The Eastern Cape province includes the former "homelands" of Transkei and Ciskei. With a long coastline on the Indian Ocean it offers great beaches as well as several very interesting National Parks. Its population is mainly Xhosa-speaking and the province is home to several of South Africa`s most important persons in the fight against Apartheid (e.g. Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Steve Biko and Oliver Tambo). It's still a poor province especially in the former homelands but beautiful and not so touristy.
Seaview Game & Lion Park, ☎ +27 (0)42 378-1702, .
Schotia Safaris Game Reserve, ☎ +27 (0)42 235-1436, . Huge stock of game with free roaming lions. One gets the safari feeling here without paying through the nose.Prices, a game drive, meal and drink R600pp or staying overnight, with evening and morning drive, meals and drinks for R1200pp..
Shamwari Game Reserve, ☎ +27 (0)42 203-1111, . The most well-known and luxurious of the private game reserves in the Eastern Cape.
The main motorway in the province is the N2. It runs along the coast from Cape Town via the Garden Route, Port Elizabeth, the Transkei and further through KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. The road condition is mainly excellent except in the Transkei (Do not travel the Transkei portion of the N2 at night as the potholes can be deep and there are often stray animals ie cows and goats wandering around).
Follow the N1 toll road south until Colesberg, then follow the N9 from there towards Graaff-Reinet and George or follow first the N9 and then the N10 towards Port Elizabeth. Avoid driving the N9 and N10 at night as game often wander onto the road at night and accidents are not uncommon. A full grown kudu or other large antelope and cause some severe damage to you and your vehicle.
Major roadworks (with single direction traffic diversions) 2 km south of Cradock on the N10 may cause a delay of up to 30minutes.
Major roadworks about 20 km south of Port Elizabeth on the N2. Northbound traffic is restricted to one lane for about 10 km while southbound traffic is diverted via to old regional road. Does not generally cause severe delays (maybe 10 minutes extra traveling time), but may be a problem over long weekends or other public holiday periods.
Note that you will probably be stopped at a veterinary roadblock (these roadblocks are clearly signposted and manned by both the veterinary service and police) on leaving the province. There is a problem with some swine disease in the province and you are not allowed to take any pork products out of the province. You will be asked if you have any such products in your possession at the roadblock.
Port Elizabeth and East London are the main national airports both with several flights daily to other South African destinations, but no international flights.
Definitely the best option if you are more than two as several regions and some of the National Parks aren't accessible by public transport. Road Conditions are mainly good but get informed before you start. Car rental is available in larger cities and along the popular resorts of the Garden Route.
Be careful of wild animals, especially monkeys, on the road. Be especially careful if driving at night.
Minibus services are available for local transport between neighbouring towns (and also on several longer distances).
With the limited range of railways this isn't really a viable option for touring the province. However, the route from Grahamstown to Alicedale is very scenic and well worth doing. The newly-opened line from East London to Mthatha also traverses some dramatic scenery through the Wild Coast.