Its natural diversity is impressive: the Eastern Cape incorporates parts of all seven ecological zones that occur in South Africa. It also features all three of the country’s biodiversity regions, which is further enhanced by its 820km of untamed coastline.
This ensures an assortment of plant and animal species, including the Big Five, abundant birdlife and rich marine life (including 27 species of whales and dolphins).
The province offers something for everyone: for the adrenaline addict there’s tubing down the Storm’s River Gorge, skydiving in Grahamstown and taking the plunge off the Bloukrans Bridge on the world’s highest commercially operated bridge bungee; outdoor enthusiasts can try spot the Big Seven or enjoy pristine beaches.
The province is steeped in history – it is the birthplace of Nelson Mandela and a number of other great political activists – and was one of the centres at the forefront of the fight for democracy in South Africa.
Like South Africa’s other provinces, the Eastern Cape has an excellent infrastructure, with good roads and plenty of accommodation.
At Addo, there are lovely picnic areas, and the guided bush walks and game drives are an exciting way to explore the wilderness and spot all the park’s magnificent animals, such as black rhino, zebra, ostrich, spotted hyenas, black backed jackals, buffalo, lion and leopard. Addo’s many antelope species, like the gemsbok, bushbuck, eland, kudu, wildebeest and springbok, never fail to delight. Furthermore, the unique flightless dung beetle is found almost exclusively in Addo. Addo is brilliant for a day’s self-drive and on a good day, from the comfort of your own car, you can see 250-300 elephants and the various other animals mentioned.
Game drives are conducted both in the day and at night by trained guides who are knowledgeable about the area. Other wildlife that guests can expect to see include the rest of the Big 5 (lion, rhino, buffalo, leopard), as well as giraffe, warthog and more. The area is also home to the Big 7 – the Big 5 with the addition of the southern right whale and great white shark. Self-drive game drives are also available.
The reserve is renowned for its luxury lodging as well as brilliant wildlife viewings – the area is rich in biodiversity with many animals re-introduced to the bushveld. A mere 50-minute drive north-east of Port Elizabeth and is located along the Greater Addo area. Amakhala is renowned for its excellent wildlife viewing and guests are sure to encounter some incredible animals. Animals that roam freely throughout the reserve include lion, cheetah, the white rhino, elephant, Cape buffalo, various species of buck and antelope, as well as giraffe and zebra. Animals can be viewed on game drives which are conducted by trained guides, or even from the comfort of your safari lodge.
The game reserve makes for a truly unique wedding venue – the tranquil bush, stunning wildlife and the ever present sun in a cloudless blue sky will ensure you have a memorable big day. The many luxury lodges available in the reserve have lavish wedding facilities and go the extra mile for your special day. All of the lodges also have spacious conference rooms for those wanting a fun corporate retreat.
The accommodation available ranges from ultra-luxurious to rustic and simplistic, perfect for all kinds of tourists including families and couples seeking a romantic getaway! All lodges have standard safari activities that are sure to enthral.
Port Elizabeth (recently officially renamed Gqeberha), along with the small town of Uitenhage and Despatch together constitute the metropolitan area known as Nelson Mandela Bay, a city of 1,1 million people of diverse backgrounds. It has earned a nickname as a Friendly City, owing to the generally hospitable nature of the inhabitants and a welcoming endowment of natural and social heritage.
Nelson Mandela Bay draws hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers throughout the year, especially during summer with its internationally acclaimed blue flag beaches along its magnificent coastline. It has five biomes, alluring bio-diversity and is home to the last known islands of the African penguin. The area is endowed with natural beauty. It has five biomes, magnificent bio-diversity and is home to the last known island homes of the African Penguin. Along its coastline are internationally acclaimed blue-flag beaches, which draw hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers throughout the year, especially during summer.