This is the Home of the amaXhosa people; Where Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela was born. It is 500km of coastline with pristine beaches and coastal dunes and sunny weather in which to enjoy them, appropriately named the ‘Sunshine Coast’. For a refreshing diversion from main route travelling in South Africa, head inland to the Eastern Cape interior. It’s filled with undiscovered jewels and quirkier attractions.
What to see and do
“Bruces Beauties” in Cape St. Francis was immortalised in the cult surf movie “Endless Summer”. Jeffreys Bay’s Boneyards, Supertubes and Kitchen Window are all entrenched in surfing lore. East London also has popular surf spots at Main Beach and Nahoon.
Seaview Lion Park (25km outside PE)
You get to pet lion cubs while they’re still cute and not too scary.
Addo Elephant Park
Addo has over 450 elephants, lions, Cape buffalo, black rhino, leopard and a variety of antelope species. Also look out for meerkats and dung beetles.
The Owl House
Helen Martins, an outsider in the little town of Nieu Bethesda, found her joy by taking the mundane and turning it into art. She used cement, bright paint and crushed glass to create fantastical figures around her house.
Valley of Desolation
Starkly eroded dolomite pillars found in the Camdeboo National Park.
Eastern Cape Backpacker Tours
The Addo Elephant National Park was originally proclaimed in 1931 when there were only 11 elephants remaining in the area. It is in the Sundays River Valley, renowned for it's roses and citrus. Today Addo has over 450 elephants who are mad about oranges and will pry your car like a tin opener if they smell one, Cape buffalo, black rhino, leopard and a variety of antelope species With lions also having been reintroduced. This beautiful National Park has great natural diversity, with five of South Africa's seven major vegetation zones (biomes). It is also, a birdwatchers paradise.
Backpacker Accommodation in Addo
It is said that when English colonialists first set foot in “Port Rex” they thought it looked so much like their beloved East London back in England, that they re-named it, East London. Of course today the two places look nothing alike, I know becouse I have been to East London and I have lived in East London it's a bit like comparing cheese and aloe really .
The only Port in South Africa, East London is home to Daimler the manufacturer of Mercedes Benz. Nahoon Reef is popular amongst the surfers and the esplanade provides adequate information for visitors with the tourist office right on the beach front.
Backpacker Accommodation in East London
To most South Africans Grahamstown translates to FESTIVAL. The Grahamstown Arts festival is the country’s biggest festival held annually in July. This “city of saints” so named for the many churches around it, is saved from being another dreary dry dorpie(little town), by the many students who populate it from the Rhodes University. As a result it is full of character, colour and energy. It forms part of what is known as the frontier country in South Africa, which has such an intense history that it has more forts than the rest of South Africa combined.
Backpacker Accommodation in Grahamstown
This place is truly enchanted, you’ll find it nestled on the slopes of the Amatola Mountains. It is full of beautiful secrets in its many Forests, Mountains and waterfalls which you come across along the hiking routes of Hogsback where your senses will be regenerated and fully woken up. The forests have trees so big, so old, so wise looking, alive and stunning you start conversing with them to see if they have any wisdom to pass on to you, and in Hogsback this is perfectly acceptable behavior. It has also been rumoured to be one of the places that inspired JRR Tolkiens mythical forest Mirkwood. In case you have no idea he’s the dude who wrote The Lord of the Rings. Yeah, I know shocking, I also thought it was a Steven Spielberg original!
Backpacker Accommodation in Hogsback
Jeffreys Bay, or J-Bay as the locals call it, is the centre of the winter surfing season in South Africa. Boneyards, Super Tubes, and Kitchen Window are waves that are firmly entrenched in surfing lore. Super Tubes is the holy grail for visiting surfers in J-Bay.
Jeffreys Bay appeals to surfers, wannabe surfers, beach bunnies, shell collectors and shopaholics. The brand name surf shops give great discounts, so even if you are not a surfer, you can at least fit in by looking like one. The beach is beautiful; you walk on it for miles, collecting shells along the way if you choose.
Backpacker Accommodation in Jeffreys Bay
This place is rich in early South African history, there are rock paintings of the San, last seen here in 1873 (the San people not the rocks), sites where rebellion took place between the amaXhosa and British rule, that wanted the amaMpondomise, a sub clan of the amaXhosa people, to pay a hut tax! (cheeky) Situated in the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg, Maclear has yet to be discovered by many tourists. The attractions include rolling hills, waterfalls, gorges, indigenous forest and San rock art.
Backpacker Accommodation in Maclear
A small town that might make you believe you have gone back in time by about 130 years. Nieu Bethesda used to sustain itself through farming and agriculture; today it is the arts that drive it. It is filled with craft shops and galleries, potteries and sculpture gardens - most famously, the late Helen Martins' extraordinary "Owl House". The fertile valley of the Sneeurberg Mountains, the babbling water furrows, the lucid light and rich animal life, both in the sky and on land have made it popular with artists. You will find a tender and peaceful pace of life in this small town, and the nature that surrounds you, means you are never bored if you want a bit of action.
Backpacker Accommodation in Nieu Bethesda
On the mouth of the Kowie River, Port Alfred has long sandy beaches and giant sand dunes. The town, with its marina and yacht harbour, is great for water sports. Whale watching and dolphin sightings are also prevalent on its beaches.
Backpacker Accommodation in Port Alfred
Port Elizabeth, or PE, is known as 'The Friendly City'. Its population of over a million have good reason to be happy. They enjoy mild weather and scattered rain throughout the year.This, together with 40km of white sandy beach and calm, warm water make PE ideal for year-long watersports. Wind-surfing, diving, angling, surfing and sandboarding are popular pastimes. Humewood and Summerstrand beaches are close to the city centre.
There is plenty to do in PE. The city is packed with museums, Victorian mansions, shopping malls and flea markets. Settler's Park in the city centre and the Oceanarium will bring you closer to nature.
Alternatively, do a morning or night game drive to the Addo Elephant Park or Shamwari Game Reserve for a chance to spot the Big 5 in their natural surroundings.
Backpacker Accommodation in Port Elizabeth
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