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Eastern Cape

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Eastern Cape

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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 interesting National Parks. It`s 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 espescially in the former homelands.

Regions

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 Transkei
  • Graaff-Reinet - the capital of the Karoo desert and a national heritage site

Other destinations

  • Tsitsikamma National Park - wonderful coastal scenery between Plettenberg Bay and Hermansdorp including the famous Otter Trail
  • Addo Elephant National Park - near Port Elizabeth
  • Cintsa - backpackers haven with two famous hostels and a great atmosphere
  • Shamwari Game Reserve - most well-known and luxurious of the private game reserves in the Eastern Cape (www.shamwari.com; Tel. (042) 203 1111)

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.

By Plane

Port Elizabeth and East London are the main airports both with several flights daily to other South African destinations and a very little range of international flights (mainly to the neighbouring countries)

By Train

The only regular train service is from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg and Cape Town. Trains are operated by Spoornet (http://www.spoornet.co.za).

Get around

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.

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 neighbouring 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 Tsittikama National Park: not as spectacular as some of the other National Parks it offers superb coastlines, whale watching and excellent hiking. Addo National Park: once famous for the elephants this park is after the unification with Zuurberg NP one of South Africa`s largest.

Do

Visit the bustling cities of Port Elizabeth or East London before heading on for the Wild Coast.

Do the National Park loop with Tsitsikamma National Park, Addo National Park and Mountain Zebra National Park and head for Graaff-Reinet for classical Karoo atmosphere (and the Karoo National Park)

Buy

Eat

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

External links

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