The Eastern Cape’s top spots.

South Africa is beautiful and offers so many wonderful places to visit. However, Eastern Cape travel seems to offer a little more. These are the top places to visit in Eastern Cape.

1. The Valley of Desolation

The Valley of Desolation, located in Camdeboo National Park and surrounding the town of Graaff–Reinet is one of the most impressive natural features of the Eastern Cape. The access road climbs up to 1,500m and ends at a parking lot with well-maintained footpaths that lead to breathtaking views along the steep cliff faces.

Visitors can take in the stunning views of the towering dolomite rock columns and surrounding countryside. The shifting light plays on the vast landscapes. The semi-desert landscapes in the Great Karoo are to the south, Graaff-Reinet to the east and the distinctive peaks at the Sneeuberg Mountains to the north.

Visit the park at sunrise and sunset to capture the most beautiful photos. The golden light gives the landscapes a honey glow, giving them a warm, golden glow. The park’s wildlife is varied and plentiful. You can see many species of birds and mammals, including the Cape buffalo, springbok, kudu, springbok and bat-eared Fox.

The restored Karoo-style homes, and other historic buildings in nearby Graaff-Reinet are all worth a visit. Reinet House is a former Cape Dutch parsonage that is now a museum. It houses a large collection 18th- and 19th century furniture and farming equipment as well as a collection of dolls from the First World War.

2. The Wild Coast

The Wild Coast of South Africa is located north of East London. It’s a land of incredible beauty. This wild wilderness stretches from the Mtamvuna River to the Great Kei River, along the Eastern Cape’s northern coast. It is characterized by rocky sea cliffs, wind-whipped shores, subtropical forests and hills covered in golden grass.

The Wild Coast is home to the Xhosa people and other tribes whose villages are scattered across the landscapes. The Wild Coast was one of four territories that were declared independent by South Africa during apartheid. It was merged with the Eastern Cape province, in 1994.

This remote and rugged region can only be explored by 4WD vehicles. However, adventurous travelers who are willing to hike or ride horses through the terrain can explore the area via walking trails. The Inkwenkwezi private game reserve and the Hole in the Wall are two of the most popular tourist attractions in the area. These natural archways were created by the thrashing surf.

Many tourists base themselves in towns like Coffee Bay, Port St. Johns or Chintsa and then venture out into the wilderness to enjoy outdoor activities such as river and ocean fishing, diving, snorkeling and exploring shipwrecks and reefs, as well as wildlife watching in the numerous nature reserves. The region is home to more than 320 bird species.

3. Addo Elephant National Park

The Addo Elephant National Park, located 72 km north of Port Elizabeth is the third-largest national park in South Africa. It was established in 1931 to protect the 11 remaining South African bush elephants. Today, it is home to more than 600 elephants and a variety of fascinating animals.

The park extends from the Karoo to Cape Cod, and includes off-shore islands that are home to significant breeding populations of Cape gannets, as well as African penguins. The park is the only national park worldwide to protect the Big 7 – the Big 5 (elephants, rhinos, Cape buffalos, lions, leopards, and lion) and the great white shark, as well as the southern right whale and great white shark.

Wildlife enthusiasts can spot antelope, zebras and an impressive variety of birds. They also have the opportunity to see nocturnal animals like porcupines, anteaters and bush pigs. Visitors can also enjoy guided day- and nighttime game drives.

Day visitors are welcome to the park. They can either explore the wilderness on their own or take a guided tour. Overnight visitors can stay in chalets, cottages, or campsites.

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