The Amathole District is named after the legendary Amathole Mountains. The Amatole District is the most diverse of all the districts in the province. It contains the most popular local municipality in the country, the Buffalo City Local Municipality, which includes East London, King Williamís Town and Mdantsane. Two-thirds of the district is made up of ex-homeland areas. The Amatole Mountains that lie northwest of King Williamís Town give the district its name. The well-watered coastal strip gives way to the Transkei hills.
The district is bliss for ecotourists, and for bird lovers the district boasts a range of bird species which is more abundant than that of the whole of the United States of America. Amatole has a variety of game parks and nature reserves for example, Doubledrift Game Reserve, DwesaCwebe Game Reserve, Mpofu Game Reserve and Fort Fordyce Nature Reserve.
Amatole District has the Fort Hare University, which was the first black South African university. A number of worldly recognized statesmen like Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki studied at local schools and universities. The district is also home to the birthplace of the Black Consciousness leader, Steve Biko.
This district has the most people in the province, with over 1, 657, 373 inhabitants, and a moderately high population of 78 people per square meter. The population is mainly African with some whites and coloureds.
Amatole has the second highest economy in the province. The private sector is dominated by manufacturing. The motor industry, food processing, textiles and clothing are the chief manufacturing areas. Agriculture plays a small role in the formal employment providing only 8% of formal employment. Agriculture in the ex-homelands is mainly small scale crop farming and open grazed livestock, and the farming is more for subsistence than for commercial sale. The coastal belt south of East London is where the main Pineapple farming industry is, as well as citrus, horticulture and livestock being farmed. The motor industry, food processing, textiles and clothing are the chief manufacturing areas.
The Amatole District municipality strives for a future where the communities have a serene, constant and sustainable environment, with their needs being met through a development process.