Eastern Cape South Africa
The coastline stretches from Storms River mouth on the Garden Route to the Umtamvuna River, encompassing 800km of untouched shores and magnificent beaches. Inland Eastern Cape reaches north to the Lesotho border. The Eastern Cape has a colourful past of settlers, redcoats, frontier battles and Xhosa kings
Eastern Cape South Africa
'Welcome to the good life - explore the wildside, relax with the hospitality and fresh air, surf the Indian Ocean, stroll the beaches, why does anyone ever leave the Eastern Cape?'
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Broad brushstrokes add the rich forests of the Keiskamma Valley, Langkloof
apple country and the majesty of the southern Drakensberg, while the culture
and history lend depth and colour. The final touch is the warm hand of
small town friendship that characterises the people of the Eastern Cape.
The coastline stretches from Storms River mouth on the Garden Route to the Umtamvuna River, encompassing 800km of untouched shores and magnificent beaches. Inland Eastern Cape reaches north to the Lesotho border.
The Eastern Cape has a colourful past of settlers, redcoats, frontier battles and Xhosa kings. No wonder her people have carried the flame for South Africa's democracy.
The weather in the Eastern Cape allows for a year-round holiday season. Hot summers and moderate winters at the coast - Port Elizabeth boasts a daily average of 7 hours sunshine ! It is cooler in the northern areas, so be prepared for quite a variation and remember it can rain throughout the year in some places.
Because the Eastern Cape is so unspoilt it is also ideal for adventurous spirits keen to explore uncharted territory. Remember that roads can be unpredictable or limited so make sure you have the right vehicle and reliable directions.
(often referred to as P E )
Port Elizabeth, the Friendly City, is the ideal base for a family holiday. Be calmed by the gentle pace and make the most of the wonderful outdoor activities. With eas access to 40km of beaches that uniquely combine warm water, calm seas and fair breezes perfect for sailing. Try Kings beach, Humewood Beach or Hobie Beach. They offer fabulous swimming and watersports There are also exciting fishing and scuba diving opportunities. Game fishing fro deep sea boats could see you hauling in a tuna, dorado, yellowtail and leervis.
No wonder Port Elizabeth is known as a watersports hotspot
The Swartkops River is a short drive from the city and
offers a lovely expanse of water for swimming, sailing and fishing. South
of the city is the charming seaside village of Schoenmakerskop
and surrounds. It has scenic picnic spots, coves, rock pools, safe bathing
and fishing in tidal pools. If yo enjoy diving, horse riding and walking,
venture a little further on to the Sardinia Bay Marine Reserve,
an endless unspoilt coastline with crystal clear water.
Port Elizabeths 1820 British Settler history will grab you, the city oozes a fascinating past through her many monuments, restored settler houses and perfectly intact fort. The Donkin Heritage Trail will lead you in the footsteps of the early settlers.
Set aside some time to enjoy Port Elizabeths urban menu too: shopping at Greenacres, the Bridge Park, Walmer Park, a night out at the Boardwalk Casino. Entertainment World, right on the beachfront and set around a series of manmade lakes and beautiful gardens, and it wont just be the children that will love and be amazed at the dolphins at the Oceanarium.
Wildlife along the Wild Coast
The Addo Elephant National park is 73km from Port Elizabeth and allows for unusually close-up elephant viewing. With its herd of 300 elephant it is possibly the most concentrated elephant reserve in Africa. It is also one of the worlds most biologically diverse parks offering sightings of: Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo, Whales and Great White Sharks - The Eastern Capes Big Seven !
There are other wonderful opportunities for game viewing at the exclusive Shamwari Game Reserve and the Mountain Zebra National Park. Similarly there is good viewing to be had in the Cape St Francis Nature Reserve, which also protects the endangered coastal fynbos plants.
While along the coast keep an eye out for Southern Right Whales and their calves, there are regularly sighted between May and November. You also sure to see common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins close in to the shore line.
Amathole, which takes in the Wild coast and the Sunshine coast, is an area of heritage, beauty and adventure. It stretches along unspoilt beaches into a hinterland of mountains and unsurpassed scenery. From Adelaide in the east to Stutterhein in the west from East London to Kei Mouth it is a landscape of contrast and interest.
The landscapes range from undulating grassland to majestic mountains, from beaches to mountain forests. This means just about any activity goes ! Climbing, biking, hiking, birdwatching, 4x4 trails, watersports and game watching. It's ideal for the outdoor adventurer, fisherman, historian, nature lover, whale and dolphin spotter or if you just need a break.
A city metropole complements quaint Xhosa culture and villages are steeped in Xhose culture, redcoats, early settlement history and the story of South Africa's liberation. Follow the trail through innumerable historic sites, buildings and collections. There's the German Settler Monument, forts and gardens a-plenty, the Steve Biko Garden of Remembrance and The Nelson Mandela Museum Complex, just south of Umtata in Qunu, Nelson Mandelas place of birth.
