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Eastern Cape

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South Africa : Eastern Cape
Revision as of 15:37, 3 February 2007 by Fluglotse2000 (Talk | contribs)

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The Eastern Cape's Wildcoast is a rough piece of nature.

Eastern Cape is in South Africa and stretches along the Indian Ocean between Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

Understand

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 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 .

Regions

Eastern Cape

Cities

The main gateways to the Eastern cape are:

  • Port Elizabeth - the largest city in the province is connected to the rest of the country by flights, motorways and rail.
  • East London - the second largest city is accessible by plane and car and is the starting Point for travelling to the former Transkei and Wild Coast.
  • Grahamstown - heart of the Settler Country offering an traditional atmosphere
  • Umtata - the main city in the former Transkei
  • Graaff-Reinet - the capital of the Karoo desert and a national heritage site
  • Pearston

Other destinations

  • Cintsa - backpackers haven with two famous hostels and a great atmosphere.
  • Jeffreys Bay - The surfer's paradise and host of various famous surfing contests.
  • Paradise Beach - between Jeffreys Bay ands St Francis Bay - a secret, unspoiled paradise in summer for a stunning 10km long beach with not a soul on it. Airfield for flying freeks and motor glider flips. Cheap, simple, clean B&B R200 pppn Fritz +21 42 2920 235, evenings. It is beautiful and great for a walk and a swim or just lying on the beach.
  • Port Alfred - at the Kowie River mouth (great fishing) with miles of unspoilt, deserted beaches.
  • St Francis Bay - village of thatched roof houses, very upmarket, a new Jack Nicklaus golf course. St Francis Golf Club also a great place with a big heart for beginners.

National Parks and Reserves

Get in

By car

The main motorway in the province is the N2. It runs along the coast from Cape Town via the Garden Route to Port Elizabeth and further on to East London, the Transkei and Durban. The road condition is mainly excellent except in the Transkei. Do not travel this road at night as the potholes can be deep - (so deep the giraffe's head is sticking out) and there are often stray animals ie cows, goats wandering around which often cause accidents

By Plane

Port Elizabeth and East London are the main national airports both with several flights daily to other South African destinations, but no international flights.

By Train

Spoornet operates regular trains from Johannesburg to both Port Elizabeth and East London. There is also a once-weekly service from Cape Town to East London, and a daily service between Grahamstown and Alicedale.

Get around

Monkey of the N10

By Car

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 carefully of wild animals, especially monkeys, on the road. Be especially carefull if driving at night.

By bus

The main companies cross the Eastern Cape on their way from Cape Town to Durban. There are other main routes from Port Elizabeth and East London to Johannesburg.

The Baz Bus transverse the province on its Cape Town - Port Elizabeth - Durban run making PE a compulsory overnight stop.

Minibus services are available for local transport between neighboring towns (and also on several longer distances)

By Train

With the limited range of railways this isn`t a real option for touring the province.

See

  • Port Elizabeth: the provincial capital and major transportation hub
  • East London: Gateway to the Wild Coast
  • Grahamstown: University town with a colonial English atmosphere
  • Graaff-Reinet: a national heritage site and the classical example of an inland town.
  • Wild Coast: spectacular scenery and only a few tourists make this an out-off-the-beaten track destination
  • Tsitsikamma National Park: not as spectacular as some of the other National Parks it offers superb coastlines, whale watching and excellent hiking.
  • Addo Elephant National Park: famous for the elephants this park is after the unification with Zuurberg NP one of South Africa`s largest.Also has lion.
  • Mountain Zebra National Park - small, but only very few people there. See the endangered Mountain Zebras.

Do

Buy

Eat

  • When in Jeffreys Bayor Paradise Beach, try the beach restaurants near Marina Martinque called Tapas - cheap or the Whale Skipper slightly more expensive.Wherever try the calamari.
  • St Francis - go out to the port and have Cajun Calamari at the Porthole for lunch, sit in the sun, enjoy the food and watch the fishermen at work. What a pleasure

Drink

Sleep

The Garden Route is a major tourist destination with a broad range of accommodation in all ranges as is Port Elizabeth. East of East London and more inland accommodation is a little bit more limited but their will always be an option.

Get out

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