These are the Attractions in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province are awe-inspiringly diverse and, in places, delightfully undeveloped. In the winter, snow falls on its distinctive mountain peaks, and in the summer, its sparkling coastline attracts throngs of surfers, swimmers, and sunbathers.
From the sea to the inland desert, the scenery in the Eastern Cape is breathtaking. And there’s so much to do: from ancient forests and gaping valleys to craggy sea cliffs and the lush coastline stretching from the Garden Route National Park’s Tsitsikamma section to the subtropical Wild Coast, there’s something for everyone.
Inland, Grahamstown’s rolling hills are known as Settler Country, after the British migrants who settled these ancestral Xhosa lands in the early 1800s. The wildlife in the national parks and private game reserves is breathtaking, including the rare Cape mountain zebra, white lions, and rhinos. One of South Africa’s most revered routes, the Garden Route scenic drive, allows visitors to explore a portion of the Eastern Cape’s coastline.
With our list of the top attractions in the Eastern Cape. You can discover the best places Tourist Attractions in the Eastern Cape and you can simply book a South Africa trip or in Botswana. Live your best life today.
Eastern Cape Attractions | The Valley of Sorrow
The Valley of Desolation, located in Camdeboo National Park, which surrounds the town of Graaff-Reinet, is one of the most striking natural features on the Eastern Cape. The access road climbs to 1,500 metres and ends at a parking area with well-kept footpaths leading to panoramic viewpoints along the cliff face.
As the changing light plays on the sweeping landscapes, visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and the towering dolomite rock pillars. To the south are the Great Karoo semi-desert landscapes, to the east are Graaff-Reinet, and to the north are the Sneeuberg Mountains.
Visit at sunrise or sunset for the best photos, when the deep, golden light imbues the landscapes with a honey glow. The wildlife in the park is diverse and abundant. Visitors can see a variety of bird species as well as mammals such as the Cape buffalo, kudu, springbok, and bat-eared fox.
Graaff-Reinet, a nearby town, is also worth a visit for its restored Karoo-style homes and historic buildings. Reinet House, a former Cape Dutch parsonage turned museum, has a large collection of 18th- and 19th-century furniture and farming equipment, as well as a First World War doll collection.
Eastern Cape Attractions | The Wild Coast Hole in the Wall
The Wild Coast of South Africa, which stretches north of East London, is a land of breathtaking beauty. From the Mtamvuna River in the north to the Great Kei River in the south, this untamed wilderness features craggy sea cliffs, wind-whipped beaches, subtropical forests, and hills cloaked in golden grass.
The Wild Coast is the ancestral home of the Xhosa people, as well as other tribes whose villages dot the landscape. The Wild Coast was part of the Transkei, one of four apartheid-era territories declared independent from South Africa, until it merged with the Eastern Cape province in 1994.
A 4WD vehicle is the best way to explore this rugged and remote region. Visitors who are more adventurous can also hike along walking trails connecting local villages or explore the area on horseback. Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve and the Hole in the Wall are both popular. Both are tourist attractions in the area, a natural arch carved by thrashing surf.
Many visitors stay in towns such as Coffee Bay, Port St. Johns, and Morgan Bay before venturing out into the surrounding wilderness for outdoor activities such as ocean and river fishing, diving and snorkelling along the reefs and shipwrecks, and wildlife watching in the numerous nature reserves. Birding is also excellent in the area, with over 320 species recorded.
The Addo Elephant National Park
Addo Elephant National Park is South Africa’s third largest national park, located 72 kilometres north of Port Elizabeth. It was founded in 1931 with the goal of saving the last 11 South African bush elephants from extinction. It now houses over 600 elephants as well as a variety of other fascinating creatures.
The park extends from the Karoo to the coast. Offshore islands that are important breeding grounds for Cape gannets and African penguins are also included. The park’s claim to fame is that it is the world’s only national park that protects the Big 7–the Big 5 (elephant, rhinoceros, Cape buffalo, lion, and leopard) as well as the great white shark and southern right whale.
There are also zebras, antelope, an impressive array of birds, and nocturnal animals such as porcupines, anteaters, and bush pigs. Horseback riding and hiking trails, as well as guided day and nighttime game drives, are available to visitors.
Day visitors are welcome to explore the wilderness on their own or join a guided tour. Overnight visitors can stay in cottages, chalets, or campsites.
