Lady Grey was founded in 1856 and got its name from Lady Eliza Spencer, who was the wife of the Governor of the Cape at the time, Sir George Grey.
The farm Waaihoek was bought by the Aliwal North Dutch Reformed Church to establish a new congregation that was established by Reverend David Ross. Reverend Wolhuter took over the new congregation in 1908. The Dutch Reformed Church was completed under his leadership in 1913. The beautiful Sandstone Church is now a National Monument.
Another feature of Lady Grey is the dam. It was built in 1925 by a Mr Stromsoe from Cape Town. The wall is 25m high and this area is often used for picnics. It is possible to enjoy a swim in the rock pool just below the dam wall, or else climb up a natural staircase to the top of the dam wall. There is also a fountain near the dam wall; it is said that if one should drink from this fountain, one will be sure to return to Lady Grey!
Something else worth seeing is the Joubert Pass. With a gradient of 1:6, this pass is the third highest in the country. This pass was originally built by the Joubert family, using only manual labour. The scenic route over the pass treats the traveler to an ever-changing view of river gorges and majestic mountains. A variety of birds, game and alpine plants can be seen along the way. The pass also has some interesting rock and stone formations.
Lady Grey is also known for its railway track, where the train has to manoeuvre backwards and forwards up the slopes in some areas. Unfortunately, this railway line – with its reverses – is no longer operational.
The town offers historic and botanical tours around the town. Apart from the Church and the Museum, other historical places include the Powder Magazine and graves of people who died during the Boer War. On the botanical side, a must is the Cape Vulture Sanctuary. The area around Lady Grey has some of the best fishing waters in the country where fish can be caught on a catch and release system in crystal clear water. Relish the challenge of catching Yellowfish and Trout. Please note that prior arrangement must be made before fishing.
For the more energetic visitor, there are a number of hiking routes in the area. These will afford a person the opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking scenery. There are also camping sites in town and on the Karnmelkspruit River for keen caravan enthusiasts. Swimming is possible in the crystal clear waters of the river.
Lady Grey has a number of resident artists, and exhibitions are held regularly. The Lady Grey Arts Academy, through its dedication to the Arts, regularly produces talented artists in Drama, Dance, Music, Singing and Visual Art. The Academy stages a number of productions throughout the year, where the ALTECH Concert Choir performs. Shows often include a combination of the various Arts disciplines, a unique experience!
For visitors who need more than one day to enjoy Lady Grey, there are a number of accommodation opportunities ranging from Back Packers to 3 star accommodation. Accommodation varies from camping sites, lodges, guest houses, game farms and self-catering establishments of a high quality.
There are a number of restaurants and coffee shops in town. A farm stall on the R58 en route to Barkly East gives the traveler opportunity to purchase home-made goodies from the area.