The Eastern Cape is the second largest of South Africa's provinces, and has the greatest diversity of environments, cultural attractions and outdoor activities.
Once considered the frontier between the British colony at the Cape and the wilds of "Kaffraria" - the land of the Xhosa people - it was the scene of many bloody battles. This conflict continued and in the 1980s this province contributed more than its fair share of martyrs to the freedom struggle.
The capital of the province is Bisho, but the most economically important cities are Port Elizabeth and East London. As a traveller, the urban areas most worth visiting are Port Elizabeth, with its wonderful beaches, great cultural attractions and excellent hotels, and the smaller centres of Grahamstown, Graaff Reinet and Cradock for their lovely old buildings and interesting museums.
Port Elizabeth is the third largest port and fifth largest city in South Africa. Located on the shores of Algoa Bay, called Bahia de Lagoa (bay of the lagoon) by the Portuguese because of the small lagoon situated at the mouth of the Swartskop River. Port Elizabeth was founded in 1799 when British built Ford Fredrick on a low rise overlooking the bay.
Grahamstown is probably South Africa's most intellectual city, with Rhodes University, many of the country's top schools and a whole host of academically oriented museums. It is also the home of the National Arts Festival.
The region boasts the world's highest bungee jump and is considered South Africa's watersport mecca with activities such as diving, skiing, windsurfing and sailing. Jeffreys Bay is world-renowned for it perfect waves and host to the Billabong Surf Classic.
Miles of golden beaches and spectacular marine life, malaria free game viewing, world famous hiking trails through subtropical forests, millions of hectares of Nature Reserves and national parks.
Elephants occurred historically throughout the Cape colony, but as the land was apportioned into farms, their numbers declined rapidly. In 1931 a 6 852 ha tract of bush was set aside as the Addo Elephant National Park, since then additional land was purchased and Addo has now linked with Zuurberg National Park. The Addo Park supports more than 200 elephants and a huge variety of game.
- Ford Fredrick First stone building in the Eastern Cape and reputedly the first British building put up in Africa south of the equator.
- The Campanile A 52 m square bell-tower, build in 1923 to commemorate the landing of the 1820 settlers
- The Opera House The oldest functional opera house in the country and the only extant specimen of a theatre build in Victorian times.
- Miles of golden beaches and spectacular marine life, malaria free game viewing.
- More details info will be found at Eastern Cape Tourism Board.
Palm Square Business Park
Iron Wood House
Bonza Bay Road
P O Box 18373, Quigney,
East London, South Africa
Tel: +27(0)43 701 9600
Fax: +27(0)43 701 9649