The Eastern Cape 

The Eastern Cape Region

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Since the arrival of the first European settlers in 1820 the Eastern Cape has slept and like the Sleeping Beauty fable, her beautiful garden has remained largely undiscovered.  

It is a region of history and heroes, of ideals and idyllic beauty, of good times and great people. It is South Africa’s second largest province with 170,000 sq.kms. of extraordinarily diverse topography from arid plains to snow covered mountains; from lush forests to golden beaches; from pastoral countryside to untamed wilderness.  These contrasts reveal a depth and variety that will thrill and enthral all who visit the Province.

It is an ancient land, where San hunters gathered, leaving a legacy of stone-age tools and mythical rock art; where frontier wars were fought for almost one hundred years between the Boers, the British and the great amaXhosa nation; where the greatest migration on earth used to occur and a faint, distant drumming would herald the arrival of millions of springbok running across the vast plains of the ‘thirsty’ Karoo.

To-day, the Eastern Cape can be loosely divided into the following areas:

Adventure awaits in the Tsitsikamma, a multi-dimensional destination of forest walks, hiking, canoe and mountain biking trails, snorkelling and diving adventures, tree canopy walks, helicopter flips and much, much more. The Frontier Country, the historic heartland of the Eastern Cape has its own rich heritage to share – of conflict and strife, of bravery and Settler resilience, of old-age architecture and beautiful gardens.  Mother Nature beckons your soul in the mountains and forests of the Amatolas and the Bavianskloof.  The Milky Way stretched across an inky night sky in the Great Karoo towers over a rich palaeontological heritage littered with dinosaur fossils.  Its thirsty plains present the richest selection of desert flora in the world and the largest variety of succulents.  The Cape Drakensberg Mountains in the East are home to sparkling trout streams, rolling grasslands, deep ravines and magnificent vistas.  With almost 2,000 kms. of coastline the Province offers the golden sand dune lined beaches of the Sunshine Coast; the perfect surfing waves of Jeffrey’s Bay; the wild, unspoiled beaches and timeless rocky shores of the Wild Coast.

But that is not all. Africa would not be Africa without its wildlife and here vast stretches of once arable farmland have been turned into superb private Game Reserves. Whether it is luxury or simplicity you are seeking, whether it's the Big 5 or the Little 5, there is something out there for you.  Oh, I almost forgot - one of the Eastern Cape’s premier assets is the Addo Elephant Park, home to not only one of the densest elephant populations on earth (over 450) but also to the unique flightless dung beetle.

Reaching us is easy, with two small but efficient, upgraded Airports at Port Elizabeth and East London serviced by both National and Low Cost Airlines.   Flights from both international ports of entry, Johannesburg and Cape Town are available daily.  Car hire operators abound. If you are planning a visit to other areas of the country and want to add on a couple of days visiting us, then access by road is via an excellent network of national highways.    There is a wide selection of guesthouses and B & B’s en route (we may even be able to recommend some) as you venture into our corner of the world. We invite you to savour our secrets and engage with our people. Our roads are long but less travelled, our towns are small and friendly and we know that you will be overwhelmed with our beautiful garden. We are perfectly set up for the ultimate self drive holiday in South Africa!

PS:  Malaria-free

A fact I haven't mentioned before - but an important one for all visitors to our Province is that we are a Malaria-free area.   That is not to say that we do not have mosquitoes.  We do - but they are not the malaria carrying kind.   Many of the drugs recommended for malaria endemic areas have unpleasant side effects but they are infinitely better than contracting the disease itself.   Malaria kills thousands of people every year in Africa and though much work is being done in helping to eradicate the deaths through organisations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the challenge is a huge one.   Travel in our Region safe in the knowledge that that risk is not something that you will be faced with here.