Once a region side-stepped by most travellers in favour of the Garden Route and Big Game Country of the north, South Africa’s Eastern Cape continues to win visitors over with its pristine coastline, accessible and malaria-free wildlife reserves, picturesque villages and surreal hinterland landscapes.
As the second largest province in the country it also boasts 800 kilometres of sun-soaked coastline including at its most northern end, the lush 174-kilometre long ‘Wild Coast’; a stretch of shoreline termed as such thanks to a delightful lack of development, rivers ending in expansive estuaries, long sandy crescent beaches, rocky headlands, coastal dunes and many a shipwreck to dive.
With the most of the region’s Big Five game and nature reserves being malaria-free and all within a 45 minute to 1.5-hour drive from Port Elizabeth, the Eastern Cape is a safari experience well-suited to families or those looking for more straightforward trip. Amongst these is the Addo Elephant Park that includes a 120,000-hectare marine reserve, and the Shamwari and Samara private game reserves which boast some of the finest luxury and Afro-chic lodges.
The region’s interior hinterlands are also what shape the Eastern Cape as a distinct destination and are worth mentioning for its endless horizons and desolate scrublands creating quite a dreamlike lunarscape interrupted with picturesque old settlement towns such as Graaff-Reinet.
The Eastern Cape is a year-round destination, although temperatures tend to be milder on the coast than in the hinterland interior generally
How easy it is to get there and aroundA very family-friendly provinceStunning beaches and sparsely populated stretches of coastline
Safari in its Private ReservesSurfing in Jeffrey’s Bay Horse Riding
Unspoilt beaches of the Wild Coast Golf
Visit the towns of Grahamstown and Graaff-Reinet