The Eastern Cape region stretches from Tsitsikamma in the South to the border of KwaZulu-Natal in the north and has an incredible 820 km stretch of coastline. The central and eastern part of the province is the traditional home of the Xhosa and is the birthplace of many prominent South African figures, such as Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Chris Hani, Thabo Mbeki and Steve Biko.
The province malaria-free, has a varied climate and extremely diverse landscape. The capital is Bhisho, and Port Elizabeth & East London are the two largest cities, but we recommend you explore to discover the magic that lies within its boundary. One must stand on the bridge over Storms River Mouth; catch a wave in Jeffreys Bay, be humbled by the Valley of Desolation and walk the quaint dirt-roads of Nieu-Bethesda.
Also known as South Africa`s “Wild Province“, the Eastern Cape is the BIG 7 destination; incorporates parts of all 7 ecological zones that occur in South Africa and also features 3 of SA`s biodiversity regions.
The 180 000 ha Addo Elephant National Park near Port Elizabeth is one of the best places to see elephants in Africa, and is also home to the world`s largest breeding colony of Cape Gannets.
There are magnificent villages & towns to visit along the coast like Kenton-on-Sea, Port Alfred and Morgan Bay, and inland like the mountainous fairy wonderland of Hogsback. For some real adventure just keep heading eastwards towards the Transkei and discover the Wild Coast in all is untouched, rural beauty.
About half the coastline of the Wild Coast region comprises indigenous forest and many forest species. Small sandy bays and long stretches of open beaches are often found near the mouths of large rivers. Estuaries, bays and headlands are plentiful, whilst rocky shores predominate.
Hole in the Wall in Coffee Bay is a must see and you can catch the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure in Port Saint Johns & Mdumbi. If you are not self-driving, remember to make your travel plans ahead of time in these “öff the beaten track” areas, there is no efficient public transport!
For your convenience, we have compiled a list of eco-friendly places to stay in the Eastern Cape – you can kick back and feel good at one of these establishments knowing that you are supporting sustainable tourism in South Africa, and a place that makes a positive difference through their environmentally sustainable ethos; eco-friendly practices, conservation, land rehabilitation or community upliftment efforts. #spenditwhereitmatters
11 ECO-FRIENDLY PLACES TO STAY IN THE EASTERN CAPE
HOGSBACK: From R130 per person per night: Set on a 38 acre Permaculture Farm in the Amathole Mountain region, this 100% off the grid Family and Travelers Eco Lodge is a celebration of harmony with nature and offers guests a unique experience of sustainable living in magnificent natural surroundings. Comfortable and private rooms, dorm accommodation and camping facilities are available. Terra-Khaya Eco Backpackers is also home to Amathole Horse Trails which offers a range of tailor made horse rides for both experienced & beginner riders with gentle, friendly horses.VIEW TERRA-KHAYA ECO BACKPACKERS / CONTACT
STUTTERHEIM: From R550 per couple sharing: Inspired by the desire to create a truly unique space, The Shire captivates you with its innovative design and magnificent setting on the edge of the Amatola mountains & afro-montane forests. From nature-loving adventurous types to those on business, The Shire Eco Lodge promises to soothe, inspire and rejuvenate. The luxurious and elegant open-plan chalets come with a fully-equipped kitchen; the campsite consists of 16 sites, all with electricity and water points.VIEW THE SHIRE ECO LODGE / CONTACT
ELUNDINI: From R120 per person: A community orientated eco-friendly backpackers that has it all; beautiful natural environment, breathtaking views, delicious food, warm atmosphere and incredible cultural experiences. Accommodation consists of traditional rondavels, 1 dormitory room, 2 double/ triple /4 sleeper bedrooms and camping facilities. Elundini Backpackers has communal self-catering facilities, but breakfast, lunch and dinners are served daily. Come experience real Xhosa village life!VIEW ELUNDINI BACKPACKERS / CONTACT
