Eastern Cape Tourism – Become encapsulated in the history of a proud region and its people. The Eastern Cape has so much to offer the tourists. the Eastern Cape is the second largest province, accounting for 13,9% of the total area. Port Elizabeth, situated on Algoa Bay, is the largest city in the Eastern Cape and the seat of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality. The provincial capital, Bhisho, is located within the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, as are East London and King William’s Town. Other important towns in the Province include Mthatha, Uitenhage and Grahamstown.

The province is fast becoming a favorite safari destination with its malaria-free status being ideal for family holidays.

Visit the Eastern Cape Provincial Reserves page or Eastern Cape Private Reserves or maybe you would like to visit the Eastern Cape National Parks page.

Friendly N6

Make the Friendly N6 your companion as you embark on a scenic journey through the farming hub of the Eastern Cape into the Free State. Take in the endless mountains occasionally topped with a dollop of snow and lush veld often being feasted on by cattle. Eastern Cape Tourism through the mountains.

The N6 is a scenic route that runs between East London and Bloemfontein. Dubbed The Friendly N6, the road leads you through the pride of the Eastern Cape farmlands and small inland towns, covering mountainous terrain and over the Vaal River which separates the Eastern Cape and the Free State.

From the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, which is situated along the Indian Ocean, The N6 is scattered with villages decorated with traditional Xhosa mud huts. This scenery stretches from just outside East London until the first small town of Stutterheim which is followed by Cathcart. Stutterheim and Cathcart are well known as Eastern Cape’s arts and crafts hub. This Arts and Crafts attraction provides you with a barrage of gifts and souvenirs to choose from. A few kilometres north of Cathcart, Queenstown introduces you to first-hand insight into the ancient wars that were fought in the Eastern Cape through museums dotted along the route.

Further north, Lady Grey offers you exciting mountain bike trails along the often snow-topped mountainous landscape inherent to the area. You can also experience farm life in a buzzing Eastern Cape farming community by staying on one of the working farms in the area. This area is home to various sheep farms, as well as a network of artists with rich Xhosa and Basotho traditions.

Accommodation offerings along the N6 route include budget backpackers and luxury hotels with many game and nature reserves spread throughout the route. Offerings to visitors of the game farm include viewing of the “Big Five” as well as five star luxury accommodation and dining. With high mountain retreats, visitors can even ski on the snow covered slopes of Ben McDhui Mountain or go bundu-bashing on beaten 4×4 routes.

The high mountain passes that take visitors through the Friendly N6 are sometimes closed due to heavy snowfall during the winter months.

Highlights to Discover

4×4 Naude’s Nek Pass

Peaking at over 2,920m above sea level, Naude’s Nek Pass is the pinnacle of dirt roads in South Africa. Connecting Maclear to the historical Rhodes, this pass is based on the route taken by the valiant Naude brothers of the 1890s. Today the road is more usually, and recommended to be, travelled in the comfort of a 4×4 vehicle, yet still requires a Rambo-like effort to complete, particularly in winter when heavy snowfalls are common. It would help to seek local advice regarding weather and road conditions before attempting this spectacular pass. The route was pioneered by two brothers, Stephanus David Naude and Gabriel Naude, in 1896. According to the plaque at the monument that was erected by their descendents in 1967; these daredevils trailblazed the winding route on horseback. It was marked out and constructed using picks, spades and scotch-carts and was completed in 1911.

Visit www.samountainpasses.co.za for more information.

Hit the Slopes in Tiffendell

Tiffindell was born by avid skiers and run by passionate snow lovers since 1993. The resort has grown to become a true Alpine resort for all seasons.

Skiing at Tiffendell has no off- season. Visitors can ski at any time of the year – Tiffendell manufactures snow when the climate doesn’t produce any. Whether it’s a family holiday or a corporate visit, let Tiffindell introduce you to the world of snow (rated 19 in the CNN’s top 100 ski runs in the world).

Tiffendell also offers high altitude hiking, mountain biking, grass skiing, mountain boarding, photography, rock art, birding, some of SA’s best fly fishing, quad biking, and the famous “8 Passes” route for motorcyclists and 4×4’s.

As a Ski Resort it offers snow, ski lifts, a restaurant, ski shop and ski school offering three months of skiing and snowboarding during June, July and August. Non aspiring skiers join in to enjoy a unique experience, making snowmen, throwing snow balls or tobogganing, making it the perfect family holiday for young and old. Snowy days in the Eastern Cape aren’t uncommon and create great opportunities for snow skiers and snow boarders to enjoy the cold weather and slopes. Adventure skiers as well as amateurs will enjoy the slopes of the Southern Drakensberg and Hogsback areas during winter, with a ski resort situated close to Rhodes in the Eastern Cape.

