Apr 06 2018



Tags: eastern cape  karroo  addo elephant park  tsitsikamma  wild coast south africa 

Discovering the Eastern Cape Part 1
Some of the best tourist attractions in South Africa are in the Eastern Cape - Discover them!

The first thing that visitors may notice when visiting the Eastern Cape for the first time, is how vastly different the landscape is from the Western Cape. The Eastern Cape is full of hidden treasures and true surprises! Some of them, you may have to discover by venturing slightly off the beaten path, but the rewards are truly worth it. You may not find an iconic, flat, table-top mountain in the Eastern Cape, nor may you find rows of prestigious vineyards, but the Eastern Cape does offer some of the most spectacular beaches and beautiful stretches of natural landscapes in the whole of Southern Africa!

The Eastern Cape is also home to Africa's Big Seven, as well as the highest bungee jump in the world. You will notice that the further east you travel, the wilder and more untamed the landscape seems to become. Some parts in the Wild Coast are so remote, that it sometimes feels as if it has been eternally devoid of civilization.

Starting in the west, you will find yourself at the famous Bloukraans Bridge. This is the home to the highest commercial bungee jump in the world and it is not for the faint hearted! Visitors come from all over the world to step off this 216 meter high bridge, for that thrilling adrenaline rush and awesome 'selfie' moment - racing to the ground at speeds of 125 miles per hour!

Further on you will arrive at the lush, sub-tropical forests of the Tsitsikamma National Park, which offers visitors spectacular scenery. The deep river canyons of the Storms River gorge offer visitors and adventurers plenty to see and do. Here you can put your tree-top gliding skills to the test or you can take an amazing ride on a raft, canoe or kayak through the many gorges. For the more adventurous, there are also black-water tubing adventures on offer. Another must for hiking enthusiasts, is the popular, world renowned Otter Trail, which stretches for 43km, over 5 days, from the Storms River Mouth to Natures Valley in the west.

If you're looking for something a little less thrilling, you can always take a spectacular and refreshing stroll through one of the many tree-top canopy walks in the magnificent Tsitsikamma forests, which is home to the Big Tree - an 800 year old Yellowood, which stands 36 meters tall!

Moving further eastwards, we find ourselves in St Frances Bay, a remote, prestigious village, with its winding canals, waterways, pristine beaches, golf courses and luxury homes. Right next door, is the coastal town of Jefferys Bay - home to surf, sun, fun and big waves! It is called the surfing capital of South Africa and is unique as it even boasts its own Shell Museum and a Surfing Museum! It is also the host to the Billabong International Pro surfing event in July every year, which makes this seaside town well worth a visit!

About 45 minutes east, we arrive in the Eastern Cape's largest city - Port Elizabeth and the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, which was a host city for the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Here you find some of the best beaches in South Africa, fantastic weather, a lion park, a museum of natural history, modern, upscale shopping centers and plenty of historical attractions. It is also home to the oldest cricket ground in South Africa, St George's Park.

Just outside Port Elizabeth, is the Addo Elephant National Park, which is another major tourist attraction! This 120 000 hectare marine reserve offers visitors not only an abundance of African Bush Elephant, but also sights of Africa's Big Seven, which include lion, the Cape Buffalo, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, the Southern Right Whale and the Great White Shark.

Moving inland from here, you can visit the country style, Frontier Route, which goes through Grahamstown - a small, colonial university town, also known as the 'City of Saints' because of the many churches, cathedrals and clock towers found here. Grahamstown is also well known for its prestigious schools and for one of the most prestigious universities in South Africa - Rhodes University, which provides tertiary education to over 6,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students yearly.

Continuing inland, be sure not to miss a visit to the Karoo Heartland, home to Graaff Reinet and known to locals as the 'Gem of the Karoo'. It is also the country's 4'th oldest town and the oldest in the Eastern Cape. Graaff Reinet is wonderfully rich in South African history, heritage and is home to many museums, such as Reinet House, the Camdeboo National Park and the Valley of Desolation - a national monument and true treasure of dolomite pillars which offers breath-taking scenery and views over the vast, arid Karoo plains. To be continued...

Related Article: Eastern Cape is New Home Buyer's Choice


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