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Eastern Cape

Eastern Cape Destination Guide

Exclusively Elegant Travel Since 1988

For more information, please call our Luxury Travel Specialists on:01244 897 111

Your guide from the Luxury Travel Specialists

Welcome to the Elegant Resorts Destination Guide for Eastern Cape, created to help make your choice of luxury holiday as easy as possible. Here, you will find more detailed factual information about the destination you have selected.

If you require further information, not featured on this page, please call one of our Luxury Travel Specialists.


Language English, Afrikaans
Time Difference 2 hours
Currency South African Rand
Voltage 230V

Nestled between the Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal, bordered by Orange River and the beautiful Drakensburg mountains, the Eastern Cape offers a gloriously eclectic mix of landscapes and attractions - including tropical forests, sun-scorched deserts, pristine beaches, private game reserves, national parks, charming coastal towns, championship golf courses, fantastic water sports and mesmerising marine-life. Less developed that its western counterpart, the Eastern Cape is rich in culture and history, and is the birthplace of Nelson Mandela.

The capital city, Port Elizabeth, is the region’s main gateway, framed by the dazzling shores of Algoa Bay. Highlights include scenic nature trails, golden beaches, a rich heritage and a unique coastal climate. For wildlife enthusiasts, just a stone’s throw away, you can encounter Africa’s ‘Big 5’, as well as dolphins and migrating whales. Further afield, discover delightful little towns in the semi-arid Karoo and intriguing settlements on the Wild Coast. If you’re keen to explore the ‘real’ South Africa, or simply fancy a family adventure somewhere different, the Eastern Cape deserves a closer look.


Elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo – the ‘Big 5’ all reside in the Eastern Cape, in a malaria-free environment, making it ideal for families. The birdlife here is wonderful, too; encounter species that may be entirely new to you, such as the White-Fronted Bee-Eater. Notable conservation areas include the Addo Elephant Park and Shamwari on Bushman’s River, our featured private game reserve, about an hour from Port Elizabeth. Along the coast, meanwhile, the ocean is rich in marine-life and there is a good chance that you will glimpse dolphins and the occasional whale from the beach – Algoa Bay is an easy outing and a favoured spot with Orcas, Humpbacks and Southern Rights.


The Eastern Cape’s coastline skirts the Indian Ocean for 800km; highlights include Algoa Bay and the Port Elizabeth region, where some 40km of sensational beaches act as a magnet for lovers of water sports. The sea is warm and there is a pleasant breeze, making swimming, sailing, windsurfing and surfing all popular pastimes. Top picks for surfers include The Pipe, Millers Point, The Fence and Bluewater Bay – a truly wild and wonderful location for enthusiasts or spectators. Algoa Bay is also a mecca for sailing and diving, boasting shipwrecks, vibrant coral and abundant fish.


Mother Nature has crafted some of her finest handiwork in the Eastern Cape, and its huge variety of scenic topography is a characteristic of the area. The Tsitsikamma Forest is a must-visit, often described as the ‘Garden of the Garden Route’, an amazing ecosystem full of ancient trees towering over moss, ferns and fragile fungi. Other highlights include the rugged landscapes of the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area, the parched Great Karoo, the incredible Drakensberg peaks and the everchanging settings along the Wild Coast - an untamed and beautiful coastline punctuated with desolate beaches, secluded bays, rugged cliffs and velvet-green peninsulas.


The Eastern Cape is a good choice for golfers, offering a selection of excellent courses close to Shamwari. Particularly special courses include Bushman Sands, an 18-hole Gary Player classic, as well as the Port Elizabeth Golf Course, the country’s second oldest club, affectionately called ‘The Hill’. On the outskirts of town, the Humewood Golf Course boasts fast greens, rolling fairways and fantastic ocean views.

Travel Gems+

Travel Planning
Our Travel Consultants can advise on, arrange and pre-book many things to enhance your holiday. This includes everything from spa reservations and dinner reservations, to a range of special experiences available in our featured resorts that you may not know about.


Due to the geographical position and size of the Eastern Cape, the climate varies considerably, though, as a rule of thumb, the further inland you travel, the hotter and drier it gets, while the further east you travel, the wetter and more humid it becomes. At Shamwari, sub-tropical and Mediterranean climates combine, making it a good place to visit year-round. The dry season here falls between September and March, followed by cooler seasons until August.

Winter (April to August): Daytime temperatures range from 7⁰ C, with midday recordings hovering around 22⁰ C thanks to ample sunshine. Nights are cold.
Summer (September to March): Daytime temperatures range from 16⁰ C to 36⁰ C, with a pleasant breeze.

Temperature Guide

These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Eastern Cape.

  Temp °C Rain mm

Getting There+

Flight Information
British Airways from London Heathrow to Port Elizabeth (via Johannesburg).

Flight Time
From London Heathrow to Johannesburg: 10 hours, 50 minutes.
Onward connecting flight from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth: 1 hour, 40 minutes.

Travel Documentation+

Travelling With Children or Without an Adult

Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.

Visa and Advance Passenger Information

All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.

New rules apply with regards to children travelling to South Africa. Parents travelling with children under the age of 18 will be asked to show the child’s full unabridged birth certificate. The full unabridged birth certificate should list the child's details and both parents details. The abridged (short) birth certificate which only lists the child's particulars won't be accepted. The South African Department of Home Affairs are not accepting uncertified copies of birth certificates, passports or copies of parents/guardians identification.

Where one parent is accompanying, in addition to the unabridged birth certificate there will be a need for parental or legal consent for the child to travel for example an affidavit from the other parent,(a letter from the parent witnessed and stamped by a solicitor), court order, or if applicable a death certificate . A copy of the parent's passport is also required signed and stamped by a solicitor.

Where a person is travelling with a child who is not their biological child, they must provide the unabridged birth certificate for the child, affidavit from the child's parents or legal guardian giving consent and copies of the identity documents or passport of the parents or legal guardian.

For further information or any other requirements please check the government website.  

Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.

For up-to-date resort information, visit


Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit Insect and tick bite avoidance. In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations i.e, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling. Visit the FCDO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: Foreign Travel Advice. Additional sources of information include: Public Health England, The National Travel Health And Network Centre, Foreign And Commonwealth Office and your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.

Talk to our Asia, Australasia and Africa experts

Our dedicated Asia, Australasia and Africa experts are ready to help you design your luxury holiday to Eastern Cape. Furthermore, we have many Luxury Travel Specialists who've personally visited Eastern Cape and can offer you their first-hand knowledge and experience.

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