Luzuko Pongoma

Luzuko Pongoma

The Eastern Cape is known for a rich history of politics. But the province also boasts its own natural beauty which has been the focus of the people of South Africa and the world lately.

Being the biggest province, the Eastern Cape has it all, game reserves, big rivers and tree sanctuaries that are an attraction to hundreds of small and medium animals and bird species.

For peace and tranquility Hogsback is a best destination to relax at. With a number of bed and breakfast and lodges to choose from, this area is a proper hideout if you want to run away from the busy, noisy streets of the urban area. With most of the accommodation hidden between the Hogsback Mountains, the area offers a breath of fresh, clean air.

Hogsback is not just an immaculate place, it offers mountain climbing and hiking through the deep forest adjacent to the Tyume river.

If you feel the need for spiritual fulfilment there is the Ecoshrine. The shrine has no specific religion and can be visited by everyone. Promoting togetherness between people and nature, the shrine offers a new look at the earth with paintings and art made out of natural plants. To conclude the day you can visit a spa.

IMpuma Koloni, as the province is widely known, is one of the few places in the country that manages to blend wild life and beaches. The Wild Coast Jikeleza tourist route near Chintsa offers the big five and uncrowned beaches for the family to enjoy.

Situated 20km from East London, the place is a heaven of accommodation. Every soul has its heaven in the Wild Coast as it offers accommodation from bed and breakfast, sea cottages, resort, log inn, backpackers, lodges, caravan parks and beach clubs.

For entertainment you will also be spoilt for choice. There is surfing, mountain climbing and quad and motor bike riding for the wild at heart. There is golf and fishing for the cool and calm. Families can choose from elephant riding, boat riding, mountain biking, and picnic by the sea or in the wild.

A tour is not complete until you learn about the culture and tradition of the Xhosa people. Former teacher Winifred Tofu is an expert in the field.

The 90-year-old from Ngxingxolo village near Qumra provides information on the culture and tradition of the Xhosa people in a witty manner.

Still in Ngxinxolo you will also indulge in Xhosa dishes, like isigezenge (bread made of maize), umnqgusho, imifino and intyabontyi. To finish the perfect meal you will wash it down with umqombothi (traditional beer).

Tofu works with her four daughters and 20 crafters to bring the art of the Xhosa alive and sell it at a reasonable price.

Tofu said: "I feel proud when I am telling other South Africans about the Xhosa way of life because every nation has its own and they will appreciate and respect Xhosa tradition."

Eastern Cape Tourism Board head of marketing Eddie Marafane says the province is ready to entertain and accommodate visitors during the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

"The province was required to reserve 27000 beds for the visitors and we have exceeded the number by 2000," he said.

Marafane says the province has a relaxed mood and is good for employment and tourism.

He says the tourism board is engaging with South African Airways and Onetime Airline to make the province more accessible, especially to South Africans.

For more information visit www.ectourism.co.za