While not as sought after compared to the neighboring Western Cape, its contribution to South Africa’s storied past is immense. It was here that Nelson Mandela was born and in 2000, a museum opened its doors to coincide with the tenth anniversary of his release from prison. The museum can be found in Qunu on the N2, south of Umtata.
The Eastern Cape is also more abundant in natural magnificence along with a gentle coastline that attracts surfers, incredible inland views of rolling farmland and secret valleys not forgetting the Wild Coast. It is considered to be one of the most exuberant strips of coastal forest on the planet.
The westernmost coast of the province is home to the end of the world-famous Garden Route, making it a fairly simple decision to continue northeast along the African coast, heading for the Eastern Cape.
The Eastern Cape is also a great safari holiday spot with three malaria-free national parks, the Addo Elephant, Mountain Zebra and Tsitsikamma National Park. Shamwari, between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown, was the first private conservation initiative in the Eastern Cape. It has been a great achievement, both in terms of environmental ethics and as an exceptional vacation spot, offering an ultra-luxury safari or gaming experience.
Port Elizabeth is the main metropolis of the Eastern Cape and, without a doubt, one of the best kept secrets in South Africa. As well as being a very good base for day trips, PE (as it is known) has a diverse variety of coastlines and excellent golf courses. Within the confines of the town center there are lovely walks, several mountain bike trails, excellent surfing and sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing and fantastic diving.
Chances are you’ve heard of the “Big Five” and yet the Eastern Cape is home to the “Big Seven”. Along with the conventional “Big Five” (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhinoceros), you will also be able to discover the Great White Shark and the Southern Right Whale.