Eastern Cape, South Africa
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Scenic diversity is one of the most striking characteristics of the region, ranging from the lush, evergreen Tsitsikamma Forest to the rugged Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area, the southern slopes of the Drakensberg and the arid Great Karoo. Sunshine all year round, fine leisure resorts and splendid facilities ensure that the great outdoors is always in style. Port Elizabeth and East London are ideal for family holidays, large enough to offer all the amenities of a city, yet small enough to be genuinely welcoming and friendly. Superbly set on the shores of Algoa Bay, "The Friendly City" is the fifth biggest city in South Africa and the largest on the coast between Cape Town and Durban. The City of Port Elizabeth beckons with an attractive atmosphere of year-round holiday fun against a backdrop of urban activity.
Algoa Bay encourages all forms of water sport and conditions are excellent for surfing, sailing, diving and angling. Port Elizabeth has beautiful parks, botanical gardens and nature reserves with an abundance of bird life. In Port Elizabeth, the 1820 Settlers were introduced to their new land, and there they built some of the graceful period homes that still enhance the city's landscape. Since then, the tiny settlement has grown into a busy commercial, industrial and educational city with attractive shops, parks, theatres, museums and restaurants. After exploring the city of Port Elizabeth, a day trip can be made to the beautiful Tsitsikamma National Park.
Addo Elephant National Park supports about 200 elephants in addition to Cape buffalo, black rhino, kudu and over 180 South African bird species. South Africa's only river port city is set on the broad Buffalo River and one of the most attractive stretches of the Eastern Cape seaboard. The City of East London offers sweeping white beaches which extend for miles. Swimming, sailing, water-skiing, boardsailing and boating are enjoyed all year round, while the river mouths, lagoons and gullies provide a paradise for fishermen. Against a typically African backdrop, strong links with England and traces of the German lineage are found. The Wild Coast is one of South Africa's most exciting and unexploited areas, with a special appeal for fishermen all year round.
Game Lodges & Bush Camps
Staying at one (or more) of the Eastern Cape's game lodges, or in the local bush camps, gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy a comfortable base from which to embark on game drives at dawn and dusk, or even those conducted at night, when nocturnal predators come to life. When staying at a Game Lodge in the Eastern Cape, guests can look forward to seeing lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and plenty more. The birds are equally impressive, making the Eastern Cape a bird-watcher’s heaven.
Guest Houses and Lodges
The Eastern Cape guest houses and lodges are an ideal alternative to staying at the (sometimes more expensive) hotels in the area. Meals besides breakfast are often available (dinner and/or lunch) usually on request. Many of the services offered at hotels can be expected, such as airport transfers, wake up calls and laundry service.
Budget, comfortable and luxury Eastern Cape self-catering accommodation available for holiday rental year-round. This includes free-standing holiday homes, luxury villas, holiday cottages and self-contained chalets often in a garden or bush setting, holiday apartments and suites / units (with kitchenettes and usually private entrances). All Eastern Cape self catering accommodation units are fully equipped which enables guests to cater for themselves.
Think adventure, think exhilaration! Adrenalin Addo situated in the heart of the Sundays River Valley in Greater Addo, we are an outdoor adventure centre that embraces the motto ‘life is for living’! Whether you are looking for some heart pumping action on our superfast zip line or giant swing, or something more composed like canoeing, our activities are all about trying new things and above all else, surrendering to boundless fun. Rated as the number one attraction in Greater Addo, we are an ideal getaway for families and friends, and the premier adventure venue for corporate groups and school camps.
We are situated between the towns of Addo and Kirkwood, 50 minutes from Port Elizabeth and just 20 minutes from the world renowned Addo Elephant Park.
Our zip line is the highest, longest and fastest double zip line in South Africa. Twin cables – each 500 metres long – descend from an impressive departure tower perched seventy metres above the Sundays River.
Eighteen metres high, a couple of seconds of a sudden and intense free fall, our swing will have you either screaming, laughing or devoid of all sound altogether. From the seasoned adrenalin junkies out there to those just seeking a new adventure, the swing will certainly get the adrenalin flowing!
For something a little more sedate than our zip line and giant swing, two-man canoes can be hired for a paddle down the Sundays River – a perfect way to embrace the song and surrounds of the river and a chance to see some great birdlife along the way.
Addo Elephant National Park
The Sundays River has its entrance at the mouth of the Indian Ocean and is tidal from the mouth for 17km. The river is well known for its excellent fishing and the bird-life is prolific.