East London boasts rocky shores, sandy beaches, magnificent lagoons, and warm, clear waters that make them among the best surfing and diving spots in the world. Attractions include exhibits of a diverse history, shipwreck, artifacts, the coelacanth, the worlds only Dodo egg and a fascinating museum of transport.
Enjoy art collections, cultural activities, an aquarium, walks, views, whale and dolphin watching, fishing, endless outdoor activities and excellent sporting facilities. The nearby town of Gonubie has a lovely safe swimming beach and a lagoon that lures in the fishing and boating crowd.
Smaller towns of interest are Kingswilliamtown, Bisho, Butterworth, Kenton, Fort Hare, Fort Beaufort, Adelaide, Bedford, Hogsback, Cathcart and Alice. There are plenty of guided and self guided hikes and game reserves such as Double Drift or Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve. Many farms offer game hunting and bird watchers are spoiled with a wide selection of trails.
The Really Really Wild Coast
When you are ready for something unique, something untamed head for the Wild Coast. Running from East London to Port Edward, the landscape is spectacular. Rich in the cultural heritage of the Xhosa people and wildly beautiful, the Wild Coast will give you memories to treasure forever.
The fishing and surfing is excellent, the climate and seas perfect. There is accommodation across the range and fresh seafood is the order of the day.
Favourite spots include Haga Haga, Morgans Bay and Kei Mouth on the southern bank of the Kei River. It's surrounded by rich coastal forest and offers a full range of watersports and a ferry. Mazeppa Bay has a tropical air, while the lagoon at Qolora Mouth is great for swimming, boating and fishing.
Likewise Coffee Bay and Port St Johns are perfect for all those fun on the sun things. Try to get to The Hole in the Wall, it's an impressively big detached piece of cliff with an huge opening carved through its centre by the waves. The Xhosa call it IziKaleni - 'place of thunder'.
For more sophistication continue up to Port Edward and the Wilds Coast Resort and Casino Complex.
The Sunshine Coast
The shore running from Port Elizabeth to the Fish River is known as the Sunshine Coast - for good reason, it's a coastline made for holiday makers.
Favourite attractions include the 36km Alexandria Hiking Trail that takes you on a two day route through beach and indigenous forest environments. Alexandria itself is 100km east of Port Elizabeth. Step back in time to see the Diaz Cross, a replica of the stone cross erected by Portuguese explorer Bartholomew Diaz in 1488.
Kenton on Sea is another popular spot - a perfect family holiday resort. It's a small village on the banks of the Bushmans River, blessed with beaches, sand dunes, lagoons, sheltered coves, rock pools and a nature reserve. So Waterski, fish, swim, paddle and sunbathe to your hearts content.
Port Alfred is the heart of the sunshine route and there you may even find a rare nautilus shell. The little seaside harbour town offers fishing and watersports, beaches and a nearby spa. Kidds Beach at the mouth of the Mcantsi River is made for families: tidal pools for the children, rocky shores for fisherman and great beaches to laze on around the lagoon.
Even more Eastern Cape treats
Inland from port Alfred is the university town of Grahamstown. Every year it hosts the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. This is considered to be Africa's largest and most colourful cultural event. It attracts a fascinating range of indigenous and imported talents in the performing arts - not to mention the fascinating array of artists, crafters and their entourages.
On its most eastern coastline the Eastern Cape is home in part to the Tsitsikamma National Park. When you've been there you will understand why it ia also known as 'the place of much water'. Here, the massive waves of the Indian Ocean pound the rocky shores.
The Otter Trail will take hikers through temperate high forest and indigenous fynbos fauna, down to the sea across rocky ravines, the spectacle can be truly breathtaking.
Storms River provides some exciting adventures... try blackwater tubing for loads of fun or 3...2..1.bungeeeee ! off the Blaauwkrans Bridge on Storms River, the worlds highest bungee jump, not for the faint hearted a dive from the Storms Bridge is a 180m freefall adrenalin rush at speeds of up to 193km/h.
On the Eastern border of the Cape Floral Kingdom about two and a half hours from Port Elizabeth is Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area (Valley of Baboons).
Jefferys Bay - international surfing mecca and undoubted surfing capital of South Africa -is home to 'the perfect wave' and host to international surfing events. Beyond its surf profile Jefferys Bay is also a wonderful family holiday destination offering sailing, windsurfing, swimming and fishing
St Francis Bay is also brilliant for watersports such as windsurfing, canoeing, waterskiiing, sailing, swimming, power boating, diving, deep sea and rock angling and surfing. The quaint Cape St Francis with its carefully maintained seaside village charm is another venue for water activities.
By stark contrast there's Tiffindell, the only ski resort in Africa, high up in the southern Drakensberg Mountains on the slopes of Eastern Capes highest mountain peak 3001m.
~ Addo Elephant Park
~ Camdeboo National Park ~ Knysna Lake Area ~ Mountain Zebra National
Park ~ Tsitsikamma National Park ~ Wild Coast ~
Beaches, waves, history and natural environment beckon travellers for
reasons that are as varied as the Eastern Cape landscape.
Addo Elephant Park
The Wild Coast
The Big Six
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