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Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape Province is an exhilarating experience for visitors, from blue flag beaches such as Kings Beach to the rural tranquility of the Transkei. Despite the cosmopolitan feeling in some of the urban centres, there is always an element of the untamed, just below the surface … MORE \ Discover the Eastern Cape \ or to find a place to stay visit Eastern Cape Accommodation or Eastern Cape Hotels. (Popular regions include Port Elizabeth, East London and Greater Addo).

Friday, 20 May 2016

20 Best Secret Scenic Spots in Eastern Cape

For those #travellers after photo moments worth sharing on Instagram and other social media, look no further than these #highlights of the Eastern Cape.

We’ve put together a list of beautiful spaces, extraordinary spots, and remote places to share with the rest of the world.

For your perfect #travel moments head to these 20 secret scenic spots in Eastern CapeContinued

Friday, 22 April 2016

12 Top Routes Of The Eastern Cape – Great Ways To Explore The Province

Despite its reputation as poorer cousin to the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape includes several of the country’s greatest adventure destinations, the bulk of the Great Karoo, the Wild Coast, the homelands of the Xhosa people, the birthplace of Nelson Mandela, and some of South Africa’s greatest hiking trails.

What’s more its climate is mild throughout the year with a Sunshine Coast that promises good surfing and kilometres of beach. Inland a collection of stunning landscapes, plenty of private and national wildlife reserves, and farms producing chicory, tomatoes, deciduous fruit and citrus beckons. Whilst the Eastern Cape’s very own Highlands shelter a series of towns that promise snow in winter and no fewer than 8 mountain passes to explore.

Eastern Cape Tourism has developed a number of routes to simplify travelling the adventure province. Here are 12 of them… Continued

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

6 Things To Do On The Wild Coast (That You Don’t Know About)

The Wild Coast covers 350 km of Indian Ocean shoreline in the Eastern Cape. It’s synonymous with remote beaches, gob-stopping scenery, and the Xhosa people.

It’s somewhere every South African has to travel, at least once.

It’s also the homeland of Nelson Mandela who was born in the village of Mvezo on the Mbashe River, seaside villages like Cintsa, Port St Johns and Coffee Bay, geological wonders like the Hole in the Wall, inspiring waterfalls like Magwa, the almost 57-kilometre, four-day hike known as the Strandloper trail, Hluleka and Silaka nature reserves, and dirt roads full of potholes.

In short: it’s the back of beyond that everyone wants to travel.

Here is our list of 6 things to do on the Wild Coast that you may not know about … Continued

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

6 Off The Beaten Track Towns In The Eastern Cape

South Africa is one of the best holiday destinations in Africa enjoying an ever-increasing number of tourists every year, who head to the glamorous coastal cities of Cape Town and Durban, and the cosmopolitan city of Johannesburg.

Away from these cities South Africa has dozens of little towns and villages. Many of them, particularly those in the Western Cape and Free State, have succumbed to a small town renaissance as an influx of artists and intellectuals restore their Victorian and Cape Dutch architecture and reinvigorate the towns with markets, wine estates, annual events, places to stay and tourist routes.

The inland region of the Eastern Cape finds itself lumped into a vague expanse described as the ‘binneland’ in Afrikaans. These uncharted parts of the Eastern Cape still needs discovering. The once beautiful towns have eluded the small town renaissance of other provinces. Left to languish as disillusioned farmers and people head to the larger cities for work, these dorps could find themselves described as ghost towns before long.  Continued

Friday, 26 February 2016

Stitching The Dragon’s Tail – South Africas Great 8 Passes Challenge

Imagine driving the highest navigable mountain pass in the country, enjoying wild and unspoilt countryside with views to match, skiing the slopes of Ben Macdhui and then passing down the other side of the mountain into one of the country’s prettiest and most historical villages …

No, you do not have to head into the Alps of Switzerland, or the Scottish Highlands. Such a challenge exists right here, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

Known as the 8 Passes Challenge, or Stitching the Dragon’s Tail, the navigation of eight mountain passes in the southernmost section of the Drakensberg Mountains (the tail of the Dragon) is the ultimate 4×4 driving experience.