To book your trip visit http://www.tiffindell.co.za/.

Flyfishing in Rhodes

Fly Fishing Fresh Waters…

The Rhodes, Barkly East area has amazing fly fishing opportunities on approximately 150km of pristine mountain steams available to anglers.  Many of the pristine rivers and streams originate 9000 – 10 000 ft above sea-level, freestone and rock-based highland streams.  Among the most popular are the Bell River, Kraai River, Bokspruit, Riflespruit, Sterkspruit, Kloppershoekspruit, Vloeikraalspruit and Langkloof River.

Visit www.wildtrout.co.za for information on your fly fishing trip.

Zipline Tsitsa Falls

Situated on the border of the former Transkei, are the amazing Tsitsa Falls. Born to a young dynamic couple with a passion, Tsitsa Falls offers an alternative lifestyle and the outdoors. There are a number of activities to get your pulse racing. The flying fox zip line runs across the Tsitsa Gorge, a 28m abseil down the waterfall; kayaking; kloofing; hiking; extreme fly fishing; and much more…

Visit Tsitsa Falls Backpackers for more information.

The Vultures Restaurant

The Vultures Restaurant is not your average restaurant. In fact, you will not find a dining table or waiter to serve you. The Vulture’s Restaurant is an attraction so called because the large beast can be spotted through a glass enclosure feeding on dead carcasses. The restaurant is situated at Tenahead Mountain Lodge, near Rhodes. Tenahead Mountain Lodge is situated on the breathtaking Drakensburg Mountain Range.

Visit www.riverhotels.co.za for more information.

Wild Coast Route

Wild Coast is a picturesque adventure. Just under 30 kilometres outside East London stretching past Port St. Johns, the Wild Coast boasts the rendezvous of fauna, flora and the Indian Ocean. As it takes you through the former Transkei Region, this route offers various hiking, camping and aquatic experiences await you, while the local crafts markets make for immaculate souvenirs…

Look no further than Port St Johns, the jewel of the Wild Coast, if you wish to become one with nature. Surrounded by towering cliffs, covered in dense indigenous forest with beautiful beaches stretching to the north and south, Port St Johns is a relaxed town with sub-tropical weather making it a year round Wild Coast destination.

With the Wild Coast Sun & Casino near Port Edward providing a fun, family focused, home-away-from-home gaming destination; the Wild Coast has emerged as one of the preferred golfing destinations in South Africa. A variety of other outdoor activities are available indulge in. The area also boasts two nature reserves, Hluleka and Mkhambati which welcomes guests with affordable accommodation, game viewing, bird watching, whale viewing and fishing activities.

Scattered along the coastal route are the villages of Coffee Bay and Hole-In-The-Wall. The homely lodges and bars, excellent fishing and breath-taking hikes culminate in a beachcomber’s dream. Explore the region by helicopter or canoe, take a boat trip to view the whales or watch the dolphins in the surf while you fish, the Wild Coast will take your breath away.

High cliffs and distinctly round, thatched traditional huts define the inland area. Many of South Africa’s political leaders hail from Mthatha where you can visit the beautiful Lucha nature reserve, Mthatha Dam, the Tutor Ndamase Pass and the Langeni Pass.

Linking the Wild Coast and the Sunshine Coast is the Jikeleza Route, often labelled the tame area of the Wild Coast. Made up of a cluster of more than 50 tourism attractions, this fast growing popular scenic coastal tourism route offers over 28 unique accommodation establishments ranging from five star luxury boutique hotels to South Africa’s best rated backpackers. Only 30km away from East London’s airport, this mild-to-wild bush-to-beach route is perfect for the adrenaline junkie or for those wanting to escape from the beaten.


Highlights to Discover

Hole in the Wall

Did you know? The Wild Coast is one of the few places you’ll see cattle chewing the cud on the beach.

The Hole in the Wall is a rocky archway set just off the Wild Coast, south of Coffee Bay in the Eastern Cape. The little holiday village close by shares the same name. This landmark was created millions of years ago through the restless action of waves against sandstone and shale.

Set along the shoreline overlooking the rocky formation that gave the tiny holiday village its name, this Wild Coast settlement south of Coffee Bay attracts beach lovers and anglers in equal numbers.

The instantly recognisable rock formation is made up of Ecca shale and sandstone, capped with hard volcanic dolerite. It stands before the mouth of the Mpako River and is the source of many legends. In the IsiXhosa language, this area is called esiKhaleni, which means ‘the place of sound’. Some say it’s because, under certain conditions, the waves slap the rocks with a resounding cracking sound, while it roars during storms.