ST FRANCIS BAY: From R1012 per person sharing: Nestled between thick coastal fynbos and large dune fields, this award winning Country House lends itself to a unique and unforgettable coastal bush getaway. With its tranquil environment, large secure gardens, sparkling swimming pool, rejuvenating Bush Spa, delectable country cuisine, dune and coastal forest walks as well as evening Frog Safaris, Dune Ridge Country House is an ideal destination for honeymoons and family getaways.VIEW DUNE RIDGE COUNTRY HOUSE / BOOK ONLINE
JEFFREYS BAY: From R850 per person: On The Beach Guesthouse offers a tranquil, luxurious and hospitable atmosphere from which to enjoy this piece of paradise. The guest house is situated right on the beach, as the name suggest, and boasts classic design, elegant décor, fresh ambiance and spectacular views from most rooms as well as from the upstairs lounge, outdoor verandah, bar & dining room where a breakfast feast is served between 08:00 – 09:30. Several accommodation options are available.VIEW ON THE BEACH GUESTHOUSE / BOOK ONLINE
A1 KYNASTON B&B
JEFFREYS BAY: From R300 per person: A1 Kynaston B&B is located in a quiet residential area in the popular seaside holiday destination. Both bed & breakfast and self-catering guests can anticipate sweeping ocean views, warm hospitality, comfort and tranquility. Your host serves a freshly prepared breakfast in the dining room that overlooks the Indian Ocean where passing dolphins are regularly spotted.VIEW A1 KYNASTON B&B / BOOK ONLINE
ADDO: From R360 per person per night: This B&B is situated on a certified organic citrus farm in a beautiful, malaria-free area; only 10 minutes away from Addo Elephant National Park. The thatched cottages are nestled in the garden between indigenous shrubs and trees; are comfortable and make for a terrific base from which to explore the region`s many attractions. Waking to birdsong, enjoying a hearty breakfast, relaxing on the farm and easy access to major tourist locations are only a few of the delights awaiting you at Rosedale Organic Farm Bed & Breakfast.VIEW ROSEDALE ORGANIC FARM B&B / CONTACT
PORT ST. JOHNS: From R965 per person per night: This award winning family resort and spa presents its guests with a paradise lost in time, ready to be explored; a special place to connect with the intuitive beauty of nature, to embark on an adventure and find your peace in its tranquility. The bungalows are nestled amongst the abundant fauna and flora that only the real heart of Pondoland can offer; perched on the hillside overlooking the Umngazi River mouth. Umngazi Bungalows & Spa has a wide variety of facilities and services that can be tailored to make your Umngazi experience a unique and unforgettable adventure.VIEW UMNGAZI BUNGALOWS & SPA / BOOK ONLINE
MDUMBI: From R325 per person sharing: Swell Eco Lodge offers self-catering traditional rondavels which blend seamlessly into the beautiful surroundings. Set amid rolling hills of Mngcibe, north of the winding Mdumbi River, overlooking white beaches and azure Indian Ocean; visitors can expect an unforgettable Wild Coast experience filled with relaxation, inspiring ocean views, jumping whales, roaming cattle and a fascinating glimpse into rural Transkei life.VIEW SWELL ECO LODGE / BOOK ONLINE
MNGCIBE: From R150 per person per night: The incredible views and access to the beach and river makes this an ideal laid back destination for nature lovers & outdoor enthusiast who don’t mind roughing it a bit in this unspoilt rural and remote area. Freedom O` Clock is totally off-the-grid and offers rustic, simple, clean and comfortable holiday & backpacking accommodation with incredible views over rolling green hills, the river, ocean and Tshani point. Accommodation can be catered or self-catering, and up to 12 guests can be accommodated on 3 camping sites in this pristine rural setting (fenced within the property).VIEW FREEDOM O` CLOCK BACKPACKERS RETREAT / CONTACT
MORGAN BAY: From R115 per campsite: Yellowwood Forest is situated on the bank of the Inchara River, only 1.5km from Morgan bay beach. Surrounded by enormous trees and lush riverine vegetation, this riverside eco-spirited retreat offers an unconventional experience for travellers, nature lovers and family holidays with its 30 camp sites, Backpackers Retreat dorms, doubles, rustic self-catering cabins and luxury self-catering Cob Cottage. The premises also features a gift shop, a licensed tea garden restaurant, pizzeria & bar, and a playground.VIEW YELLOWWOOD FOREST / CONTACT