Driving these mountain tops in some of the country’s least populated areas gives you access to vistas usually the reward of hikers who have persevered into virtually unnavigable parts of these mountains. The good news: you do not need a 4×4 vehicle to drive the passes. A good 2×4 with a high clearance can manage most of the passes, bar Bastervoetpad, which is a challenge even for the hardcore 4×4 enthusiast… Continued

Monday, 15 February 2016

10 Reasons Rhodes Should Be On Your Bucket List Of Towns To Visit In South Africa

Rhodes is a fairytale type village perched in amongst the mountains where time seems, literally, to stand still. Fringed by mountains, fresh air and the calls of swallows and red-chested cuckoos, the unique Victorian-style tin roofed homes, hotel and shops remain as a delightful holiday retreat for those who can be bothered to get there.

Because, if you haven’t already visited Rhodes then no-one has explained that you don’t simply ‘drop in’ to the 1821 metres above sea level village in the highlands of the Drakensberg. Half the adventure involves getting there. If you are a 4×4 enthusiast then a visit to Rhodes is even more intrepid than it sounds because there are eight mountain passes in the area.

(Note: not all eight passes lead to Rhodes, but you can reach most of them from Rhodes, give or take a few detours. The recommended passage to Rhodes is via the gravel R396 from Barkly East).

Admittedly not all eight passes are equal. Only one of them is tarred (Barkly Pass), whilst others, like Bastervoetpad, make challenging driving and a third, Naude’s Nek, is the highest navigable (for a standard sedan) dirt mountain pass in the country, reaching a summit of 2920 metres above sea level and incorporating some of the most incredible scenery in South Africa. Continued

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Offbeat Route 56 – Take The Alternative Route Through The Transkei

Route 56 is a surprisingly well-maintained, provincial route that links Middleburg in the Eastern Cape, with Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu Natal. On the map it looks as though someone has taken a crayon and drawn a squiggly line east, north east through the country.

Marketed as the ‘shortest route’ between the Western Cape and Durban, the route’s main leverage is that it is a viable alternative to the N2 through the Transkei. It passes through the mountain country of Lesotho, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal connecting Molteno, Maclear and Kokstad.

Calling it ‘short’ is a little misleading. It may be shorter in terms of kilometres, but the nature of the roads through the mountains mean that you take it slower. You can easily add three hours to your journey, but they’re hours well spent in terms of scenery and escaping the N2. Continued

Monday, 18 January 2016

Mountain Zebra National Park – 5 Reasons Why You Should Visit

Most people I speak to haven’t heard of Mountain Zebra National Park. The park is one of the country’s lesser known hideaways, and those in the know would rather keep it that way.

For some reason people fail to imagine mountains and zebras together (for most of us, zebras belong on the grassy plains of the Kruger National Park, or Serengeti). And when I then mention that the park is close to Cradock in the Karoo, there is further bafflement: yes, there are mountains in the Karoo!

Mountain Zebra National Park falls under the SANParks banner, one of twenty odd national parks in the country. It lies on Route 61, 12 km outside Cradock in the Eastern Cape. From Cape Town it’s a good nine hour journey along either the N1and R61, or N2 and N9, which you can do in one stretch, but I’d advise breaking the journey for comfort’s sake.

Its appeal lies in its beauty, rather than its animal checklist… Continued

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Top Ten Natural Attractions in Eastern Cape

Perhaps the reason the Eastern Cape has something of a Cinderella complex is because it lies wedged between two of South Africa’s most popular destinations – the Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal. Certainly it receives less attention than the Western Cape, yet is more diverse and harbours some of the most beautiful holiday destinations in the country.

It begins where the Garden Route stops, 1 000 km of largely undeveloped coastline (if you overlook Port Elizabeth and East London) with beaches warmed by the Indian Ocean’s waters, its north-eastern corner dominated by the Drakensberg Mountain range and its eastern quarters awash with rural Xhosa villages.

It has one of the country’s best loved national parks, is malaria-free, and is Nelson Mandela’s birth place. For visitors it is a playground of outdoor activities and compelling natural attractions. Continued

Thursday, 4 June 2015

8 Charming Karoo Towns For Nature Lovers And Outdoor Enthusiasts

The Karoo: South Africa’s semi-desert region – a rare mix of desolation, ragged mountains, vast plains, star-studded skies, sheep farms, quirky little towns in the middle of nowhere, and a whole lot of space.

