Eastern Cape invites you

Whether you're in the mood for an informal seaside escape, an encounter with the Big Five, or a choice of scintillating city diversions, you're sure to find what you're looking for in the Eastern Cape.

Whether you're in the mood for an informal seaside escape, an encounter with the Big Five, or a choice of scintillating city diversions, you're sure to find what you're looking for in the Eastern Cape.

Scenic diversity is one of the most striking characteristics of the region, ranging from the lush, evergreen Tsitsikamma Forest to the rugged Baviaanskloof wilderness area, the southern slopes of the Drakensberg and the arid Great Karoo.

Alternating between sweeping sand, river mouths and rocks, the coastline is a paradise for water-sports enthusiasts where surfers ride the perfect waves, anglers reel in king-size catches, and board sailors revel in the challenge of the wind in year-round sunshine.

When pleasures of a more sophisticated kind appeal, you'll find plenty to entertain you in Port Elizabeth and East London.

Both are ideal for family holidays and large enough to offer all the amenities of a city, yet small enough to be genuinely welcoming and friendly.

They also provide convenient access to unspoiled areas of exceptional natural beauty.

Port Elizabeth

Superbly set on the shores of Algoa Bay, the "Friendly City" is the fifth biggest city in South Africa and the largest on the coast between Cape Town and Durban. It beckons with an attractive atmosphere of year-round holiday fun against a backdrop of urban activity.

Algoa Bay encourages all forms of water sport, including snorkelling and scuba diving.

The beaches are always alive with sun worshippers, and conditions are excellent for surfing, sailing, diving and angling. Close by, the Swartkops River offers endless opportunities.

Port Elizabeth has beautiful parks, botanical gardens and nature reserves with an abundance of bird life and many inland and coastal walking trails can be explored in the area.

In Port Elizabeth, the 1820 Settlers built some of the graceful period homes that still enhance the city's landscape. Since then, the tiny settlement has grown into a busy commercial, industrial and educational city with attractive shops, parks, theatres, museums and restaurants.

After exploring the city of Port Elizabeth, a day trip can be made to the beautiful Tsitsikamma Park with its stunning views.

Addo Elephant National Park supports about 200 elephants, Cape buffalo, black rhino, kudu and more than 180 South African bird species. From a historical and architectural points of view, Grahamstown and Graaff-Reinet should not be missed.

East London

South Africa's only river-port city is set on the broad Buffalo River and one of the most attractive stretches of the Eastern Cape seaboard. East London's sweeping beaches are unpolluted, uncrowded and unspoilt. Swimming, sailing, water-skiing, boardsailing and boating are enjoyed all year, while the river mouths, lagoons and gullies are an angler's paradise.

East London is the ideal base from which to explore the north-eastern mountains and the Wild Coast. When the sun goes down, there are theatres, cinemas and a selection of restaurants to pamper palates.

Eastern Cape - Western Region

The coastline from Port Alfred to the Tsitsikamma National Park is a place of awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur. On the outskirts of the forest, the gentle Langkloof is renowned for its orchards and a rich indigenous flora.

In the hinterland, the Great Karoo landscape epitomises the essence of Africa and sheep and game farming are carried out on a grand scale in the region where dinosaurs roamed the plains, and left in their wake many fossils.

The tranquil landscape of Settler Country invites a close scrutiny of its intriguing background of conflict, courage, despair and success.

This is where the Xhosa, Dutch and British first met, leading at first to frequent clashes and later to a cultural learning curve and mutual acceptance. - savenues.com