Welcome to part two of our South African provinces series, where we are writing about some of our favourite areas in each region. Today, we're taking a look at what the beautiful Eastern Cape has to offer.
The Eastern Cape (and just a little further around) has fantastic variety and it’s next to impossible to be bored. The best part, you can have fun whilst taking in some of the most picturesque areas this part of South Africa has to offer!
Valley of Desolation
The valley of desolation, located just 14km out of Graaff-Reinet, suspends all who visit in a bubble that knows no time. When something has taken 100 million years to form you cannot rush the overwhelming sensation of natural beauty and presence found in this corner of the Eastern Cape. The dolerites stand 120 meters high like nature’s own sentries surveying the land, overlooking miles of relatively untouched landscape. Their ragged yet powerful appearance contrasts with the smooth, conical shape of the Spandau Kop making this a scenic national monument you don’t want to miss.
The Spandau Kop stands alone in the centre of the valley and is just as impressive a feat of nature as the dolerite columns. The luscious vegetation acts as an oasis in an otherwise rocky and dry landscape. The valley is not as desolate as it may sound, with 220 species of bird, 336 species of plants and 46 types of mammals you should keep your eyes peeled.
The Drakensberg Mountain range spans the Eastern Cape of South Africa and stands tallest at 3,482m high. This magnificent range can be just as beautiful in the warmer summer months as it is during the snow topped winter ones. Declared ‘World Heritage Site’ in the year 2000 it boasts not only beauty but also a splendid mix of sights and experiences.
Whether you want to wind down the Sani Pass by 4x4 in the dusty heat or relax in the quaint village of Underburg, gazing up at the sub zero, snow topped peaks; you are guaranteed scenery that you will not forget. You cannot imagine what it is like to feel so small below these giants yet so tall when hiking them. The evening sun catches the peaks generating a warm, radiant orange that looks almost painted; it warms the soul and for us, at least, captures the essence of Africa.
Only an hour’s drive from East London, Morgan’s Bay is untouched by the hustle and bustle of the modern world. There are no bright lights, casinos and over-flowing bars just a small community who appreciate the smaller things, such as fantastic, picturesque, sandy beaches. Surrounded by grassy cliffs with a lagoon one side and a long stretch of sand the other it’s hard to stand still. Once you’ve taken in this modest yet majestic beach, you can hike your way along cliffs or just sit down and catch the morning dolphins going by. Once again, it’s almost mandatory to stay for the sunset and then settle down in a local campsite or sea-front hotel. The local restaurants serve fresh fish and you can pick up handmade souvenirs from the local women.
There are so many more places we wanted to put up but there’s only so much time and these are definitely our 3 favorite. If you can add any extra details such as a great restaurant, well-informed tour guide or even just the best place to rest sleepy heads, then get in touch! You can contact us on Facebook and Twitter.