South Africa's Eastern Cape is an area of outstanding beauty, with a pristine coastline fringed by untouched bushveld and sub-tropical forests. And, to the north of Port Elizabeth, the Eastern Cape's game reserves offer malaria-free Big Five game viewing.
Shark Rock Pier, Port Elizabeth
Port Elizabeth is the Eastern Cape's urban hub – a city blessed with heritage buildings and a coastline home to sandy beaches and some excellent surf spots. There's also the chance to spot wildlife in the bay, including whales and dolphins, which visit this stretch of the Sunshine Coast year round.
Eastern Cape Game Reserves
Rhinos, Eastern Cape
For Big-Five viewing in South Africa, the Eastern Cape's game reserves might come second to Kruger National Park, but, with no malaria and easy access by car from the Garden Route, they're a popular choice, especially with families. Whether it's a day trip up to Addo Elephant National Park – the third-largest national park in South Africa – or a luxury stay in one of the region's private reserves, Kariega, Kwandwe, Shamwari, and Amakhala, you can expect outstanding wildlife encounters, from watching huge elephant herds to watching spotted hyenas, which were reintroduced to the region in 2003.
Eastern Cape Karoo
Zebra, Mountain Zebra National Park, Eastern Cape Karoo
Empty and relatively unexplored, the Eastern Cape hinterland – known as the Karoo – offers a glimpse of life in South Africa's rural heartland. Here, vast farms play host to sheep, goats, ostriches and the occasional wandering springbok. There are zebras, too, in the Mountain Zebra National Park where a herd of several hundred share the plains with blesbok, wildebeest and buffalo. Then, higher up, the descendants of tribes live among the rocky canyons and dry mountains of Cambedoo National Park and its Valley of Desolation.