Others say it refers to a Xhosa legend involving a young maiden who fell in love with one of the mythical ‘sea people’. Such was the love of this sea person for the maiden that he and his people rammed a hole in the side of a lagoon wall with the help of a huge fish so they could reach her; she was never heard from again. In this version, it’s the voices and singing of the sea people that give the name esiKhaleni.

Either way, Hole in the Wall is one of the landmarks of the Wild Coast.

Geologists say that the cliff walls were once joined to the land. Continuous wave action against the softer sandstone rocks wore them away. The same happened to the more vulnerable shale and sandstone under the hard dolerite, creating the archway.

Locals also believe this is a gateway to the world of their ancestors.

Nelson Mandela Museum

The Transkei is the esteemed birth place to many leaders of the Apartheid Revolution – the most recognised of them being Nelson Mandela. It is fitting that along the splendid Wild Coast, a Nelson Mandela Museum, endorsed by the icon himself, adds a rich experience of heritage to your to-do list.

Visit www.nelsonmandelamuseum.org.za for more information on the museum.

Take a walk on the wild side

With trail routes you absolutely have to experience, accommodation is available along the routes to ensure that you pace your hikes and not miss out on the beautiful scenery along the way.

Visit www.wildcoastwalk.co.za/ for more information.

A Chintsa East Horseride on Beach

‘People who say there is no heaven on earth have clearly never been on a horse.’

Wonderful beaches and bush trails of the Wild Coast are best explored on the back of a horse in Chinsta.

Chintsa Horses
Georgie Dickerson
+27 (0)43 738 5141


Covering the entire length of the Eastern Cape region stretching across a number of districts, the Coastal Route is renowned for its great beaches, malaria-free parks and reserves, diverse wildlife and proud heritage and culture. The Coastal Route begins at the Tsitsikamma area and runs along the Sunshine Coast, including the Addo Elephant National Park, Amatola Mountains and the unspoilt beaches of the Wild Coast.

Activities in this diverse area range from mild day hikes and beach visits to extreme action sports such as bungy jumping at the world’s highest commercial bungy jump in the Tsitsikamma, as well as the discovery of the Xhosa culture and ancient rock art. Sand dune enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to the world’s largest shifting dune field in the Southern Hemisphere, nominated for a listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Grahamstown is the country’s festival capital and home to more than 70 heritage sites. Experience the Xhosa cultural hub in the Wild Coast area, and surrounding game reserves found along the coast and inland.

Surfing enthusiasts will enjoy the biggest right hand surf break in Jeffreys Bay, while Port Elizabeth is a water-sport paradise offering visitors a wide range of coastal and marine recreational experiences. As the water sport capital of South Africa, Port Elizabeth also boasts six blue flag beaches.

The Coastal Route is divided into a number of eight sub-routes, all with their own unique characteristics and features, with the airports at Port Elizabeth and East London providing visitors with easy access to the well-developed road network in the area. This route is designed to appeal to both self-drive and group tourists looking for an authentic and memorable experience in the heart of the Eastern Cape.


Amathole, meaning ‘the calves of the Drakensberg’ (foothills) in isiXhosa, reflects a rural lifestyle where the Xhosa communities continue to take their Nguni cattle out into the veld. The Amathole Mountain Escape Route stretches from Hogsback in the north, to the Great Fish River in the south and the Dwesa/Cwebe Nature Reserve in the east.

Experience the Ubuntu spirit of the Amathole region and celebrate the rich culture and history of the area.

Known for its variety of fauna and flora, primal indigenous forests, clear-water mountain streams and magnificent waterfalls, activity highlights in the area include bird watching, fly-fishing, mountain biking and hiking. The six day Amathole hiking trail is ranked one of the best hiking routes in South Africa.

The main attractions of the area are the densely forested Amatola Mountains, famous for its panoramic views. The popular village of Hogsback lies at the summit of the Mountain pass. It is believed, the famous author J.R.R. Tolkien of the Lord of the Rings triology, found his inspiration to create his fantasy universe, Middle Earth, in the magical Hogsback surroundings.

Steve Biko, Black Consciousness Movement hero, was born in the Ginsberg Township near King William’s Town. The Steve Biko Centre, located close to Biko’s home in Ginsberg, pays tribute to the life of the anti-apartheid activists.

Established in 1916, the University of Fort Hare, with its main campus in Alice, was the first black university in South Africa, with alumni including Nelson Mandela, Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Thabo Mbeki.

