Saturday , 15 December 2018
South Africa Blog / Tag Archives: eastern cape

Tag Archives: eastern cape

The Eastern Cape Versus the Western Cape – What’s the Difference?

The Eastern Cape Versus the Western Cape – What’s the Difference?

First-time visitors to South Africa can’t be blamed for not knowing their eastern from their western when it comes to the capes. They’re relatively near to one another, and have many similarities. So, what’s the difference between the laid-back Eastern Cape and the slightly-busier-but-still-very-chilled Western Cape?

The Lowdown on the Eastern Cape

 

The Eastern Cape is a massive, but quieter province. It stretches from Storms River to the area previously known as the Transkei (which borders KwaZulu-Natal), and inland to include gorgeous mountains. The Eastern Cape is characterised by some large cities, like Port Elizabeth and East London, but mainly by its rural Xhosa villages, which freckle the landscape. Cattle roam the grassy plains and there is an undeniable sense of space and solitude.

 

The Eastern Cape is also home to some magnificent game reserves and national parks, thanks to all of the space available for the wildlife to roam. A few of the best known of these are Addo Elephant National Park, Shamwari Private Game Reserve, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, and the Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve. For this reason, the Eastern Cape is fantastic for safaris, bird watching, and game viewing. Look out for the Big 5 – elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard.

 

This province has an extensive coastline, and the waters are fairly warm and safe for swimming. There are also loads of rivers that lead to the sea, particularly between Port Elizabeth and East London. These create pretty holiday retreats along the coast. It is an awesome destination for anyone that loves watersports and, because of the consistent winds, it has become a world-class kiting destination.

The Lowdown on the Western Cape

 

A little more cosmopolitan than its eastern counterpart, the Western Cape tends be more about shopping, winelands, and entertainment. Of course, there are many spectacular natural areas here too; with its impressive mountain ranges, verdant valleys, exquisite white-sand beaches, and endless stretches of vineyards.

 

In fact, the Western Cape is known the world over for its wines. So, it is not surprising that, around the main city centre of Cape Town, there are many wine farms. Here, visitors can taste some excellent wines (or pair them with delicious meals).

 

More than just the metropolis, the Western Cape is home to unique little towns and villages that give it its character. These include Franschhoek, Swellendam, Robertson, Paternoster and Hermanus. A little further away from Cape Town, there is the Garden Route. This is home to Knysna, Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay, amongst other gems.

 

Cape Town itself is home to some of the world’s best-known attractions. These include Table Mountain, Robben Island, the V & A Waterfront, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, and the Two Oceans Aquarium.

 

Adventure sports like shark cage diving, bungy jumping, abseiling, kloofing and mountain climbing are a must here, because the landscape lends itself to exploring. The ocean waters are significantly cooler in the Western Cape than the Eastern Cape.

EC vs WC

Well, it’s almost impossible to choose between the two. They both have incredible natural areas, plenty of history and lashings of culture. The Western Cape offers great shopping, plenty of history, world-class wines, and first-class entertainment. The Eastern Cape is hard to beat in terms of its game reserves, stunning warm sea water, pristine beaches, friendly folk, and tranquillity. They both have loads of charming historical towns and lashings of culture. In addition, they both have plenty of accommodation – ranging from guesthouses and B&B’s to game lodges, resorts, hotels, and apartments. Find a full range of establishments on SA-Venues.com.

 

Six Underrated Attractions in South Africa

Six Underrated Attractions in South Africa

South Africa is a country of extraordinary variety. Whether you’re after beaches, mountains, forests, valleys, or busy city centres, this is the place to find them. And, as a destination, there is no shortage of world-renowned attractions in South Africa. But, there are also loads of gems that may not be as well known but are every bit as beautiful and exciting to explore. These have the advantage of (often) being quieter and easier on the budget.

Six Underrated Attractions in South Africa

1. The Klein Karoo

There’s an ethereal kind of beauty about the Klein Karoo. It’s different, unassuming, and a little mysterious. A little town like Graaff-Reinet has loads of history (it’s the oldest town in the Eastern Cape), friendly people, and plenty of character. It’s surrounded by the Camdeboo Park, which has incredible populations of plants and animals and is home to the breathtaking Valley of Desolation. Other Klein Karoo towns with unique appeal include Nieu Bethesda and Cradock.