Eastern Cape Attractions | Storms River Suspended Bridge
The Storms River Suspension Bridge is one of Tsitsikamma National Park’s most popular attractions. A stunning coastal reserve that has been incorporated into the Garden Route National Park. It runs for 200 kilometres from the Eastern Cape to the Western Cape.
The 77-meter-long bridge spans the Storms River mouth’s foaming, froth-topped waters. As it merges with the Indian Ocean, it swirls and splashes less than seven metres beneath the bridge. Visitors who stand on the bridge have the impression that they are floating above the raging sea.
Visitors must hike 900 metres through beautiful bird-rich forests with waterfalls to reach the bridge. There are also numerous lookout points from which to take in the scenery. Two smaller suspension bridges lead hikers back to the path for the return journey. Hikers can refuel at the nearby lodge restaurant after the rewarding 30-minute walk each way.
Eastern Cape Attractions | Mountain Zebra National Park
Mountain Zebra National Park offers nature enthusiasts the chance to see a diverse range of wildlife. The breathtaking mountain scenery serves as a backdrop. The park was founded in 1937 to protect the Cape mountain zebra. Is about 24 kilometres southwest of Cradock on the northern slopes of the Bankberg range, with peaks reaching 2,000 metres.
Springbok, kudus, caracals, jackals, cheetahs, lions, Cape buffalo, black rhinos, and numerous bird species live in the park. A healthy population of Cape mountain zebras, which are smaller than their common counterparts, is also present. Visitors who are fortunate enough to see the shy aardwolf may also see it.
The sweeping grasslands and arid and rocky landscapes are dotted with wild olives, sumac, and thorny acacias. Views of grazing wildlife can be seen along the driving route. Visitors can also see San (Bushman) paintings from around 300 years ago. Other activities include swimming in the park’s pools, hiking the nature trails, and exploring the 4WD tracks.
Guests are also welcome to tour the park in their own two-wheel drive vehicles. A guest house, family chalets, and campsites are available, all of which have access to a shop and an a la carte restaurant.
Eastern Cape Attractions | Jeffreys Bay Surfer
Jeffreys Bay, about 77 kilometres southwest of Port Elizabeth, is one of the best surfing spots in the world. The beach is especially well-known for its fantastic right-hand point break. A consistent, long and fast tubing formation along the bay’s west side.
The break is divided into sections, the most well-known of which can break for over 300 metres. For the best swells, surfers should visit between May and September, when offshore winds provide ideal conditions. Swimmers prefer the summer months (December through February) because the weather is warm and sunny, and the water warms up.
The town is one of the fastest growing in the Eastern Cape and a popular vacation spot for South Africans. Who come to relax on the beaches, eat fresh seafood, and swim at the award-winning Blue Flag Beach. Between June and October, whales are frequently spotted offshore. In the Noorskloof Nature Reserve, a three-kilometer-long footpath winds along a river. Hikers may see antelope and vervet monkeys here.
The Kabeljous Nature Reserve, located northeast of town, encompasses a pristine estuary with excellent fishing. While the Seekoei River Nature Reserve, located south of town in the small resort of Aston Bay, is a popular birding destination, with over 120 species recorded in the area. Paradise Beach, which is nearby, is also a lovely stretch of sand and a great place to look for seashells.
Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area
The breathtaking scenery of the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area. Located approximately 90 kilometres west of Port Elizabeth, they provide a rough and rugged 4WD adventure. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is South Africa’s third largest inland conservancy, home to a diverse range of wildlife. Along with mountain zebras and Cape buffalo. Visitors may see baboons, vervet monkeys, mongooses, and a variety of birds, including fish-eagles (Baviaanskloof means “Valley of Baboons”). Hiking is also enjoyable, particularly for those who value solitude and peace.
Visitors’ favourite driving route runs from Patensie in the east to Willowmore in the west. Following the 200-kilometer-long Baviaanskloof valley to the west. To the north and south, there are beautiful red rock and green-cloaked mountains. Allow plenty of time because the roads are weathered dirt tracks that are particularly difficult after heavy rains. Depending on the conditions, the drive could take up to six hours or even longer.
Two mountain passes with spectacular views and low-water crossings are included in the route. Four wheel drives are highly recommended and, in some cases, required. Basic lodging and campsites are available for those who wish to stay overnight.