Highlights to discover:

Mdantsane Township Tour

Three reasons to go on a township tour

  • Experience the day-to day life of the second largest Township in South Africa.
  • Mdantsane, also known as the ‘Boxing Mecca of South Africa’, is home to boxing world champions like Happyboy Mgxaji, Welcome Ncita and Vuyani Bungu.
  • Taste Umqombhothi, home-brewed African beer and get to know the locals in a tavern while listening to live music.


Imonti Tours offer guided tours. Contact Velile on 083 487 8975 or info@imontitours.co.za for bookings.

Stutterheim Stationary Engine Museum

Established in 1995, the Stutterheim Enginge Museum displays 120 engines from 1903 to 1990. It is believed to have one of the largest collections of restored stationary engines in the world. Visit the museum to learn about the development and advancement of engines as well as the history the engines on display.

Visiting hours: 8am – 4pm Mondays to Fridays; except public holidays. Technical staff is present and available on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

Lister Lane, Stutterheim

Tel. 043 683 1507

Cultural Village (Cata)

Learn to speak isiXhosa – on a week-long home stay with a traditional Xhosa family.

Visit the Cata Cultural Village to discover the culture of the warm and hospitable Xhosa people. Take a sneak peek into their traditional way of life through their cuisine, customs, rituals, songs and dance.

The Cata Chalets, 120km from East London, offer overnight accommodation, inviting tourists to unwind, relax and simply be. The scenic area is perfect for mountain biking, bird watching and hiking.

Visit www.cata.org.za for more information.

Steve Biko Museum in Ginsberg, King William’s Town

“It is better to die for an idea that will live, than to live for an idea that will die.” – Steve Biko

Steve Bantu Biko, was an anti-apartheid activist in the 1960s and 1970s. Biko founded the Black Consciousness Movement which empowered and mobilised the urban black population. At the age of 30, he died while in police custody but his slogan “black is beautiful” is still well known today.

The Steve Biko Museum in Ginsberg, near King William’s Town, pays tribute to the Black Consciousness Movement activists.

For bookings and more information contact the Steve Biko Centre

Tel: 043 605 6700              Fax: 043 605 6710             Email: tourism@sbf.org.za

Centre Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 09:00 to 17:00; Weekends by appointment

Hogsback – Christmas in July

The little village of Hogsback, surrounded by scenic mountains, is often covered by a blanket of snow during winter.

The quirky people of Hogsback annually celebrate Christmas in July, with:

Ox wagon rides •Live music and entertainment – well known performers • Genuine Crafters • Celebrity food demo • Workshops • Children’s entertainment – circus etc • Port and muscadel tasting • Exhibitions – art and otherwise • Food glorious food • Bikers breakfast (charity effect – for Hobbiton) • Famous once a year Kings Lodge CHiLL Dip (for the thick skinned and very brave) • Trail run • Interdenominational
thanksgiving service • Etc etc • Amazing shuttle service – our community effort at going green- free. Save your car … hop on – hop off.

For more information contact the Hogsback Tourism Centre at 045 9621 245.

Eastern Cape Tourism

Eastern Cape Tourism has so much to offer. The weather in the Eastern Cape is good to visitors, rarely reaching extremes, except perhaps in the height of the Karoo summer. The coastal area of the Eastern Cape Province lies directly between subtropical KwaZulu Natal and the Mediterranean Western Cape. Its inland area is bisected by the great escarpment, and the northern areas have altitudinous plains of the Plateau and great Karoo. These topographical differences are what cause the climatic differences and conditions experienced by the various towns and cities.

eastern cape tourism

In the North East along the Wild Coast, towns like Port St Johns experience long, hot, balmy conditions and high rainfall, while Graaff Reinet, in the heart of the Karoo Heartland, experiences long hot summer months and moderate winters. Up towards the Free State (at towns such as Lady Grey and Aliwal North) the rise in altitude means the appropriate lowering in temperature and sometimes snow.

Start planing your trip to the Eastern Cape,  Eastern Cape tourism attractions and destinations and things to do.

World’s most unique game experience Daring, Spirited, Rejuvenated and Raw Natural game country.
Unpretentious Value for money, Ubuntu, Caring and wholesome.
Discovery Wonder. Unexplored, ‘secret’ places. The challenge and joy of discovery
Largest variety of landscapes on view Spectacular places, Abundant natural attractions and People having fun in nature.

There are NINE REGIONS within the Eastern Cape.

