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Eastern Cape

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The Eastern Cape, South Africa, is a place of rugged beauty. Its pristine coastline, virgin bush and sub-tropical forests exist as though untouched by time. It’s the home of Africa’s Big Five and South African surfing, and the birthplace of Nelson Mandela. It boasts many natural, historical and cultural attractions and activities.

Stretching from the snow-capped peaks of the southern Drakensberg to the lush forests of Tsitsikamma and flanked by the Indian Ocean, it's not surprising the Eastern Cape, South Africa, is described is a province of great extremes.

Its natural diversity is second to none: the Eastern Cape incorporates parts of all 7 ecological zones that occur in South Africa and features all 3 of the country's biodiversity regions, which is further enhanced by its 820 kilometres of untamed, if not wild, coastline.

This heralds a colourful assortment of fauna and flora, including Africa's Big Five; an abundance of birdlife, with hundreds of recorded species; and a rich and varied marine life, including 27 species of whales and dolphins.

The Eastern Cape is steeped in cultural and historical significance and stories of Xhosa kings, early settlers, cultural conflicts and frontier battles abound. As the birthplace of Nelson Mandela, the province is also noted for its role in fuelling the fight for African democracy.

To assist visitors in exploring the province, 9 Eastern Cape tourism routes have been established. These not only highlight its wealth of natural beauty and deep historical roots, but a number of must-see Eastern Cape attractions as well.

Visit Tsitsikamma and do the world's highest commercial bungee jump or renowned Otter Trail; see the Sundays River Valley with the world-famous Greater Addo Elephant National Park and 120 000 hectare marine reserve; or stopover at the aptly named Wild Coast, birthplace of Nelson Mandela and home to the Nelson Mandela Museum.

Do the Frontier Country route and see the sites of Britain's longest colonial war; or the Karoo Heartland and immerse yourself in the intriguing geology of the region, including the awe-inspiring Valley of Desolation. Looking for snow? Head out on the Friendly N6 route and visit the southern Drakensberg mountains.

Wild, beautiful and totally absorbing - a world of wonder awaits the visitor in South Africa's Eastern Cape.

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