absorbed into the Xhosa people who arrived from further North. Butterworth was first established as a Wesleyan mission station in 1827 north of the Great Kei River. It was named after Joseph Butterworth. This is where historiographer and travel journalist Vuyo Bengu Makasi comes from. Butterworth became a municipality of the Cape Colony in 1904. It is one of the fastest growing towns in terms of the economy and the population. The town is mostly Xhosa-speaking. The town is 57% Female and 43% Male.
Butterworth is the main service area for Mnquma municipality, contributing 77% of the GDP in the municipality and is an important town in the new South Africa. It now has several major industrial sites, including Zitulele and Ibeka, on its outskirts. Its industries produce processed food, beverages, tobacco products, beer, textiles, clothing, leather goods, wood and wood products, chemicals, and rubber and plastic products. It is on the Mthatha-East London railway line, but hardly ever seas a passenger train. Maybe this will change when the Bhisho government gets a main line passenger rail service operational.
Butterworth's town area is relatively small, including a small business district of middle-to-high income housing. Development in Butterworth has followed the line of the N2 and thus resulted in a long, narrow settlement east of town towards Walter Sisulu University (WSU), about 5 km away. The N2 also runs through the CBD, which results in a clash of uses and congestion, with high speed road transport seeming to use the same space as pedestrians, hawkers and public service functions.
Tourism is important to this friendly little town. Attractions include Bawa Falls, Birding, Cape Vulture Colony, Collywobbles on Mbashe River, Cultural significance, Gcuwa River Cascades and Historical sights. The small town of Butterworth is surrounded by a beautiful countryside. People can go for day walks to the nearby villages such as Tobashana and experience the hospitality of traditional Xhosa living. Gcuwa dam provides for a man-made lake, perfect for boating and fishing. Visitors to Butterworth will taste the flavor of the true South Africa.
Nearby Bawa Falls on the Qolorha River, has a sheer drop of nearly 300 ft., and is truly magnificent. The dirt road leading to the falls is just west of the town and is quite an adventure. Winding through the Transkei countryside, little has changed in the past 100 years. The district's scenery is attractive with its almost ever-green thorn trees and tropical flowers. The Bawa Falls has a popular picnic spot and the more adventurous hikers can camp overnight. The Cascades Falls on the Gcuwa (Butterworth) River has a reputed fall of 270 ft. Butterworth and is the starting point for a number of nature walks.