The Eastern Cape is home to a variety of incredibly beautiful natural highlights, as well as having a palpable sense of tradition and culture. With a stunning 800km coastline lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, the provincial borders stretch from the Tsitsikamma National Park in the south to Port Edward in the north, making it the second-largest of the nine provinces.
This region is well-known for excellent tourist attractions and accommodation establishments. From the dry Karoo to the lush Wild Coast there are many highlights to be found in the province. Some of these include the Tsitsikamma National Park, the fertile Langkloof and the magnificent mountains of the southern Drakensberg. Its greatest natural asset however, is the magnificent coastline – the Wild Coast. Here you will find long stretches of undisturbed white sandy beaches, gorgeous river mouths, lagoons and dramatic cliffs. The Eastern Cape is known for its surfing culture, and it is said that Jeffreys Bay is home to the world’s most "perfect wave"! Further inland, the game parks and reserves such as the Addo Elephant National Park are great areas to escape into the bush and enjoy the calmness of "untouched" Africa.
A highlight of the region is the traditional Xhosa people who warmly welcome tourists to experience their hospitality, culture and tradition. Former South African president and icon of peace, Nelson Mandela, is a descendant of the Xhosa royal family, and today many members of parliament are Xhosa-speaking.
The Frontier Country Route meanders along what could be considered South Africa's most historically important area, and arts and culture enthusiasts can enjoy many highlights including the annual Grahamstown Arts Festival and the many galleries and museums found in most towns along the Route.
Major cities and towns include Port Elizabeth, East London, Mthatha and Bhisho, and there is a strong industrial sector found in the cities, based mainly on manufacturing. The Eastern Cape is the centre of South Africa's automotive industry. The coastline has created harbours at Port Elizabeth and East London, and together with three airports and good rail links, the manufactured goods can be exported to other locales with ease. Other economic activities include agriculture, fishing and forestry, with tourism also playing an important role.
Visitors to the Eastern Cape will be rewarded with inimitable friendliness and some awe-inspiring sights.
PRINCIPAL LANGUAGES: isiXhosa; Afrikaans; English
POPULATION: Approximately 6.58 million
AREA: 169,580 sq km