Come to Addo and see the famous Addo elephants as well as mile after mile of verdant citrus trees, bearing fruit all winter and scenting the air with their blossoms in springtime. The Sundays River Valley Route/Addo region is only an hours' scenic drive from the wonderful beaches of the Sunshine Coast and the rich 1820 Settler history of Grahamstown. To experience the sounds,sights,Big 7(elephant, black rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard, great white shark and sperm whale) and the friendliness of Africa, this area is a must for any holiday maker.
Addo Elephant National Park is situated 72km by road from Port Elizabeth. Established in 1931 to save 11 Elephants on the brink of extinction, and now home to more than 350 of them, 280 Cape Buffalo, black Rhino, a range of Antelope species, as well as the rare flightless dung Beetle, Addo Elephant Park is a perfect destination for the adventurous outdoor and nature lover. Addo Elephant Park, a sanctuary for a wide range of South Africa's Wildlife, is located in the 120 000 ha of land in the thick bushveld of the Sundays River, in the Eastern Cape. The park, the third largest in South Africa, offers a wide range of game viewing and outdoor activities, which include horse-back and horse-riding, guided walking, hiking and 4x4 trails and a picnic area for day visitors.
The park is currently home to more than 550 elephant as well as:
- Cape Buffalo
- Black Rhino
- Various antelope species such as Eland, Kudu, Red Hartebeest etc
- And of course the flightless Dung Beetle which is exclusively found at Addo. (Elsewhere in Africa, Dung Beetles have to migrate with the herds but this is not the case at Addo).
Tsitsikamma National Park is a multi-dimensional destination with dramatic coastal scenery, reefs, rivers, lush forest and delicate Fynbos. A hiking and water sports paradise, this region forms the top section of the magnificent Garden Route National Park.
In Tsitsikamma National Park, Garden Route, South Africa visitors will see booming breakers of the Indian Ocean relentlessly pound rocky shores, temperate high forest and Fynbos (indigenous plants) rolling down to the sea in an unspoilt verdant carpet. Age old rivers carve their way to the sea and wonderful marine creatures swim along the shore. The boundary of the Tsitsikamma National Park, South Africa stretches some 5km (3 miles) out to sea, protecting a wonderland of inter-tidal life, reef and deep-sea fish. Beautiful Dolphins play and surf in the breakers. The Southern Right Whale visits these waters in season, coming inshore to breed. The park has two rest camps, one at Storms River mouth and one at Natures Valley.
There are many hiking trails of varying lengths and nature walks in this region, the most famous of them being the Otter Trail, one of the best in the world. For those who prefer not to rough it there is a “slack packing” route, the Dolphin Trail, which is fully inclusive and includes portage.
Stormsriver and Tsitsikamma Adventures
The unique Khoi word “TSITSIKAMMA” which means “place of many waters”.
- Blackwater Tubing in Stormsriver holds the license to do Blackwater Tubing Trips on the Storms River. This Tubing Trips will take you on a unique tubing, swimming, & bouldering adventure through the world renowned Tsitsikamma National Park on the Garden Route in South Africa. Black Water tubing trips are run all year round and the experience varies from a white water action-packed roller coaster ride (max grade two rapids) to a chilled day out in mother nature with optional tube jumps. The Black water Tubing adventure starts and ends at Tube ‘n Axe Accommodation in Storms River Village (Garden Route South Africa).
- The Bloukrans Bungy is the world's highest commercial bungy bridge. It is also the highest commercial natural bungy jump in the world. We have had a number of world records associated with Bloukrans. In 2003, Bloukrans bungy was recognised as the worlds highest commercial bungy jump. In 2008 we were part of two more world records. Veronica Dean performed 19 bungy jumps in one hour and Bill Boshoff performed 101 jumps in a 24 hour period. Bill’s world record was subsequently surpassed, but in 2011 we facilitated Scott Huntley to regain the world record with 107 jumps in the 24 hour period. We have played host to the likes of Prince Harry, Jack Osbourne, The Amazing Race, and many more famous and not so famous visitors - you never know who you could meet on any given day at Bloukrans, the world's highest bungy bridge!
