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I recently had the pleasure of visiting South Africa’s Eastern Cape, a stunning destination nestled between East London to the south and the KwaZulu-Natal border to the north.
The peaceful surroundings and abundance of new adventures make it the perfect getaway for any traveler looking for a unique experience. I love to describe the region as a hidden gem that is often overlooked by travelers, and as I explored further, I was struck by its diverse landscape and rich culture.
My trip was made possible by South African Tourism, and it was an unforgettable experience. Before I start this travelogue, I want to warn you that if you visit the Eastern Cape, you may not pay attention to Johannesburg or Cape Town when you visit South Africa. After touring several landmarks in the Eastern Cape, I understood why the applause was deserved; it is better to experience it yourself.
The province is home to the Xhosa people of the southern African country and is the birthplace of many notable figures such as the late Nelson Mandela.
My trip started with a one-hour flight from Johannesburg to Margate, and I was immediately impressed by the level of development in Margate.
It made me think of the town of Badagry in Nigeria and how similar facilities could have been if the government had done it right. Like Badagry, Margate is a coastal town, the only difference being that it is a carefully planned resort town.
Eastern Cape magic
Margate is a popular seaside destination for tourists, and its economy is based on the flow of visitors. As we walked along the coast to the wild coast, the numerous hotels and picturesque scenery indicated the town’s dependence on tourism.
On another note, I was told that the airport located in KwaZulu-Natal receives a lot of tourists and offers a convenient alternative to Durban’s King Shaka International Airport.
CemAir, the airline I flew on, has only one scheduled flight service, the Margate-Johannesburg route.
The weather in the Eastern Cape is almost predictable, with regular rainfall due to its coastal location. Our tour guide told us that the Eastern Cape is a melting pot of cultures, like Zulu Natal and, surprisingly, Indians. But most importantly, it is suitable for all races. There are five main geographical areas to explore in this region.
These include Frontier Country and the Karoo Heartland, which offer incredible stargazing opportunities. The Sunshine Coast stretches from Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha) to East London, while the Wild Coast is an unspoiled paradise with a true African feel. In addition, the nearby Nature Reserves are among the best in the country.
Wild Coast Sun
the luxury good life Pure happiness These three adjectives best describe this elegant resort hotel located 10 km from the famous Umtamvuna Nature Reserve.
Wild Coast Sun is located on the beach between the Mtamvuna and Mzamba rivers, with stunning views of the Indian Ocean.
One of the highlights of my stay was a visit to the resort’s world-class casino, which offered an array of exciting gaming and entertainment options.
I also took advantage of the resort’s many dining options, sampling delicious local cuisine and decadent desserts. I found myself in a culinary paradise, but I had to keep my weight in mind and not overdo it. While dining at several restaurants in the Wild Coast Sun, I found that South Africans take their beef and chicken seriously, with generous portion sizes and the frequent presence of these proteins in meals. Our host, South African Tourism, also organized Indian, oriental and piano dinners on different days, giving us the opportunity to sample food and drink from different countries.
For those seeking adventure, the resort offers a range of exciting activities including horse riding along the beach, quad biking in the nearby nature reserves and even bungee jumping, an experience I will never forget.
During my stay at Wild Coast Sun, I couldn’t get enough of the breathtaking natural beauty surrounding the resort. The lush forests and stunning coastline seen from my bedroom window became the perfect place to relax and connect with nature. However, I had to be aware of the playful monkeys that visited my veranda from time to time. The resort warned us to lock our doors and windows to prevent access to our rooms.
I had an unforgettable adventure when I joined tourists on a boat along the tranquil Umtamvuna River. The unparalleled beauty of nature was simply awe-inspiring. As we cruised along the R61, the country’s second longest bridge, the Umtamvuna Bridge, came into view. It was fascinating to learn that locals can be in two provinces, namely the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, in one day thanks to this bridge. One of the highlights of the boat ride was the presence of standby masseuses ready to help you relax and unwind.
While on the boat, I was struck by how much Afrobeats has spread outside of Nigeria. I couldn’t help but feel proud when I heard South Africans, especially the Zulus, singing songs by Burna Boy, Adekunle Gold and Wizkid word for word. It was a moment that made me proud to be a Nigerian.
Seat at the table
During my last four-night stay in the Eastern Cape, the South African Tourism Seat at the Table campaign was the highlight of my trip. The annual event showcased some of the area’s most beautiful destinations. It aimed to attract tourists to pre-Covid levels by offering an unforgettable Easter holiday experience.
As part of the Sho’T Left campaign, SA Tourism hosted a delightful event at the Wild Coast Sun beach where guests were treated to an array of music, dance, food and culture unique to the Eastern Cape. Musical performances by Trompies, Kholeka and Young Stunna, along with DJ Naves on the Wheels of Steel created a lively atmosphere that encouraged guests to mingle and dance.
Celebrity chef Wandi also offered guests an unforgettable culinary experience with a three-course meal of duck and lamb dishes. Chef Wandi emphasized the importance of supporting local businesses and showcased South African-inspired dishes that highlighted the unique flavors of the Eastern Cape.
Overall, my experience in the Eastern Cape was one I won’t forget, and I would recommend it to anyone planning a honeymoon, babymoon or vacation. Stay tuned for my next travelogue where I’ll share the thrilling experience of ziplining and overcoming my fears!
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