The Eastern Cape is an area of extraordinary diversity. From reclaimed wildlife reserves, arichcultural heritage to beautiful coastal resorts and golden beaches. In contrast to the sophistication of towns and seaside resorts, this province stretches to the quiet foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains and across to the sparse lypopulated Great Karoo plains - taking in a variety of sheepfarms, ostrich farms and game reserves along the way, including the famous Addo Elephant National Park.
The Eastern Cape is South Africa's second largest province and although unjustifiably underrated as a game destination, it is malaria free and offers a wide variety of wildlife in both national and private game reserves.
Shamwari, between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown, was the first private conservation initiative in the Eastern Cape and due to its unmitigated success of maintaining environmental integrity and increasing tourism, other private reserves and lodges have followed suit.
The Addo Elephant National Park stretches from the ocean to the Zuurberg Mountains and is famed for its elephants and diversity of game. The stretch of coastline from Port Elizabeth to the Fish River is aptly known as the 'Sunshine Coast'.
Well known for its surfing and delightful holiday resorts, this area is a beach - lovers paradise.
The rugged Wild Coast runs from East London to Port Edward and is an area of spectacular scenery, thick indigenous forests and rich in the cultural heritage of the Xhosa people. The friendly city of Port Elizabe this the largest city on the coast between Cape Town and Durban and offers all the attractions of a major tourist centre.
This is an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding areas and investigate its historic past.
Situated at the mouth of the Buffalo River, East London is South Africa's only riverport.
Academically orientated Grahamstown is home to the National Arts Festival, and along with Graaff Reinet, known for their historic buildings and interesting museums.
The friendly city of Port Elizabeth, gateway to the Eastern Cape and rich in history of the British settlers who arrived in 1820. Top attractions include: Superb beaches; Apple Express, an old fashioned steam train; Bayworld Museum Complex housing the museum which blends cultural and natural history, the Oceanarium with its popular dolphin and seal displays, the Snakepark, one of the oldest in South Africa and No 7 Castle Hill Museum, the oldest surviving settler cottage; Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World complex with a gokart track, adventure golf, fairground rides, boats and a games arcade.
East London, South Africa's only river port. Top attractions include: East London Museum, with unique natural and historic exhibitions; Steve Biko Garden of Remembrance, the gravesite of one of the most famous political martyrs; East London Aquarium with 400 different species of marine and freshwater creatures; City Hall; East London Harbour; Ann Byrant Art Gallery featuring a mix of Cape Dutch and Victorian artworks, representative of South African art from 1880 onwards; Beaches, some of the finest anywhere.
Malaria free game and nature reserves including the well known Addo Elephant National Park, Shamwari Private Game Reserve, Mountain Zebra National Park and Tsitsikamma National Park, to name a few. The reserves offer numerous adventure opportunities, hiking and walking trails and big five game viewing.
Historic Grahamstown, a university town with a rich history of British settlement. Visit the 1820 Settlers Monument and Memorial Museum. For theatre lovers, the National Festival of the Arts, held annually, is a must.
The village of Qunu, in Umtata, where Nelson Mandela grew up, and the Nelson Mandela Museum.
The Hole in the Wall, a striking rock formation.
The Wild Coast offering excellent rock, surf, fly and spear fishing, as well as deep-sea charters, spectacular coastal scenery and Southern Right Whale watching from May to September.
The Amatola Mountains offering exceptional opportunities for adventure-seekers, hikers, mountain-bikers and trout fishermen. The area is steeped in Xhosa history, well preserved in many regional museums.
Jeffreys Bay, the world famous surfer's paradise.
The Owl House in Nieu Bethesda, a house converted into a work of art, using broken bottles, bits of mirror and cement.
Graaff Reinet, with over 200 Victorian homes, which have been restored and proclaimed national monuments.
The longest gallery of San rock paintings in South Africa on Denorban near the quaint town of Elliot.
The Valley of Desolation, the product of volcanic and erosive forces of nature over 100 million years.
Storms River and Tsitsikamma with magnificent well preserved natural forests, the Storms River Bridge, home to the highest Bunjee Jump in the world and wonderful scenery.
Gerald Crawford was born in South Africa, studied electronics, telecommunication, eco-travel and african travel concepts. He taught responsible tourism in South Africa. If you have any questions or comments please e-mail me on.
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By : Gerald Crawford