Wild and rugged, yet brimming with culture and history, South Africa’s second largest province feels like its own country – an exotic and captivating one at that.
The Eastern Cape, situated in the country’s southeast and bordered by the warm Indian Ocean (Cape Town, by the way, is in the Western Cape province) is known for its incredible natural diversity, containing all seven of South Africa’s ecological zones.
What this means is that you have a lot of choices when it comes to your honeymoon.
How about a big-five safari?
National parks and private reserves offer malaria-free safari experiences that replicate the Africa of your imagination. Cuddled with your partner in a jeep under a blanket (yes, it can be cool in the mornings), witness graceful giraffes foraging on the tree tops, elephants partaking in a mud bath or a pride of lions lounging on the top of a cliff overlooking a pristine green valley.
Or maybe you’d prefer the wildness of the ocean?
The Eastern Cape’s more than 800 km of dramatic shoreline attracts surfers, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts of all sorts. Here, you can try a different type of African safari, a marine one, in the coastal waters off Port Elizabeth. In the ocean the big five to photograph (now is the time to invest in a really great camera!) are whales, dolphins, sharks, seals and penguins. Yes, only 6.5 km offshore is St. Croix island, where there are 22,000 breeding pairs of these waddling black and white cuties.
Or perhaps you’d like to explore the human and cultural side of the region?
The province has a rich cultural legacy and strong ties to Xhosa (a Bantu ethnic group) traditions. Nelson Mandela was born here; and the rural, pastoral landscape dotted with traditional, colourful homes is a beautiful and fascinating place to explore.
But why choose between culture and nature or elephants and penguins for that matter? You can do it all on your honeymoon in South Africa’s Eastern Cape.
5 things to do in South Africa
- Visit Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa’s third-largest national reserve with one of the world’s highest densities of elephants.
- Tour the village of Qunu, Mandela’s childhood home, and learn about Xhosa culture at the Icamagu Institute on a local Imonti Tour.
- Watch the penguins dive from the rocks off St. Croix island on a Raggy Charters Marine Safari
- Experience a luxury safari at the Safari Lodge at the Amakhala Game Reserve. Big-five adventure with four-star wilderness accommodation, including private plunge pools, stocked fridges and four-poster beds.
- Get your cultural kicks on Port Elizabeth’s Route 67, an initiative to honour Mandela’s 67 years in politics through art-based projects.