The spectacular shoreline of the Eastern Cape, known as the Wild Coast, runs east from Port Elizabeth, and is one of the main draws of the area. You'll understand why when you discover its secluded sandy coves licked by the azure-blue Indian Ocean, encircled by lush tropical forests and rocky outcrops. There’s no surprise that marine life here is sensational, with plenty of dolphin sightings throughout the year.
However, there is so much more to see than just beaches in this region, and the Eastern Cape is a great option for a safari after exploring the beautiful Garden Route. Inland is dotted with wildlife rich national parks and game reserves, including the Addo Elephant National Park where you can stay at a luxury lodge and fall asleep to the rhythmic trumpeting of the nearby elephants. This non-malarial region also offers spectacular Big Five game viewing opportunities, and even a chance to spot the rare White Lion.
There’s also the semi-desert Karoo (240 km north of Port Elizabeth), where you can contemplate the sheer cliffs with echoing bird calls, expansive skies and epic vistas in the awesome Valley of Desolation. This area lends itself perfectly to hiking, with numerous trails throughout the area. Bird lovers should also keep a look out for the majestic Verreaux’s (or Black) eagle, which uses the sheer rock faces as ideal hunting grounds for its favourite prey, the Rock Hyrax. Nearby is the quaint colonial town of Graaff-Reinet, one of the oldest towns in South Africa and with much of its historical centre is intact. It is home to pretty pink shuttered cottages, delightful café’s, antique shops and Dutch Reformed churches; staying here makes one feel as though they have stepped back in time into an old saloon town.
The region’s largest city, Port Elizabeth, boasts numerous heritage buildings, as well as some beautiful bathing beaches, excellent water sports and some of the best surfing spots in the country. It makes for a great stop over point pre or post safari, or in between connecting flights and is well connected with its airport operating a number of flights to Cape Town and Johannesburg daily.
Features in the following itineraries
You either get the point of Africa or you don’t. What draws me backyear after year is that it is like the world with the lid off.
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
- Leslie Siben, India
- Anonymous, India
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India