- The first of its kind in Africa, the canopy tour involves zip-lining from one platform to another along a steel cable suspended up to 30 meters above the forest floor. Discover the secrets of the spectacular and unique wilderness of Tsitsikamma Indigenous forest. As you enter the forest you’ll encounter Hard Pear trees, Giant Yellow Woods, beautiful Tree Ferns hundreds of years old and other interesting Forest Flora. The 2-3 hour tour begins with a detailed safety briefing followed by a 'kitting up' session where a full body harness, pulleys and other equipment is issued and checked. A short drive into the forest and it’s time to monkey around! The tour consists of ten slides (the longest one measures 91m), each ending on a platform constructed in the trees. Bird life is abundant (including Knysna Loerie's and the elusive Narina Trogon), and your guides will explain the ecology of this lush primeval forest. You might be lucky to spot a Vervet monkey or two, too!
- Kayak and Lilo up the storms river gorge in Tsitsikamma. This two to three-hour kayak and lilo adventure on the Storms River is our most popular activity for good reasons. You’ll get to explore deeper into the hidden world of the Storms River gorge than most people ever do and xperience the long, bottomless pools, deep caves and ancient forests with nothing but the quiet noises of nature around you.
- The underwater world is your oyster when snorkelling at Storms River! You can move across the ocean’s surface like a human-sized sea turtle, marvelling at the spectacular marine life from above, chasing fish over the reefs and spotting sun rays on the bed of the ocean. Escape the rush of the real world and experience how “everything’s better, everything’s wetter under the sea!” This splendid sea safari is enjoyed by “human turtles” from almost any age and thus an ideal adventure for the whole family.
- Discover nature at its purest form on the “Tsitsikamma Woodcutters Journey.” Experience the uniqueness of this biome on a journey down the old Stormsriver Pass through the indigenous Tsitsikamma forest from the comfort of a specially-designed vehicle. Follow the elephant migratory route, passing yellowwoods and stinkwoods, while learning about the history of the area and its indigenous fauna and flora. We introduce you to a fairy world of a 450-500 year old, “Human like Tree”, our own unique “Forest Guard” who watch over the forest with human like faces.
- The Otter trail is 5 days and 4 nights. The following distances and durations are as follows: Day 1 = 4.8km (± 2 hours); Day 2 = 7.9km (± 4 hours); Day 3 = 7.7km (± 4 hours); Day 4 = 13.8km (± 6 hours); Day 5 = 10.8km (± 5 hours); Total Distance = 45km
- At Tsitsikamma Segway Tours and Wilderness Segway Tours, we are focused on providing Guided Segway Tours with the highest levels of customer satisfaction. We offer 1 & 2 hour fully guided segway tours and ½ or full day mountain bike rentals. A Segway is a 2-wheeled, self-balancing, battery-powered, green personal transporter. Totally fun, addictive and the perfect family adventure! Our tours start off with a training session and then we explore the local forest and village. Mountain bikes available for the breathtaking 26km cycle route through the old pass to the lookout point at the Stormsriver Mouth.
- Why not Hike the Tsitsikamma Indigenous forest and discover the secrets of the spectacular forest: choose your own adventure with a variety of routes to choose from. As you enter the forest you will encounter Hard Pear trees, Giant Yellow Woods and other interesting Forest Flora. An experience you'll never forget!
- The Dolphin trail covers a distance of 17km starting in the unrivalled beauty of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP) - Tsitsikamma Section at Storms River Mouth, and winds its way eastwards through natural fynbos and pristine indigenous forest, over rugged rocks at the waters edge, to end on the banks of the Sandrift River at The Fernery. The package is fully inclusive and features the following: 1)all meals, from dinner on the day of arrival, to breakfast on the day of departure; 2) the attendance of well trained local guides; 3) a 4x4 drive through the old Storms River Pass; 4) the transportation of all luggage by vehicle between overnight stops so that guests need hike only with a light pack containing a few personal items. Hikers have stunning views of the rugged Tsitsikamma coastline, and the chances of spotting whales, dolphins and the occasional otter are good. Swimming and snorkelling in the rock pools is possible at the discretion of the guides.
Kragga Kamma and Shamwari Game Drives
- Take a drive in your own vehicle through the Kragga Kamma park on the well-maintained roads (no need for 4x4) and enjoy viewing the game in any weather conditions from the comfort of your car. For those really close encounters, choose the 2 hour guided tour in an open Landrover with a professional guide providing you with interesting information on the animals and the historical background to the area. Lush coastal forest and grassland is home to vast herds of African game, including White Rhino, Buffalo, Cheetah, Giraffe, Zebra, Nyala, Bontebok, Lechwe and many more species. All the animals roam freely, unrestricted in natural surroundings. This owner operated animal friendly park, where no hunting or other disturbance of the game is permitted, means that you always get close up views and great photo opportunities.
