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Explore desert, forest, mountain ranges and beach-lined coast, the varied natural landscapes of Eastern Cape, South Africa’s second-largest province. Nature is the province’s biggest draw, especially with the many opportunities to see Africa’s “Big Five” animals: elephant, buffalo, rhino, leopard and lion. Eastern Cape’s coastline also features some of South Africa’s largest cities.
Begin your exploration in Port Elizabeth, South Africa’s fifth-largest city. Located on a bay of the Eastern Cape’s Sunshine Coast, this beautiful span of well-developed sandy beaches is lined with resorts. Just west of Port Elizabeth is Jeffrey’s Bay, with Paradise Beach, widely considered to be the area’s best beach. Surf or dive off the coast amid colorful coral reefs.
While the Sunshine Coast is one of the most developed areas of the Eastern Cape, it offers easy access to wilder regions. Head along the northeast shore to reach the Wild Coast, which features grassy hills, cliffs and small rural villages along the Indian Ocean. Trek inland through the Addo Elephant National Park, to spot plentiful wildlife including over 600 elephants on a 440,000-acre (180,000-hectare) plot of grassland and mountains.
In the inland wilderness, find the Great Karoo, a vast desert that prevented early Cape Town settlers from moving into the interior of South Africa. Visit the Valley of Desolation, a picturesque desert valley crowned by the cone-topped Spandou Kop Mountain and striking 390-foot-tall (120-meter) rock formations. In the evening, enjoy some of South Africa’s best stargazing.
Eastern Cape encompasses an area long inhabited by the Xhosa people. Xhosa is the most widely spoken language in the province. While most tourist attractions feature resources for English speakers, it may be difficult to communicate with locals if you visit a rural village.
Fly into Port Elizabeth from any of South Africa’s major cities to begin your trip to the Eastern Cape. While rural, the province features a good network of roads and railways, so it is easy to get around once you arrive.
Located in Summerstrand, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Humewood Beach and Bayworld. Hobie Beach and King's Beach are also within 1 mi (2 km).
Situated in a rural location, this luxury lodge is 8.1 mi (13.1 km) from Shamwari Game Reserve and 11.3 mi (18.1 km) from Amakhala Game Reserve. Bushman Sands Golf Club and Lalibela Game Reserve are also within 16 mi (25 km).
Located in Pollok Beach, this spa hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Hobie Beach, Humewood Beach, and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. Bayworld and King's Beach are also within 3 mi (5 km).
Located in Summerstrand, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Humewood Beach and Bayworld. Hobie Beach and King's Beach are also within 1 mi (2 km).
Situated in the mountains, this country house is 5.2 mi (8.3 km) from Addo Elephant National Park and 5.8 mi (9.4 km) from Sir Percy Fitzpatrick Lookout. Kirkwood Golf Course and Matyholweni Gate are also within 32 mi (52 km).
Situated in a rural location, this spa hotel is 7.3 mi (11.8 km) from Big Tree and within 20 mi (32 km) of The Otter Hiking Trail and Dolphin Trail. Storms River Suspension Bridge and Tsitsikamma National Park are also within 20 mi (32 km).
Situated in Storms River, this bed & breakfast is 1.5 mi (2.5 km) from Big Tree and within 12 mi (20 km) of The Otter Hiking Trail and Dolphin Trail. Storms River Suspension Bridge and Tsitsikamma National Park are also within 12 mi (20 km).
Located in Summerstrand, this guesthouse is within a 15-minute walk of Hobie Beach and Humewood Beach. Bayworld and King's Beach are also within 2 mi (3 km).