Cathcart Town - Profile
Cathcart is a secondary urban node located at the intersection of the N6, which links East London-Bloemfontein; and the R345, which is one of two roads to the tourist village of Hogsback. It is situated almost exactly between Stutterheim and Queenstown (40km north of Stutterheim and approximately 60km south of Queenstown).
The focus area comprises of Cathcart town, Kati-Kati Township, Daliwe Township and Goshen Mission, all of which rely on Cathcart town for services. Approximately 12,000 people live in this area.
Although the economy is heavily dependent on the community, social and personal services sector, it is primarily an agricultural hub, with beef and sheep accounting for most of the farming in this area.
Cathcart has developed as a significant agricultural node. Previously, the focus was on the sheep industry, although the closure of the wool plant made this industry less viable. Today, Cathcart is a major exporter of beef within South Africa. A significant portion of the beef processed at the East London abattoir comes from Cathcart and much is also sent to the Free State. Cathcart currently exports some 30,000 wieners each year. Game farming is also increasing in significance in this area. The agricultural economy is seen as the hallmark of Cathcart – for many people in the area, this is their heritage and they are passionate about it. Developing this industry has the potential to absorb large numbers of the unemployed whilst also opening up new opportunities in the region.
Other important economic sectors include manufacturing; wholesale and retail trade; agriculture, tourism and hunting.
Cathcart is set in a beautiful place which boasts mountains, rivers, waterfalls and a wealth of indigenous vegetation. This environment needs to be protected and enhanced as the local economy grows, as it is the backbone Cathcart.
The development of the agricultural sector can also link in well with the rest of the N6 corridor, which has multiple agricultural foci – including blueberries and forestry.
The Cathcart region is ideally suited to developing an attractive tourism industry. There are already numerous attractions, which have simply not been marketed, which have the potential to attract people from East London, Queenstown and surrounds. Other attractions in the vicinity of Cathcart, such as the Amathola Hiking Trail, already attract people from across South Africa. An important element in developing the potential of the tourism sector will be to link it with activities in the immediate surrounds.
Cathcart is also well positioned for the tourism industry, with easy access off the N6. It is therefore possible for people from Port Elizabeth, East London and Bloemfontein to come to Cathcart for tourist activities.
The vision for Cathcart, as identified through in-depth community engagement, is
To create an integrated, sustainable, liveable, and safe town that is growing economically and is socially responsive and responsible, without compromising the values of environmental management.
It was further recognised that “Cathcart will realise its full socio-economic development potential and sustain a better life for all its citizens on the strengths of its resources base and cultural values.
Tourism highlights in and around Cathcart