Welcome to The Eastern Cape!
Enjoy some of South Africa’s finest hiking trails along the province’s largely undeveloped coastline and through its mountainous, waterfall-filled landscapes. Private wildlife reserves and national parks abound, see the Big 5 or migrating Whales and Dolphins. Scenic diversity is one of the most striking characteristics of the region, ranging from the lush, evergreen Tsitsikamma Forest to the rugged Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area, the southern slopes of the Drakensberg and the arid Great Karoo.
TOP REASONS TO VISIT
The game lodges, safari lodges and bush camps of the Eastern Cape present visitors with endless choices when it comes to planning a safari adventure. Many of the reserves include the Big 5 as well as an abundance of bird species, which makes this part of South Africa a hotspot for safaris.
Daily guided game drives are conducted in open safari vehicles and guests may experience a close-up and personal interaction with a Cheetah. See other predators like Hyena, Jackal and Lynx, as well as many antelope species or spot the rare Bontebok and Oribi.
While some of the lodges are luxurious 5-star escapes, others are comfortable camps or cosy suites in 3- and 4-star establishments.
The Garden Route
Famous for road tripping, beach lounging and hiking opportunities and known for the magnificence of its wild, unspoilt coastline and natural “gardens”. The amazing forests at Tsitsikamma, sweeping beaches of St Francis Bay and beautiful Plettenberg Bay, the bustling town of Knysna and lovely Lake District of Wilderness and Sedgefield are all to be found along the way.
Soar over the Sundays River Valley and the stunning citrus orchards from the dizzying heights of the zip lines. Secured safely in a harness, glide above the ground, sometimes reaching speeds of up to 80 km per hour for a fun and exhilarating ride. This is the highest, longest and fastest double zip line in the country at present.
Tsitsikamma Segway Experience
The forest is a wonderful place to explore, with an abundance of plant and animal life around you. Take a guided tour and glide through on a Segway for the ultimate experience.
Explore Suicide Reef
Explore the caves, overhangs and numerous drop offs of Suicide Reef, Just off Noordhoek in Port Elizabeth. On a calm day this is an ideal spot, popular amongst spear fishermen.
Three Sisters Dive Site
East London’s top diving sites are Mermaid’s Pool, at Nahoon Reef, and Three Sisters Reef, about 1 km offshore of Bonza Bay beach, up the coast towards East London from Mermaid’s Pool. The reef is good for all levels of divers and for snorkelers.
Gonjah 4×4 Route
This is a fabulous way to explore and discover the gorgeous area of the Gamtoos River Valley in the Eastern Cape. This area borders the Baviaanskloof region, which is one of this province’s most prized natural jewels and tourist attractions.
The Kowie Canoe Trail
This trail will lead you approximately 21 km up the river past attractions such as The Old Wreck, Windy Beach, Rabbit Rocks, Cob Hole, Black Rock, The Old Mill, The Reef, Ferry Glen, White Rock and on to the Camp at Horseshoe Bend.
The highest commercially operated Bungee Jump from a bridge, in the world at 216 meters above the Bloukrans River. Bloukrans utilises pendulum bungee technology ensuring you the smoothest, most comfortable jump possible.
Jeffreys Bay is known for its popularity as a surfing haven! Great beaches, waves and “vibe”, make this place ideal for surf lessons, shopping and culture.
Camdeboo National Park
It covers an area of 194 sq km and almost surrounds the town of Graaff-Reinet. There are plenty of animals including Springbok, Buffalo, Cape Mountain Zebras and Kudus, plus over 200 bird species, but the real draws are the spectacular geological formations and great views overlooking Graaff-Reinet and the plains. The Valley of Desolation is the park’s most popular sight. It’s a hauntingly beautiful valley with an outstanding view – the rugged, piled dolerite columns are set against the backdrop of the endless Karoo plains. Graaff-Reinet is also visible, nestled in a bend of the Sundays River. The valley can be reached by car on a steep but sealed road, and there’s a 1,5 km circuit walk. The best times to come are at sunrise or sunset.
Route 67 – Port Elizabeth
The route starts at the Campanile and climbs the staircase to Vuyisile Mini Market Square in the city centre. It consists of 67 Public Art Works symbolising Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of work dedicated to the Freedom of South Africa and includes 67 steps leading up the second largest flag in Africa. The artworks were designed by local artists from the Eastern Cape. The route is a proud celebration of our cities heritage and history. This is a must see stop for the whole family to walk and to enjoy.
