From lush tropical forests to uninhabited desert expanses, and from easy-going hammock time to adrenaline-pumping adventures, the Eastern Cape offers a wide range of topography and experiences. Compared with the more developed Western Cape, it can feel like a different country and provides opportunities to learn about Xhosa culture. Some of South Africa's finest hiking (and slackpacking) trails wind along the province's largely undeveloped coastline and through its mountainous, waterfall-filled landscapes.
Private wildlife reserves and national and regional parks abound: see the Big Five (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino) or migrating whales and dolphins. You’ll find tranquillity and culture in the towns of the semi-arid Karoo; the imposing Drakensberg peaks and little-known valleys in the Highlands; good surfing in the Indian Ocean, coupled with amazing cultural experiences on the Wild Coast; and history throughout, including the legacy of some famous local sons – Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Steve Biko.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Eastern Cape.
Whether it’s a guided tour of a historic landmark, private tasting of local delicacies, or an off-road adventure — explore the best experiences in Eastern Cape.