Eastern Cape Province Travel
Tips South Africa by Gerald Crawford
Welcome to the Eastern Cape
South Africa. Where else can you surf the worlds biggest waves, ski down
the only snow slopes in Africa, go on a big seven safari, visit the birthplace
of Nelson Mandela and bungee the highest bridge in the southern hemisphere?
The Eastern Cape, of course!
The second largest of South
Africa's nine provinces, the diverse Eastern Cape landscape ranges from
the dry desolate Great Karoo to the steamy forests of the Wild Coast and
the Keiskamma Valley. The area also embraces the fertile Langkloof, renowned
for its rich apple harvests, and is cradled by the mountainous southern
Here, widespread hills are
juxtaposed with sandy beaches; here small-town South Africa comes to greet
you - gently offering hospitality and friendship and asking for nothing
in return. This is where the `big seven' roam, and where the tropical forests
share their space with abundant birdlife and nature at its most generous.The
shoreline of this province extends from the Umtamvuna River in KwaZulu-Natal,
to the Storms River mouth on the scenic Garden
Route, in the west, and stretching inland, to the north, bordering
Today, the Eastern Cape incorporates
the previously independent `homelands' of the Ciskei and Transkei. Despite
its colonial past, the Eastern Cape remains the home of the Xhosa-speaking
people of South Africa. With its almost seven million people, the Eastern
Cape has the third-largest provincial population, living on about 169 600
km2 of land.The Eastern Cape climate varies considerably but has, a year-round
The Eastern coastal regions
enjoy hot summers and moderate winters and Port Elizabeth experiences a
daily average of 7 hours sunshine. Northern regions are much cooler. Certain
areas receive rain throughout the year albeit erratic.
Major attractions in the
Nelson Mandela Museum
The museum was officially
opened on the 11 February 2000, at a function to coincide with the tenth
anniversary of the release from prison of Nelson Mandela in 1990. The birthplace/museum
is situated at Qunu, along the N2 highway, south of Umtata.
Addo Elephant Park
Situated 73km from Port Elizabeth,
in South Africa's Eastern Cape, the park is a true conservation success
story. Valley of Desolation The product of volcanic and erosive forces
of nature over 100 million years, the Valley of Desolation is one of the
most spectacular sights in the country. A steep and narrow road leads into
the mountains that surround the valley - a journey not to be dared by the
faint-hearted. Grahamstown National Arts Festival Africa's largest and
most colorful cultural event takes place, annually, in this University
town, offering a choice of the very best of both indigenous and imported
Hole in the wall
Just south of Coffee Bay,
on the eastern seaboard, is a prominent rock formation with a big hole
in the centre. This distinctive site has become a symbol for the Xhosa
in remembrance of a great historical tragedy - the "Great Cattle Killing".
The unique structure with a huge detached cliff that has a giant opening
carved through its centre by the waves. The local Xhosa call this place
"izi Khaleni", which means "place of thunder".
The Tsitsikamma National
Park, also known as "the place of much water", is where the great breaking
waves of the Indian Ocean relentlessly pound rocky shores; where temperate
high forest and fynbos (indigenous flora) roll down to the sea and where
ancient rivers carve their paths to the ocean down rocky ravines.
Worlds Highest Bungee
The world's highest bungee-jumping
site is to be found at Blaauwkrans Bridge on the Storms River. A daring
adrenaline-rushing dive from this bridge ensures a dazzling 180 meters
of free fall at 193kmph, taking seven seconds - even the rebound is higher
than the Victoria Falls.
The Baviaanskloof (Valley
of Baboons) is rapidly assuming national conservation and heritage prominence.
The Baviaanskloof is a wilderness area situated on the eastern border of
the Cape Floral Kingdom, some two and a half hour's drive from Port Elizabeth.
The Owl House
Enter a magical world at
the famous Owl House in Nieu-Bethesda. Just outside Graaf-Reinet, this
is where Helen Martins spent the latter part of her life. Regarded as an
eccentric and deeply interested in Eastern philosophy, she lived a hermit-like
existence, devoting her life to her beloved owl statues and "the search
for light and brightness".
Super Tubes Experience the
perfect wave in Jeffreys, the surfing capital of South Africa and a major
international surfing venue that attracts visitors from all over the world
to experience the "perfect wave".
Tiffindell is the only ski
resort in Africa. Situated in the Southern Drakensberg on the slopes of
the highest mountain peak in the Eastern Cape (3001m). The resort was started
in 1994 with basic small accommodation, a rough road and few facilities
and has since become a popular destination for those in search of an exciting