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The Eastern Cape is a land of diverse landscapes which range from the desolate Great Karoo to the lush forests of the Wild Coast and the Keiskamma Valley. You'll find dramatic mountains in the Southern Drakensberg and the fertile Langkloof, sandy beaches and the only snow slopes in Africa.
The Eastern Cape offers you beaches where you can surf the world's biggest waves, widespread hills in a breathtaking panorama of hues, spectacular wildlife and sea life viewing, and warm, small-town hospitality. This is the birthplace of Nelson Mandela and truly, a continent in one province.
The Eastern Cape has a year-round holiday climate, though it does vary considerably throughout the year. There are hot summers and moderate winters along the coast, while the northern regions are much cooler.
As well as being a place of great scenic beauty, the Eastern Cape also offers a host of attractions ranging from spectacular wildlife viewing in the Addo Elephant National Park to the Nelson Mandela Museum in Qunu. A popular event which takes place annually is the Grahamstown Festival which draws visitors from all over the globe to this historic university town.
Affectionately known as PE, Port Elizabeth is South Africa's fifth biggest city, and is set on the shores of Algoa Bay. With over a million citizens, this friendly city by the sea is a popular holiday destination amongst South Africans. Enjoy the safe and sunny beaches, particularly Humewood and Summerstrand, and have a go at the many water-sports on and under Port Elizabeth's beloved sea, such as surfing, diving, sailing and fishing. Protea Hotels has no less than four superb hotels gracing the shores of this pleasant city.
Among the superior hotels in the friendly city of Port Elizabeth, the 4-star Protea Hotel Marine is unparalleled. Overlooking the sun-drenched sands of Pollock Beach, with sweeping views of Algoa Bay, this hotel is renowned for its quality facilities, personal service and luxurious atmosphere. From the moment you enter the Protea Hotel Marine, you know you are in an exceptional establishment.
For the ultimate in privacy and serenity, look no further than the 5-star Hacklewood Hill Country House in the leafy suburb of Walmer. Set in a lush country garden abundant with birdlife, Hacklewood Hill Country House offers every comfort and a stylish dining experience with fine cordon bleu cuisine, an impressive vintage wine collection and an authentic wine cellar.
For something on the wild side, why not stay at the 5-star Pumba Private Game Reserve, with its new Msenge Lodge which covers 6,500 hectares of privately-owned property in the Eastern Cape? Overlooking Lake Kariega, Pumba Private Game Reserve offers stunning views of the wilderness and water from every point. Only 105km from Port Elizabeth, Pumba Private Game Reserve and Msenge Lodge are in the heart of the Eastern Cape's malaria-free game viewing region. With its 5-star game lodge luxury, visitors have every opportunity to enjoy the ultimate essence of Africa in style.
St Francis Bay
A millionaire's playground and paradise for the water-sport enthusiast, St Francis Bay is mainly a holiday village, and is part of the Garden Route in the Eastern Cape. It's situated at the mouth of the Kromme River, only 90km west of Port Elizabeth.
The beaches are surrounded by nature reserves and are a surfer's paradise. The area is also a popular whale watching spot as these graceful mammals are regular visitors from August to October.
This pretty, little holiday village has a Mediterranean-style harbour, which is a centre for calamari fishing. It's also from here where you can embark on deep-sea fishing trips. Golfing, hiking, boating and climbing are other favourite leisure activities in St Francis Bay. A visit to the 1878 lighthouse in Cape St. Francis nearby is also recommended.
On the ocean's edge, the 5-star The Sands @ St. Francis is an impressive white walled thatched roof homestead with sweeping views of the sun-drenched beach and glistening sea. The relaxed and informal atmosphere is reflected in the African beach style decor. Spacious bedrooms offer luxury style, each opening onto a private deck offering breathtaking views of the magnificent, unspoilt sand below.
Storms River, which lies between the Tsitsikamma Mountains and the sea, can only be described as nature's wonderland. The rugged coastline, awe-inspiring waterfalls and verdant forests overwhelm visitors with their spellbinding beauty and are not easily forgotten.
The Tsitsikamma Forest National Park is alive with giant Outeniqua yellowwood trees and hard pear trees as well as Cape fynbos. The area is popular for its magnificent hikes, including the famous Otter Trail, which is ranked as one of the best in the world. Hikers are treated to unparalleled views of the cliffs, cascading into the Indian Ocean below.
Storms River is a leading adventure sport destination, and has established White Water rafting tours running all year round. The area is home to the Treetop Canopy Tour, which is a first of its kind in Africa, as well as the ultimate Adrenaline Rush, the Bloukrans bungee jump, the highest bungee jump in the world.
The area is ideal for other adventure activities, like kloofing, fishing and diving, as well as gentler pleasures, like photography and picnicking at the many viewpoints.