The Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA) has developed a new Coastal Route covering nearly 900km of pristine coastline spanning the length of the Eastern Cape. The new Coastal Route is designed to appeal to both self-drive and group tourists looking for an authentic and memorable travel experience. The route incorporates suggested itineraries based on interesting things to see and do as well as value-for-money local accommodation which are sure to extend visitor stays in the province. It is divided into eight regional routes that will take travellers to the Eastern Cape’s less explored and off-the-beaten-track attractions to discover the heart and soul of the province. The eight regional routes include Baviaans, Tsitsikamma Adventure, Kouga, Frontier Country, Sunshine Coast, Amathole Mountain Escape, the Wild Coast, and Greater Addo.
The province is rich in biodiversity with contrasting landscapes featuring primeval coastal forests and white sandy beaches, diverse wildlife, ancient rock art and Xhosa culture, offering the intrepid explorer an adventure of a lifetime. The benefit of the Coastal Route is that it will highlight not only the Eastern Cape’s well known and iconic attractions such as the Mkhambati Nature Reserve, Addo Elephant National Park and the province’s amazing beaches and surfing spots, but it will also take travellers to some of the undiscovered places of natural beauty. For sand dune enthusiasts, the 6500-year-old Coastal Dune Field found at Alexandria is the largest shifting dune field in the Southern Hemisphere and has been nominated for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other attractions include the Amathole Mountain Escape and Port St Johns, Jewel of the Wild Coast. For those interested in history and culture, tourists can view ancient man-made fish traps at Cape St Frances and experience Grahamstown, a small city that boasts more than 70 heritage sites including a cathedral and the surrounding Victorian and Edwardian shop fronts on the Church Square. Alternatively, you can spend time visiting the final resting place of Sarah (Saartjie) Baartman the “Hottentot Venus” in Hankey, visit the Xhosa cultural hub of the province in the Wild Coast and experience mouth-watering dishes in East London, surrounding game reserves and in Port Alfred. Go jump At Tsitsikamma adrenalin junkies can participate in the third highest commercial bungee jump in the world, take a treetop canopy tour or go black water tubing. Those who like their thrills a little more sedate, can spend a few days at one of the many 5-star game lodges, play golf, go fishing or just relax at a spa.
The Eastern Cape has it all. Other highlights along the Route include Jeffrey’s Bay, home of the best right-hand wave in the world; Port Elizabeth, a water-sport paradise offering every conceivable coastal and marine recreational experience one could think of including the added thrill of deep sea diving to explore a few of the 300 ships wrecked in nearby Algoa Bay. There are six blue flag beaches along the