The Eastern Cape
Here are some suggestions for activities and attractions in the Eastern Cape that your guests might be interested in. It is important to be knowledgeable about attractions in your area.
If you recommend something that your guests really enjoy, it will make their day.
A trip to the Eastern Cape will be key for visitors wanting to immerse themselves in South Africa's heritage. The province is home to the birthplace of international icon, Nelson Mandela and Qunu and Mthatha - areas that were the backdrop to his childhood will be a key attraction to recommend to tourists.
- A first stop would be the Nelson Mandela Museum in Qunu, where visitors can walk the picturesque foothills that the freedom icon did. They can can also see the remains of the primary school where he started Grade 1 and at which the teacher gave him the name 'Nelson'
- A related tour would be Art Route 67, which consists of 67 public artworks symbolising Nelson Mandela's 67 years of work dedicated to the freedom of South Africa, and includes 67 steps leading up to the second-largest flag in Africa
- Art buffs can be pointed in the direction of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum in Port Elizabeth
- Another memorable stopover would be the Great Karoo, where they'll find Nieu Bethesda and the famous Owl House. The cottage and garden was the home of a local artist, Helen Martins, who transformed it into a glass-encrusted dwelling and filled the garden with statues from the 1950s to the 1970s. It's now a museum that's become world renowned for its vivid artwork
Scenic beauty spots
Many tourists look forward to enjoying the natural beauty of our country. Make sure you can point them to the most picturesque spots.
Here are just a few examples of what guests could see:
- The Tsitsikamma National Park is found along one of the scenic stretches of South Africa – the Garden Route. Here they'll not only be able to take in the breathtaking green hills and valleys along an unspoilt coastline, there are also great activities, such as bungee jumping, scuba diving and the famous hiking trail, the Otter Trail
There are many beaches along the Eastern Cape coastline that look just postcard-ready! We recommend pointing your guests in the direction of these spots:
- Jeffrey's Bay is about an hour's drive from PE, and is a world-famous surfing destination
- Kenton on Sea is about halfway between Port Elizabeth and East London, and is found at the meeting point of two picturesque rivers, the Kariega and the Bushmans. The little village features pristine beaches and rolling green hills
- Kleinemonde – this idyllic coastal town is also found between East London and Port Elizabeth, and features miles of white sandy beaches, dunes and tidal pools. Visitors can swim, fish, sail or go horse riding here
The Eastern Cape is one of the few places in South Africa where your guests can not just spot the Big Five (elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard), but take in the Big Seven (the Big Five, as well as southern right whales and great white sharks).
Here are some great nature reserves to point them toward:
- Addo Elephant Park – the third-largest national park in South Africa, which is just 90 minutes away from Port Elizabeth. It's home to the Big Seven
- Baviaanskloof, a World Heritage Site, is home to the biggest wilderness area in the country and is also one of the eight protected areas of the Cape Floristic Region
- Shamwari Game Reserve – home to the coveted Big Five, and is about 45km from Port Elizabeth
- St Croix Island Marine Reserve – is made up of three small islands, north-east of Port Elizabeth. It's home to the world's largest breeding colony of African penguins
- Birds of Eden is a free-flight bird sanctuary along the Garden Route. It spans an indigenous gorge and is home to around 220 bird species
Deep blue plus
The water along South Africa’s East Coast is warmer than on the West Coast, which makes water sport and activities much more fun.
- Surfers from across the world flock to the Jeffreys Bay, or J-Bay as it’s also known, to catch some of the world’s best waves. Situated midway between the Gamtoos and Krom rivers, J-Bay stretches from Cape Recife in the east to Cape St Francis in the west.
- Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth, with its combination of calm water and light breezes, is a pleasure for watersport lovers. Hobie Beach has some of the best conditions for boardsailing (windsurfing) in the world, and both long and short boarders love its excellent waves and big shorebreaks. It’s also a popular destination for kite surfing, jet-skiing, powerboating, sailing and yachting.
Breathless … that’s how the Wild Coast will leave your thrill-seeking guest.
- One of the high points of the legendary Wild Coast Hiking Trail is a stop-over at Waterfall Bluff near the Mkambathi Nature Reserve. Hikers on this trail sometimes witness the incredible sardine run, dubbed by a filmmaker as “the greatest shoal on Earth”.
- The Addo Elephant National Park near Port Elizabeth is rated one of the best places in Africa to see elephants up close. It's also South Africa's third largest reserve, with an enormous diversity of species and vegetation.
- To discover the soul of the Wild Coast, your guests could take a seven-day road trip from East London to Port St Johns. They can expect many cultural encounters and scenic experiences along the way – from coastal forests to wide stretches of beach, isolated villages, and seaside hamlets lost in time.
- A bungee jump from the Bloukrans Bridge, about 40 km from Plettenberg Bay, makes for the ultimate adrenalin rush. At a height of 216m, it is the highest bungee bridge in the world.
- Baviaanskloof is perfect for a 4x4 adventure. It is one of the most stunning off-the-beaten-track wilderness locations in South Africa, featuring mountains, valleys, forests and thicket, as well as abundant wildlife. The rugged terrain means most areas are only accessible by 4x4, mountain bike or on foot.
- Port Alfred is great for canoeing or waterskiing on the Kowie River, kite sailing on the beach, whale watching from a boat or heading out into deep waters for some ocean fishing.
Lap of luxury
- The luxurious Shamwari Private Game Reserve, 75km east of Port Elizabeth is the epitome of indulgence. Guests can expect to see the Big Five, be pampered at one of three spas and enjoy beautifully prepared food.
- A luxury train trip is one of life’s great joys. The Premier Classe Train offers a leisurely trip from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth. Guests are pampered from the minute they board in Johannesburg until disembarking in Port Elizabeth about 20 hours later.
- The Prana Lodge private beach estate and spa in Chintsa East has only seven suites, adding to its exclusivity. Massages, yoga and meditation are on offer and guests have access to a private beach.
If you are interested in reading about more attractions in the Eastern Cape, visit the South African Tourism website.
Guests also appreciate having an idea of what there is to do in other areas, so find out where they are going next and offer some ideas for what they might like to do when they get there.