A couple of weeks ago we spent a weekend camping next to the Gamtoos River west of Port Elizabeth. The word Gamtoos comes from the Khoisan language and means "Place of the Roaring Lion". Its unsure if it was called that because of the wild lions that was found in this area or if there was a Khoisan tribe that lived in the area with such a name. A third explanation could be that when the river comes down in flood, it literally roars down to the ocean.
The Gamtoos River is the lifeblood of the Gamtoos Valley which is prime farming area. The bottom section of the river is a wide tidal river and ideal for fishing. In the area where these pictures were taken a guy caught a 76kg Kabeljou (Cape Cob) a couple of years ago.
The Gamtoos River was the eastern boundary of the Cape Colony in the mid 1700's. In the early days farmers had to take their ox wagons upstream quite a distance to cross the river. In the mid 1800's a pont was in use where the Gamtoos Ferry Hotel is situated and in 1896 a one lane steel bridge (picture above) was built. This was the main road from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town until the new N2 bridge was built over the river in the 1970's.