The Karoo spans almost 400 000 km² across the centre of South Africa; an invitation to travel.

Whilst this arid belt was surely a trial for early explorers and travellers for whom the heat, frosts, floods, droughts and little rainfall translated into a harsh existence, today it is road trip country into the back of beyond where windmills, donkey carts, red hills, corbelled houses, a range of small-town historical architecture, and corrugated farm roads envelop one in the essence of the Karoo.

For those who love the great outdoors the Karoo is a playground in which to test your metal, and reconnect with life and stillness. One can commune with nature anywhere in the Karoo, but here is a list of 8 Karoo towns for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, the second in our Karoo series … Continued

Thursday, 28 May 2015

10 Far-Flung Karoo Towns For Fabulous Festivals

If you’ve ever looked at a map of the Karoo (the Groot and Klein Karoo) you may have noticed that it occupies a huge chunk of central South Africa.

It stretches from Alexander Bay on the West Coast, encompassing the bulk of the Northern Cape, all the way to the Free State towns of Smithfield and Cookhouse on the Karoo’s eastern boundaries, whilst its southern borders are dotted with Route 62’s well-known towns from Robertson through to Uniondale.

Its towns read like a list of who’s who of the Platteland – Loeriesfontein, Van Wyksvlei, Prieska, Putsonderwater, Philippolis, Bitterfontein, Koffiefontein and Kuboes.

With so many towns to choose from, just where in the Karoo does one go? In this, the first of a series of blogs on the Karoo, we bring you 10 Far-Flung Karoo Towns For Fabulous Festivals... Continued

Friday, 17 October 2014

4 sun-drenched day trips along the Sunshine Coast

If there was a place that guaranteed more sunshine hours than anywhere else in the country, wouldn’t you head there?

Stretching between Tsitsikamma and East London is just such a place; its coastline gives you over six hours of driving pleasure along the N2. And whilst I know you’re itching to know what it is (no, it isn’t the Garden Route), you’ll be tempted to slap me when you hear it’s (ta da): the Sunshine Coast.

Obvious, yes… Continued

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Eastern Cape Beaches Go Blue

The Eastern Cape and Garden Route boast some of the prettiest and most extensive beaches in South Africa, with warm waters from the Indian Ocean making them excellent choices for water sports. In recognition of their beauty, excellent swimming conditions and commitment to the preservation of the local fauna and flora, 20 Eastern Cape beaches were given Blue Flag status in 2014Continued

Thursday, 11 September 2014

7 Reasons Why You Should Visit Kwelera – South Africa’s 10th National Botanical Garden

Kwelera’s 164 hectares form a narrow strip of coast that runs parallel to the Indian Ocean for about five kilometres, between the beachside town of Gonubie and where the Kwelera River meets the sea just north-east of East London.

Few of us know anything about this small, unobtrusive nature reserve. Yet since late July it is the country’s 10th National Botanical Garden.

Kwelera, or Kwelegha (the ‘r’ is pronoucned as a ‘gh’ as in loch), comes from the Khoi language and means place of aloes (the Eastern Cape’s emblem). Continued

Friday, 13 June 2014

30 things you MUST do in Port Elizabeth in winter

Port Elizabeth might be regarded as Cape Town’s poorer cousin, and far less glamourous than Jozi, but it does have rather mild winters, which makes it a far more attractive option once winter’s cold sets in.

In fact there are those who say that Port Elizabeth has more sunshine hours than any other city in South Africa (we’ll just cast a blind eye to the wind factor).

It’s also just down the road from St Francis Bay and Jeffreys Bay (but cheaper), and has access to plenty of swimming beaches and a beachfront lifestyle that is easy to access. And Port Elizabeth has loads of action-packed activities (in the bungi-jumping, sandboarding, adrenaline junkie vein).

So if you haven’t yet reached for your mouse to find the next low-cost flight out of your seat in to the slow city (slow as in ‘chilled’) then cast your eye over the list below for further impetus… Continued