The Eastern Cape’s coastline stretches from the spectacular, subtropical Wild Coast in the north, through Port Elizabeth to the forests of the Tsitsikamma National Park.
The 1000 km of pristine coastline alone justifies your travel to this province, but there is much more to be explored.
Most tourists start or end their travel along the Garden Route in Port Elizabeth, the Eastern Cape’s commercial centre.
75 km to the west lies Jeffrey’s Bay, famous among surfers for its perfect waves.
Addo Elephant National Park and some private reserves like Amakhala and Shamwari, an hours drive inland, are the only reserves in the southern half that offer serious game viewing and are malaria free all year round.
East of Addo Elephant Park, university town Grahamstown hosts Africa’s biggest annual art festival every July. Close by, in the Great Fish River Reserve you can spot hippo, giraffe and antilope.
The north-west part of the province is dominated by the empty spaces of the Karoo. The main attractions here are Mountain Zebra National Park, a terrific place to see herbivors in a dramatic setting of arid plains and flat topped Mountains, and the 18th century Cape Dutch town of Graaff Reinet.
In this most beautifull town of the Eastern Cape Bed and Breakfast accommodation is offered in the historical centre, making all sights accessible on foot. The mountains surrounding the town are part of the Karoo Nature Reserve, with the impressive Valley of Desolation as it’s main tourist attraction.
The former Transkei, the eastern part of the province, is by far the least developed. East London, the country’s largest river port has a good surf beach and a spectacular bay.
Just north of East London starts the famous Wild Coast, one of the most unspoilt area’s in South Africa.
Here you can still find traditional, rural Xhosa villages. Waterfalls, steep-sided gorges, rolling hills, rivers and beaches form a spectacular coastline.
This is the Africa completely missed by the tourist who restricts his to Cape Town or the Garden Route.
The Wild Coast is the best place to experience authentic African rural life as a tourist. Rare zebras, aloes, game farms, mohair, heritage and hospitality beats at the heart of Chris Hani.
The Chris Hani district – the geographical heart of the Eastern Cape – is characterised by a changing topography that slopes down from the southern Drakensberg Mountains and crosses the eastern grasslands to the Karoo.
The Drakensberg Mountains, tucked away in the north-eastern corner, makes a steep ascent out of the Karoo.
The area offers ancient San rock art, hiking, trout fishing and skiïng in winter.
In the centre, Rhodes is a remote and beautifull village, a low key holiday destination for people who love its isolation and affordable accommodation.
Highlights of the Eastern Cape
The massive herds of elephants in Addo Elephant Park
Graaff-Reinet, the most beautiful town in the Eastern Cape
A township tour in Port Elizabeth.
The sheer endless spaces and desolate valleys of the Karoo
The arts festival of Grahamstown every July.
A visit to the Nelson Mandela Museum at Umtata
The ravishing coastline of the Wild Coast
The Xhosa villages of former Transkei
The art gallery of Fort Hare university that educated many of the country’s leaders, incl. Nelson Mandela.