Eastern Cape Bed and Breakfast Cheap Hotel Guest House Accommodation
Within the Eastern Cape province area there are the former homelands of Transkei and Ciskei, featuring a long coastline along the Indian Ocean it offers fantastic beaches as well as some interesting National Parks including Addo Elephant National Park and Mountain Zebra National Park
The Eastern Cape offers scenic and climatic extremes where the lush forests of the Tsitsikama National Park in the south create a natural extension to the Garden Route. Here you may take part in the Otter Trails, considered the finest hikes in the world, or test the highest Bungee jump at the Blaukrans Bridge.
Further north, the World Heritage Site Baviaanskloof with the valley of baboons and numerous other nature attractions, is described as a mega eco-reserve. The west of the province takes on some of the dessert-like conditions of the Karoo although, inland, the province is covered with mountain ranges and is home to the Drakensberg. Tiffendell, the only ski resort of South Africa, is found here with the highest peak at 3001 m. The indigenous forests and more scenic wonders found on the slopes of the Amatole Mountains at Hog’s Back are said to be the inspiration for the Lord of the Rings written by Tolkien. The east of the province is made up of grassland with subtropical summer rainfall along the coast which provides a luxurious green backdrop to the spectacular Wild Coast.
The Wild Coast was known as the Transkei while apartheid politics was in power, this changed in 1994 when the country became a complete democracy and dismantled previous Bantustans. Nelson Mandela was born in Qunu near the capital of this area, Mthatha. Here you may visit one of the three museums dedicated to his struggle for freedom and that of his fellow citizens. You may also get to know the local people by visiting one of the Xhosa villages to spend time sharing their life style. Port St. John’s is located on the coast and not far from Coffee Bay where the famous “Hole in the Wall” may be experienced. When the conditions are right, the quirks of nature may be heard as well as seen as the waves crash through the hole in the rocks creating a sound similar to a thunder clap, hence the Xhosa name for the area, “Place of Thunder”.
East London is a great starting point to explore the Wild Coast but before setting out to discover the unspoilt beauty of the Indian Ocean coast line, enjoy the hospitality and courtesy of yesteryear in the ideal setting provided by 19th century colonial arquitecture, influenced by German and English settlers. Access to never-ending sandy beaches which are mostly deserted and little traffic or pollution can help you forget that the city is located on the only river port in South Africa. The DaimlerChrysler plant is the main source of income and employment in the town. The Buffalo River runs through the town and also gives its name to the city called Bhisho, the original Xhosa name for the river, where the Bhisho Casino can be found.
Graham’s Town is known as the Festival Capital of Africa and is located on the main N2 route travelling south towards Port Elizabeth. During the years that South Africa was under sanctions, the Arts Festivals held here maintained the creative spirit and fed the craving that people suffered for cultural activities. Today, the National Arts Festival includes all artistic expression, from music or script writing to Fringe performances. There are many different festivals throughout the year and it is worth checking to see whether you coincide with a theme that interests you.
Halfway between Graham’s Town and Port Elizabeth you may visit the Shamwari Private Game Reserve which is free of malaria. Five of the seven biomes located in South Africa can be found at this private game reserve as well as elephants, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard. This game reserve has been awarded international recognition as the leading conservation company for many years. The Addo Elephants Park is not far off this route and you may have the luck to see all 350 of the African elephants that are cared for here.
The capital of this province is Port Elizabeth which is located on Algoa Bay, here you will be tempted to carry out numerous out-door sports, in or out of the water. Diving enthusiasts will be pleasantly surprised by the variety of depths in the water reefs where the excellent visibility allows the underwater life to be appreciated. Abundant shipwrecks have created artificial reefs for sea fauna to multiply and some of the species are unique to the area. The city is a busy industrial and educational centre although it also offers urban delights including a good selection of shops, theatres or restaurants. General Motors and Volkswagen have major industrial investments in the area and the harbour at Coega about 20 km north of Port Elizabeth and currently in construction is expected to bring more business to the area.
Completing the circle around the perimeter of the province, we find Jeffrey’s Bay, a surfing paradise and classified as one of the ten best beaches for wave breaks in the world. The Billabong Pro South Africa competition is held there once a year although the most consistent surfing conditions happen between May and September. Supertubes can run for as long as 300 m and when conditions are perfect, can link up for a ride as long as 1 km. Jeffries is also famous for sea shells and whales breaching on the sands and has a healthy local craft industry.