Eastern Cape, South Africa
Ranging from the evergreen Tsitsikamma Forest to the rugged Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area, from the southern slopes of the Drakensberg to the imposing Great Karoo, the Eastern Cape’s natural diversity ensures that visitors enjoy every type of outdoor adventure imaginable.
In this sense, the legendary Sunshine Coast is a region well worth the mention. True to its name, this region rarely gets abandoned by the sun and what better way is there to soak up all that sunshine than on the beautiful beaches this region is famous for. Boasting over 500 kilometers of beachfront, the Sunshine Coast is made all the more appealing by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. With its many quaint resorts like Kenton-on-Sea, Port Alfred, Cape St. Francis and St. Francis Bay, all of which have that special seaside village feel, the Sunshine Coast is a haven for enthusiastic beachgoers and sun-worshiper. It is also in this region that you will find the surfing hotspot, Jeffrey’s Bay. Popularly referred to as the ‘home of the perfect wave’, Jeffrey’s Bay is one of the best surfing sites in the world!
The indigenous forests of the Tsitsikamma National Park is another noteworthy destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. A khoi word meaning “place of abundant water”, the almost-always- damp Tsisikama is by no means as sunny as the Sunshine Coast, but none the less a place of extraordinary beauty. Bursting with all kinds of outdoor adventures and exciting watersports, this protected area offers hiking, abseiling, blackwater tubing and the world’s highest commercial bungee jump!
Another point of interest in the Eastern Cape is the very aptly named Wild Coast. Undisturbed and unsullied, this stretch of wilderness is host to some of the most spectacular waterfalls you will ever see! Found in the Mkhambathi Nature Reserve, these ancient wonders, one of which falls directly into the sea, demand admiration as well as caution and respect. It is, however, not only nature that has remained undisturbed in this remote and undeveloped part of South Africa. Visitors to the culturally rich Wild Coast can also look forward to learning more about its Xhosa inhabitants who still maintain many of their forefathers’ original practices, traditions and beliefs.
For those inclined towards tales of lost treasures, the Eastern Cape also offers the exiting legend of the Grosvenor wreck. The East Indiaman sank more than 220 years ago in 1789 and a century later, some gold and silver coins were found on the beach near the wreck site. This event has naturally lead to speculations of vast treasure on board the Grosvenor. Although there has been many salvage attempts, the actual wreck of the Grosvenor is still to be found and some adventure-hungry treasure-hunter might still emerge from the rocky depths of the Indian Ocean with that fabled fortune!
With its sunny beaches, amazing waves and overabundance of wilderness just waiting to be explored, the Eastern Cape is without a doubt South Africa’s Outdoor Adventure Paradise!