Mountains, beaches and wildlife: 5 tourism destinations to enjoy in the Eastern Cape

The famous Kowie Bridge is situated in Port Alfred.

The famous Kowie Bridge is situated in Port Alfred.

Historical landmarks, pristine beaches and wildlife, the Eastern Cape has it all. With the state of disaster being lifted and the number of public holidays in the month of April, it would be a good time to get away and the Eastern Cape could be just the place to be as it offers a wide variety of choices for travelers.

Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency CEO, Vuyani Dayimani says they have destinations for all seasons and weather.

“Where else in the world can you surf the world’s biggest waves, go on a big seven safari, visit the birth and resting place of Nelson Mandela and bungee jump off the highest bridge in the southern hemisphere and make a snowman in the Southern Hemisphere – only in the beautiful Eastern Cape a destination for all seasons.

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“We invite people to explore the Eastern Cape and taste our local hospitality and culture, vast natural, and historical experiences, endless coastal line, myriad of outdoor activities, adventure sports, urban life experiences spread across different regions and our unforgettable events. We look forward to welcoming visitors to our shores as I always say Eastern Cape is ours to explore,” says Vuyani.

Here are some the destinations that province has to offer:

Sunshine Coast

Travel through to Bathurst for a browse around the arts and craft shops and enjoy a lunch at a local eatery, The Pig and Whistle Inn. It is the oldest continuously licenced pub in the country, it has been operating since 1832 in Bathurst. It is also a South African National Monument.

Visit the Big Pineapple and then head through to Port Alfred or Kenton on Sea to enjoy a change of coastal and river scenery. About 40% of the pineapples consumed in South Africa are from that little town. Book a river cruise up the Kowie, Bushmans or Kariega River or just enjoy a walk along one of the blue flag beaches.  Both destinations have lovely curio shops to explore.


The Big Pineapple in Bathurst.


Travel through to Addo Elephant National Park and enjoy a self-guided game drive and enjoy a packed picnic lunch at one of the designated picnic spots or treat yourself to a lunch at the local main camp restaurant. Apart from the wild animals freely roaming around, Addo Elephant National Park also boasts viewing of floodlit waterhole and underground viewing, which are suitable for wheelchair users.

From there, you can head through to Port Elizabeth where you can enjoy marine safari with one of the licensed whale and dolphin watching operators and then in the afternoon take some time out to explore Route 67, a beach front Segway ride or enjoy some retail therapy, ten pin bowling, ice-skating an Imax movie or some craft beer tasting at Beershack, Richmond Hill Brewing Company or Bridgestreet Brewery ending of with another delectable dinner as a local eatery.


A baby elephant at Addo Elephant National Park.

Mountain Escape

Head through to Hogsback for an outdoor mountain escape.  You can visit the local arts and craft and chocolate shop, take a walk to the famous Madonna and Child or Kettle Spout waterfall, walk the Labyrinth at the Edge, visit the Dianna Graham Eco Shrine, hire a mountain bike and explore a forest trail, dine at one of the local eateries, enjoy a fireside dinner or just recharge your batteries in a beautiful garden surrounded by nature.  Overnight at any one of the local establishments that suits your budget, self catering options are available.


Labyrinth at the Edge at Hogsback.

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Areena and Chintsa breakaway

Over at Areena Riverside Resort you can book into the camp site or one of the chalets or rondavels.  Experience the double zipline, a quad bike game drive, a paddle in a canoe on the river or fishing from the banks of the river.  An onsite restaurant allows you to pack light otherwise enjoy a self-catered for braai and an evening under the stars.


What fun activity can you do in Chintsa? Segway

Port St Johns

Port St Johns has a variety of guest houses, backpacker lodges and bed and breakfast accommodation establishments.  Enjoy sundowners at the air strip where you can take in breathtaking views of the Umzimvubu River and the ocean. Visit the Silaka Nature Reserve and enjoy a beach and nature walk, visit the Isinuka Sulphur pools and experience the healing qualities of the mud.  Book a tour through one of the local establishments for a river cruise or a trip to see the nearby Magwa Falls.  Port St Johns is also a well known fishing destination so update your fishing license and pack your gear and try and hook a big one for an evening fish braai.


Silaka Nature Reserve in Port St Johns