2. The Bavianskloof Mega-Reserve

More than being a World Heritage Site, the Baviaanskloof is spectacularly beautiful. Walk, hike, cycle and 4 x 4 your way through the rugged terrain to get the most out of it. This is all about steep mountain passes, deep gorges, incredible rock formations, lush greenery, and unspoilt plains. Animals that call this home include the leopard, baboon, vervet monkey, zebra, eland, kudu, and buffalo. There are also loads of raptors and other exciting bird species.

3. Mossel Bay

This seaside Garden Route town is another gem. Although tourists sometimes pass through it en route to or from Cape Town, it remains fairly quiet. But, it has so much to see and do. This is a hotspot for shark cage diving, fishing, surfing, swimming, whale watching, SCUBA diving, cycling, shopping, and sampling some excellent seafood. Mossel Bay has a stunning climate, and is only 1.5 hours from Knysna and about  4.5 hours from Cape Town.

4. The Lake District of Mpumalanga

Seeing the glimmering blue of the Mpumalanga lakes is soothing to your soul. Around Lake Chrissie, which is the main lake of the district, there are 320 more lakes and pans of different sizes and shapes. And, where there’s water, there’s life. Find an amazing variety of birds, frogs, and butterflies. Or, just relax while you drink in the views, which are nothing short of humbling.

5. Tulbagh

Tulbagh stirs up all kinds of nostalgia with its old farmhouses, views of the mountain behind a haze of summer heat (or, very rarely, topped with snow in the winter), and quirky locals. Go on wine tastings, visit the museums, cycle through vineyards, hike through mountain fynbos, or explore the orchards on the back of a horse. This little town in the Cape Winelands is a very special retreat, just 1.5 hours from Cape Town.

6. Tsitsikamma

This part of the Garden Route is lush, green, and filled to the brim with adventure. When visiting Tsitsikamma, you can choose from ziplining over the spectacular forests, ziplining over tannin-stained waterfalls, segwaying through the Storms River village and forests, horse riding along the streets and country trails, and tubing down Storms River. This is one of the most awesome holiday attractions in South Africa for the family.

Accommodation

These attractions may be quieter than the mainstream South African hotspots, but they offer all of the necessary facilities, including accommodation to suit your budget and needs. Have a look at SA-Venues.com to book guesthouses, lodges, B&B’s, or hotels on one easy platform.

Exploring East London

Exploring East London

Part of the beautiful Sunshine Coast, which remains relatively quiet in terms of international tourists, East London, also known as Buffalo City for its positioning on the Buffalo River, is home to some of the most inviting beaches in the country and, some would argue, the world. Notably, East London is the only river port in South Africa, which not only makes it unique but functionally essential too.

East London is characterised by a slightly more tropical climate than the rest of the Eastern Cape. This means that it is humid, but also lush with vegetation typical of this climate. This gives it a real “summer vacation” feel. It is free of malaria and bilharzias threats, making it safe for families and the elderly. Read More »

Spending a Day in East London

Spending a Day in East London

East London is one of the main cities and industrial areas of the Eastern Cape, also known as Buffalo City. It continues to grow and develop at an impressive pace.

East London is a popular destination for those wanting a real beach holiday, thanks to its warm waters and extensive stretches of coastline. It is also a common stop for those on business travel or en route between the larger metropolises (such as Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg).

For those that will be spending limited time in East London, here are some activities that can be combined to fill up a free day here and there … Read More »

Lighthouses of the Eastern Cape

Lighthouses of the Eastern Cape

Lighthouses were erected generations ago, when ships began arriving to the Eastern Cape coastline for a number of different reasons. Some brought supplies, others carried explorers and still others were delivering slaves. These lighthouses remain as beacons of our heritage and history while still serving as guides for incoming vessels.

The Eastern Cape coastline is home to four major lighthouses. There is also a national tour of the South African lighthouses, which comprises eight different buildings. Read More »

Trout fishing in the Eastern Cape

Trout fishing in the Eastern Cape

The Wild Trout Association invites avid fishermen to visit the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa to indulge in some really relaxing fishing expeditions in search of delicious trout. Their official waters are at the southernmost tip of the Drakensberg Mountain Range, extending from Lesotho. They continue through the Stormberg Mountains (in Dordrecht and Molteno) and westwards. Read More »

Where to find The Big 7

Where to find The Big 7

You’ve heard of the Big 5, for which South Africa is famous. These are the leopard, lion, elephant, rhino and buffalo. However, the Eastern Cape is home to the Big 7, which adds Great White Sharks and the Southern Right Whale to this already-impressive list.

There are a few game reserves in the Eastern Cape that offer this very exciting combination of nature’s finest, guaranteeing a memorable safari and vacation in this South African province. These include … Read More »