Mthatha (formerly called Umtata) was once the capital of the former Transkei homeland of South Africa, but is now one of the larger towns in the Eastern Cape. If you're heading to the Wild Coast it's the last place to get decent provisions.
Mthatha has its own airport and scheduled flights to Johannesburg are available with SA Airlink.
The train station is just south of the city centre.
The railway line to East London via Amabele has been upgraded and a full passenger service between Amabele and Mthatha began operating on 1 March 2008. This route is called "Kei Rail". At present trains only run on weekends, with passengers being conveyed from East London to Amabele (76 km north of East London) by bus. It is envisaged that from late 2008 trains will also operate during the week, not only weekends. The journey takes 10 hours.
A must see is the Nelson Mandela Museum (open week days and on Saturday till 12) and its beautiful craft shop of the Ithemba project.
There are numerous places to stay in the town, and finding accommodation is usually not difficult.