WHERE TO GO
Known as the “Friendly City”, Port Elizabeth fringes Algoa Bay at the western end of the Sunshine Coast, regarded as one of the best sailing venues in the world, while scuba diving is of world class quality with beautiful reefs, shipwrecks, fish and colourful coral species.The city offers many good bathing beaches and surf spots. It’s also a convenient gateway to the Eastern Cape and Karoo.
Cape St Francis & St Francis Bay
Renowned as a water sport paradise with surfing, kite-surfing, surf-ski and canoe paddling on the beautiful waters off both Cape St Francis and St Francis Bay as well as on the nearby Kromme River. St Francis Links offers the keen golfer an excellent challenge with the nearby St Francis Bay Golf Club offering an easier but still challenging round of golf.Choose from a selection of accommodation options from conventional hotel rooms, three and four- bedroom cottages or luxury beach villas.
Known as ‘the Kowie’ for the picturesque canal-like river that flows through its centre, Port Alfred is blessed with beautiful beaches and a royal golf course, intimate small-boat harbour and 43 Air School, a world-class training facility for pilots and air traffic controllers. There is the Royal Alfred Marina – one of few in the world where every home owner enjoys private water frontage and a personal jetty! Visitors can enjoy boat cruises through the Marina canals and if you feel energetic you can hire a water pedalo or canoe to make the trip.
Founded in 1786, known as the “Gem of the Karoo” With over 200 buildings claimed as National Monuments and an entire street restored, including its slave cottages. Graaff-Reinet has retained much of the character of a typical 19th century town and is well worth a visit.
Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area
The area encompasses the World Heritage Site of Baviaanskloof and the Karoo towns of Steytlerville, Willowmore, Rietbron and Groot Rivier. It covers 200 km of unspoiled, rugged mountainous terrain with spectacular landscapes hosting more than a thousand different plant species, including the Erica and Protea families and species of ancient Cycads. A must-see for all nature and adventure enthusiasts.
Addo Elephant National Park
A day or two at malaria-free Addo is a highlight of any visit to this region. It offers a wide range of game viewing and outdoor activities, which include horse-riding, guided walking, hiking and 4×4 trails. Look out for the rare flightless Dung Beetle, endemic to Addo. Nothing could be better if you are a bush lover!
Hopewell Private Game Reserve
The malaria-free Hopewell Private Game Reserve is set on 3 000 hectares of African bush with an abundance of wildlife and birds. Guests can enjoy panoramic views, game drives and free Wi-Fi.
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
Offering a Big 5 safari experience, nestled in the heart of South Africa’s Eastern Cape. The five award-winning lodges offer a range of accommodation options and activities to make every African Dream come true.
Lalibela Private Game Reserve
Not only malaria free, but spans 5 ecosystems, resulting in a breath-taking diversity of flora and fauna. Home to the Big 5 as well as other predators like cheetah, hyena, jackal and lynx. Lalibela has its own airstrip making air charters directly into the Game Reserve possible.
Amakhala Game Reserve
Offers a wide variety of 3, 4 and 5-star owner-managed experiences in a selection of 11 Luxury establishments, made up of restored Country houses, Safari Lodges and Tented camps located in different areas of the large 18 000 acres Safari park.
Shamwari Game Reserve
The malaria-free reserve is home to vast herds of wildlife, bird life and ecological diversity and guests can spot Africa’s Big 5. Luxury accommodation is offered in different lodges on the reserve and Long Lee Manor, originally built in 1910, offers a distinctive Colonial experience.
Sibuya Game Reserve
The unique ‘Sibuya Experience’ starts with a short boat transfer up the Kariega Estuary to River Camp, Forest Camp or Bush Lodge and is located close to the beach. Situated in a malaria-free forest., it offers Big 5 game drives, river cruises and tented accommodation.
Pumba Private Game Reserve
Water Lodge offers waterfront chalets overlooking Lake Kariega, while Bush Lodge is set on a floodplain with scenic mountain views offering luxury thatch and glass chalets. All Chalets open onto private game viewing decks boasting plunge pools and outdoor showers.
Kariega Private Game Reserve
Offers a combination of Big 5 and general game viewing and a variety of fauna, flora and birdlife. Main Lodge offers families, friends and couples a relaxed and friendly environment to enjoy the African bush. Ukhozi Lodge truly captures the romance and intimacy of Africa. River Lodge is unique with 10 spacious, air conditioned and tastefully appointed thatched suites and The Homestead is a private lodge which offers guests secluded comfort, convenience and luxury.