  1. Tsitsikamma Adventure Route.
  2. The Kouga Route stretches from the Tsitsikamma River to the Van Stadens River.
  3. Sunshine coast route explores the spectacular strip of coastline between Port Elizabeth and East London.
  4. Sundays River Valley and stretching from the Karoo region north of the Zuurberg Mountain Range to the coast and islands of Algoa Bay of South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province, is the heartbeat of the Greater Addo area.
  5. The Karoo Heartland’s rugged and intense beauty is dominated by vast, flat plains, rocky mountains, and the biggest assortment of succulents in the world.
  6. The N6 motorway links Bloemfontein, capital of the Free State, with East London. It passes through open, rural countryside where sheep, cattle and goats graze, as well as past Anglo-Boer War battlefields and many small villages and towns.
  7. Frontier Country Route traverses the area that was the scene of nine Frontier Wars between the British and the Xhosa and the meeting place of five great cultures, San, Khoi-Khoi, Dutch, Xhosa and British.
  8. Amathole Mountain Escape  route stretches from Adelaide in the west to Stutterheim in the east, with the majestic Amatola Mountains standing as a clear beacon on the horizon.
  9. The Wild Coast is one of South Africa’s most remote stretches of shoreline.


Whether you’re in the mood for an informal seaside escape, an encounter with the “Big Seven” on safari, or an adrenaline rush, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for in the Eastern Cape.

Scenic diversity is one of the most striking characteristics of the region, ranging from the lush, evergreen Tsitsikamma Forest to the rugged Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area, the southern slopes of the Drakensberg and the arid Great Karoo. Alternating between sweeping sand, river mouths and rocks, the 800 kilometer coastline is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. Among them, surfers ride the perfect waves, anglers reel in king-size catches, and board sailors revel in the challenge of the wind. Sunshine all year round, fine leisure resorts and splendid facilities ensure that the great outdoors is always in style.

When pleasures of a more sophisticated kind appeal, you’ll find plenty to entertain you in Port Elizabeth and East London. Both are ideal for family holidays, large enough to offer all the amenities of a city, yet small enough to be genuinely welcoming and friendly. They also provide convenient access to unspoiled areas of exceptional natural beauty. There are a number of experiences on offer within the nine tourism regions of the Eastern Cape.


There is nothing quite like the African bush, and no better place to view wildlife than in the Eastern Cape. Besides being home to four national parks the Eastern Cape boasts a range of private and provincial reserves, all offering excellent wildlife and bird watching. The province is fast becoming a favorite safari destination with its malaria-free status being ideal for family holidays. Another plus is the Addo Elephant National Park which is constantly being enlarged and extends over a huge range of biomes, from marine to mountain thus offering a Big 7 experience and unsurpassed elephant viewing.


The Eastern Cape offers visitors unique adventure experiences. The Eastern Cape is The Adventure Province and whilst the word may conjure up images of daring and dangerous pursuits there are a number of tame experiences on offer whilst also catering for the Adrenaline Junkies. Activities range from wildlife safaris to zipline excursions, from hiking incredible country side to beach horse rides or gentle nature walks.


As the birthplace of Xhosa traditions, the Eastern Cape is rich in vibrant cultural history, offering visitors a friendly look into the heart of the local community.

Township tours and village experiences offer visitors an experience unlike any other, exploring traditional restaurants and shebeens in village life. With its diverse demographics, the area offers visitors a range of activities in the cultural arena including visits to art museums, theatres and craft programmes. Local artists exhibit their wares at a number of festivals and shows held annually within the area. The Grahamstown National Arts Festival is the biggest arts festival in Africa and is held during July each year.

Mutually beneficial partnerships between public, corporate and cultural sectors focus on the sustainable growth and development of the culture, arts and heritage in South Africa.


The Eastern Cape coastline offers 800 kilometers of terrain to explore taking in the rugged and adventurous region of the Tsitsikamma, the surf loving Kouga region, the gentle sandy Sunshine Coast and the no need to explain Wild Coast.

Activities and events range from slack packing trails, deep sea fishing, beach horse rides, quad biking, wildlife safaris, sardine run and iron man events to lazing in the sun and enjoying sundowners at amazing view points. The warm waters of the Indian Ocean wash against the shore line providing visitors with all year round experiences.


If you are looking for a family getaway or are taking time out from your studies then the Eastern Cape should be your destination of choice.

With Sports Tours, Volunteering, Gap Year Programs, Beach and Bush destinations, City Breaks, Culture, History, Adventure, Family Safaris and Nature based activities the Eastern Cape has something to suit all age groups.

6 St Marks Road, Southernwood, East London
Tel: +27 (0) 43 705 4400


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