Famous as the birthplace of Nelson “Madiba” Mandela, the Eastern Cape of South Africa is the home of the isiXhosa culture and the land where open skies meet vast stretches of veld, traditional thatched rondavels and livestock, and where the warm Indian Ocean beats against the wild coastline.
As South Africa’s second-largest province, notable destinations include the Wild Coast, East London and Port Elizabeth (the two largest cities) and Storms River – the gateway to the Garden Route below. Grahamstown, Queenstown and Mthatha are inland, with Graaff-Reinet and tiny Nieu Bethesda, snuggling the border of the Karoo.
The appeal of the Eastern Cape is off the highways. Follow pot-holed, tarred or gravel roads that wind their way through the subtropical vegetation to the coast. Keep your eyes peeled for cows, goats, dogs and an assortment of other animals as you travel past townships and grassy villages. Travellers can make the journey inland on similar roads for even more natural beauty off the tourist trail.
Just as bewitching as the scenery, the Eastern Cape is characterised by friendly locals. You will be welcomed with warm smiles as wide as that glorious sky.
It’s not about big city lights in the Eastern Cape.The best way to explore is by road. Vegetation ranges from Karoo plains to Afromontane forest in the Tsitsikamma and sub-tropical flora along the coast, which creates many natural hidden attractions.
Best are the region’s beaches and warm Indian Ocean waves.
Journey slightly inland and stumble across other hidden treasures such as Hogsback; a micro mountain village in thick Lord of the Rings forest and, Graaff-Reinet, billed as the gem of the Karoo.
What to do in the Eastern Cape
The different regions of the Eastern Cape offer wildly different things to do. From bundu bashing on the Wild Coast and surfing in Jeffreys Bay, to getting your dose of the Big Five in Addo – the Eastern Cape caters to all!
Where to stay in the Eastern Cape
Where to eat in the Eastern Cape