Eastern Cape

Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape is the ultimate backpacker destination for the adventurous traveller seeking unmatched natural and cultural diversity. Here you'll find unspoiled beaches with legendary waves, majestic mountain hideaways where hobbits lurk, stark Karoo landscapes that hide ancient rock art and the country's friendliest cities. Welcome to Mandela's homeland, it's time to travel!

   CAPITAL Bisho
   OTHER CITIES East London, Port Elizabeth, Mthatha
   AREA 13.9% of the country
   POPULATION 15.5% of the country at 6.6 million
  LANGUAGES Xhosa, Afrikaans, English

Not to be missed

  • Addo Elephant Park
  • Jeffreys Bay for excellent surfing
  • Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthatha
  • National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in June
  • The Owl House in Nieu Bethesda
  • The Wild Coast for rural coastline


Amatola Mountain Escape

The majestic, mysterious Amatola mountains set the scene for one of the Eastern Cape's most dramatic tourist routes. High, clear mountain air, thick blankets of snow in winter and summer's warm, sunny days - the Amatola Mountain Escape is a great destination at every time of year. Hogsback is a beautiful village nestled in the mountains.

Towns in this destination: Hogsback 

Wild Coast

An almost untouched paradise, a true African coastline - the Wild coast is an unbelievable experience. Rocky and untamed, the wild coast is the pearl of the Eastern Cape with countless attractions and a rich cultural heritage. Explore the age old traditions of the local Xhosa people, visit the home of Nelson Mandela (at Qunu) and learn about his extraordinary life.

Towns in this destination: Chintsa , Coffee Bay , Bulungula , Mdumbi , Mpande, Mthatha, Port St. Johns

Frontier country

This region's name comes from its turbulent history as it was the scene of nine Frontier Wars between the British and the Xhosa in the 19th Century. Today it provides a mixture of attractions varying from old forts and battlefields, museums and monuments, abundant wildlife and outdoor adventures in ethnic villages. Grahamstown is the home of South Africa's premier Arts festival held in July.

Towns in this destination: Grahamstown  

Karoo Heartland

A vast central plateau of South Africa, a land of wide open spaces "where the earth meets the sky". As an eco-tourism destination, the Karoo offers a diversity of scenery, fauna, flora, history and (sometimes quirky) culture. San (bushman) paintings can be viewed at various cave sites. The eclectic town of Nieu Bethesda is home to the Owl House - a collection of outsider art in cement and glass.

Towns in this destination: Nieu Bethesda

Sunshine Coast

This route stretches along a spectacular strip of coastline, rivers, resorts and to the gateway city of Port Elizabeth - the province's largest city. This coast is a playground for all watersports, fine wildlife viewing, a variety of trails and outdoor adventure activities.

Towns in this destination: East London , Jeffreys Bay , Port Elizabeth , Addo