- At Shamwari Game Reserve, we not only offer our guests 5-star luxury accommodation, but pride ourselves on presenting wildlife interaction that is sure to be the highlight of your stay. Coupled with the African horizon and spectacular skies, we offer game drives through the reserve for an experience of a lifetime. Our game viewing drives are available for morning and evening trips, as this is when the animals are most active. Our vehicles are open and comfortable, and give you a panoramic view of the area. You’ll be guided by one of our trained game rangers who’ll take you and your party through the reserve, encountering many animals along the way.
Sardinia Bay; Horse Riding; Sacramento Trail
- Sardinia Bay, situated between Schoenmakerskop and Sea View, is accessed by travelling along Sardinia Bay Road. This popular beach has picnic facilities and is regarded as one of the best walking beaches in the country. Fishing is not permitted as the coast has been declared a Marine Reserve, but snorkelling and scuba diving is allowed and proves to be quite popular with many beach goers. Sardinia Bay is also the starting point of the very popular 8km Sacramento hiking trail.
- The Sacramento Trail is an 8 km moderate, popular one-way or circular route trail between Schoenmakerskop and Sardinia Bay. The trail traverses the Sardinia Bay Nature Reserve where you will see attractive seascapes, landscapes, and depending on the season, some remarkable displays of wild flowers. Gannets and dolphins can often be seen out at sea. Many wrecked ships, one the Portuguese galleon Sacramento, lie offshore and there is a bronze cannon from the ship on display at Schoenmakerskop. Horses are permitted on the trail.The trail one-way is 4 km or 1½ hours and the round trip about 3 hours. The trail is an easy to moderate walk with some agility required over the rocks at Sardinia Bay. The full trail leads along the shoreline and returns over the high dunes. However, you can walk as much or as little of the trail as you wish.
- The quality of horses available to ride is top notch and so are the exciting trails you will discover together. This is a riding vacation that can cater for many types and levels of riders. Experienced riders can pre arrange to ride the optional fast stretches and where novice riders can opt for a relaxed version, all meeting up again further along the route. The trail and Coast Ride takes you through the Sardinia reserve and up into the coastal range, richly covered with towering dunes and offering views that stretch to what seems like eternity. We have scenic 2 1/2 - 3 hour horse rides through the Sardinia Bay Nature Reserve where one could catch a glimpse of bushbuck. duiker, grys bok, ververt monkeys and a large variety of bird life and other smaller animals. Then enjoy a relaxing ride along the beautiful Sardinia Bay beach or for the more experienced a nice canter along the beach, if arranged in advance. We cater for all levels of riders riding well-schooled horses and ponies.
SANCCOB is a registered non-profit organisation whose primary objective is to reverse the decline of seabird populations through the rescue, rehabilitation and release of ill, injured, abandoned and oiled seabirds – especially endangered species like the African penguin. The organisation works closely with colony managers to identify birds in need of care in the wild and bring them to one of our three centres in South Africa: Cape Town (Western Cape), Cape St. Francis (Eastern Cape) and Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape).
In a normal year where no oil spills occur, SANCCOB treats up to 2 500 seabirds, of which approximately 1 500 are African penguins. On average, 24 different seabird species are rehabilitated every year. SANCCOB is an internationally recognised leader in oiled wildlife response, rehabilitation and chick-rearing; contributes to research which benefits seabirds; trains people to care for the birds and educates the public to develop behavioural patterns which benefit marine life and the environment.
Environmental education experiences are designed to highlight our conservation message. We offer many interesting and engaging lessons, including tours of the facility, encounters with our ambassador birds, bird watching and beach clean-ups.
SANCCOB’s adoption programme is a pay-it-forward system. Your adoption donation is for an African penguin that has, or will be, rehabilitated and released back into the wild by our dedicated staff. The adoption fee helps cover the cost of fish, medication, water and other essentials ‘your’ bird needs during rehabilitation. Because SANCCOB’s objective is to release as many of our rescued seabirds back into the wild as possible, you will not be able to visit ‘your’ penguin during rehabilitation, or track its movements after release.
Volunteers play an important role at SANCCOB and are needed 365 days a year to perform tasks such as:
- Assisting with seabird rehabilitation, cleaning and feeding birds
- Driving/collecting seabirds
- General centre maintenance and cleaning
- Answering phones
- Education/behind the scenes tours
- Photography/videography, journalism and translation
Volunteers must be 18 years or older and reside permanently in the Cape Peninsula. Half day and full day shifts available weekdays and weekends.