Experience the natural beauty of the Eastern Cape

October 19, 2018

The Eastern Cape offers some of the most diverse landscapes and incredible scenery in South Africa.

Be prepared to be mesmerised by nature as you embark on an adventure through the Eastern Cape, which boasts mountain ranges extending from the semi-arid Karoo in the west (which becomes progressively wetter and temperate to the east) to a pristine coastline stretching over 800km.

Here are a few sightseeing suggestions for your next trip to the Eastern Cape:

Follow in the footsteps of giants at Addo Elephant National Park

Addo Elephant National Park is South Africa’s third-largest wildlife conservation park and is home to more than 600 elephants, 400 Cape buffalo and 48 endangered black rhinos.

Explore the park with an organised game drive or opt for a self-drive. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can also go on guided horse or 4x4 trails. And if you packed your hiking boots, you can traverse the outlying sections of the park by foot on either a one- or a three-hour trail.

In addition to keeping your eyes open for the elephants, buffalo and rhinos, look out for the park’s small packs of lion and hyena. These carnivores are generally seen in the early mornings or at sunset.

The Addo Elephant National Park has eight rest camps available for overnight accommodation, or enter the park as a day visitor if your time in the area is limited.

Sit atop Ben Macdhui, the highest peak in the province

Ben Macdhui (named after a Scottish mountain) is the highest mountain in the Eastern Cape and, at 3 000m, is also the highest pass in South Africa. The area in which it is situated is known as the Switzerland of South Africa, being home to the country’s only ski resort and due to the fact that snow can fall at any time of the year.

Drive up the mountain pass to enjoy panoramic views, and be sure to stop for a bite to eat or a few fun activities at Tiffindell Ski Resort. Tiffindell offers ski and snowboarding activities from May to September (plus one of the most advanced snowmaking systems in the world if real snow is scarce). During the summer months you can enjoy grass skiing, mountain biking, fly fishing and high-altitude hiking.

Another way to explore the mountaintop is by heading out on a five-day hiking trail that slowly winds its way up to the highest overnight hut in South Africa, aptly named Hooggenoeg (high enough). Learn more about the hiking trail here.

See nature in all its glory at Tsitsikamma in the Garden Route National Park

The Garden Route National Park follows an 80km stretch of coastline and features an almost untouched natural landscape. The Tsitsikamma section of the park is located in the heart of the Garden Route and is famous for its marine reserve, indigenous forests and dramatic coastline.

If you’re up for a challenge, hike the five-day Otter Trail, one of South Africa’s most beautiful and famous hiking trails. This 45km trail twists along the coastline, offering incredible views and abundant natural scenery.

If a leisurely visit to Tsitsikamma is what you’re after, you can enjoy several short trails, hop on the Spirit of Tsitsikamma boat to explore the marine reserve, or join a guided outing led by a local eco-guide to learn more about the area’s diverse vegetation.

How to get there

Mango Airlines flies to Port Elizabeth from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. In order to minimise your travel costs, Mango has partnered with a number of car hire services that you can add to your itinerary when booking online. Let your Eastern Cape road trip begin!

Learn more about our partner programmes here.

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