INSTAGRAM HEAVEN - 10 PHOTO SPOTS IN THE EASTERN CAPE

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Wednesday, 30th May 2018

If you point your camera in any direction in the Eastern Cape one thing is clear; the province is incredibly photogenic and beams while striking natural poses. There’s a photo opportunity around every corner; from the mountain tops, to the city lights, the long stretches of golden sandy beaches and small town streets, into the forests and the sheer immensity of the night’s sky. 

It is lights, camera, action wherever you go - zoom there, focus here, capture this, hashtag that - every picture tells a story and here are but ten iconic photo spots from the Eastern Cape’s treasure trove of picture-worthy (and Instagrammable) stories.

1. STORMS RIVER SUSPENSION BRIDGE

Situated in Africa’s oldest Marine Protected Area, the 77m long suspension bridge, built in 1969, has long been the draw card for many Garden Route road trippers. Crossing the swaying bridge is just one of the rewards after the short forest hike; the nature-and seascape views will leave you in awe. Or take a kayak and lilo trip beneath the bridge and up into the ancient Storms River Gorge. 

You can also enjoy: The Mouth Trail continues after the bridge with a steep climb to a lookout point, and there are also three other trails to enjoy in the park. Just 15 km to the east you’ll find Storms River Village with numerous restaurants and guest houses, more hiking trails and a plethora of adventure activities, such as Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours and Tsitsikamma Segway Tours.

Storms River Suspension Bridge Tsitsikamma

Image: Untouched Adventures

2. HOLE IN THE WALL

A trip to the Wild Coast won’t be complete without a visit to one of the most unique landmarks along South Africa’s coastline: a cliff, completely detached from the land, with a natural arch aptly named ‘Hole in the Wall’. While there is geological reasoning behind the phenomenon, there are also a few local explanations of Xhosa legends and the belief that it is the gateway to the world of their ancestors.

You can also enjoy:  Explore other villages along the Wild Coast and their Xhosa traditions, take a drumming lesson in Coffee Bay, do a day hike to the Mapuzi Caves or a multi-day coastal hike and learn to surf in Coffee Bay (if you’re a seasoned surfer why not catch a wave at the Hole in the Wall?).

Hole in the Wall Anje Rautenbach

Image: Going Somewhere Slowly

3. THE BIG PINEAPPLE

Bathurst is home to the biggest man-made pineapple in the world and it stands nearly 17 metres tall, complete with a gift shop, a display of the history of the pineapple industry and a view point, all inside the pineapple.

You can also enjoy: Bathurst is more than just pineapples; visit the town’s art galleries, the agricultural museum and grab a drink from the Pig and Whistle Inn, the oldest licensed pub in South Africa. Explore the rest of the frontier country with a visit to Grahamstown, the city of saints, and head to the beaches of the Sunshine Coast in Port Alfred.

The Big Pineapple Anje Rautenbach

 

Image: Going Somewhere Slowly

4. THE VALLEY OF DESOLATION

The Valley of Desolation was formed hundreds of millions of years ago by volcanic and erosive forces and its panoramic views of Graaff-Reinet and structured piles of dolerite columns will leave you in a timeless sense of wonder. Game viewing in Camdeboo National Park, hiking trails and 4x4 routes can also be enjoyed in the area. 

You can also enjoy: Graaff-Reinet boasts the title of one of South Africa’s oldest towns and it is filled with history, museums and impressive architecture like the Dutch Reformed Church in the town’s centre. A short drive from town will bring you to the world-renowned Owl House of Helen Martins in Nieu Bethesda.

valley_of_desolation_anje_rautenbach

Image: Going Somewhere Slowly

5. THE WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS BATH

Imagine taking a warm bath on the edge of a cliff, in the middle of almost nowhere, with nature and a magnificent view of the Amathole Mountains as your entertainment! If you’re visiting Hogsback, this scenario does not only have to live in your imagination but can become a reality thanks to the opportunity to ‘rent-a-bath’. Needless to say, this bath has been dubbed as the world’s most famous bath.  

You can also enjoy: Hogsback is home to a number of hiking trails and waterfalls to explore and, of course, a whole lot of myths, magic and fairies. If you venture a bit further to Cata Village you can experience life in a rural Xhosa village in the form of a homestay, or try your luck on the golf course at the foot of the Katberg Mountains.

 

bathImage: Away with the Fairies

6. CATCH A WAVE

If being in the water is where you feel most at home then you are spoiled for choice with the Eastern Cape’s beaches. Jeffreys Bay (as well as its next door neighbour St. Francis Bay) is known as one of the best surfing destinations in the world, and plays host to numerous surfing competitions with its long and fast tubing breaks.

You can also enjoy: There’s more to the area than surfing. If you explore a bit further you can visit the mighty, kob-filled Gamtoos River and the small town of Gamtoos Valley, also known as the fruit basket of the Eastern Cape. For hikers there is the 4-day slackpacking “Chokka Trail” from Oyster Bay to Cape St. Francis.

Jeffreys_Bay_Janet_Middleton

Image: Janet Middleton

7. WATERFALL BLUFF

There are only 19 waterfalls in the world falling directly into the sea, and Waterfall Bluff between Port St Johns and the Mkambathi Nature Reserve, is the only one in South Africa. While the waterfall forms part of the 280 km Wild Coast Hiking Trail, it can also be reached on a strenuous yet scenic, guided day hike from Mbotyi or Mkambathi; but don’t fear, the sight of fresh water cascading into the ocean, the Cathedral Rock and the lesser-known “secret waterfall”, will be worth every drop of sweat.

You can also enjoy: Explore the coast of north-eastern Pondoland beyond Waterfall Bluff and enjoy unspoiled nature, birdwatching, canoeing, fishing and other waterfalls in Mkhambati. Visit the well-known beaches of Port St Johns and another geological phenomenon, the blowhole.

waterfall_bluff

Image: Wild Coast Holidays

8. THE 8 PASSES

The northern parts of the Eastern Cape boast some of South Africa’s highest mountain passes and the area is seen as the ultimate playground for dare devils and adrenaline junkies: be it in a 4x4, on a mountain bike or even on a snowboard. It is also the epitome of a scenic picture-perfect postcard; some of the highest passes in the Eastern Cape highlands include Joubert’s Pass, Lundean’s Nek Pass, Naude’s Nek Pass, Carlislehoek Pass, Bastervoetpad and the Barkly Pass.  (Take note that some of these passes do not only require a 4x4 vehicle, but also off-road skills.)

You can also enjoy: Test your balance at Tiffendell Ski Resort and stop by the small Victorian town of Rhodes which offers visitors the opportunity to explore nearby passes, go wild trout flyfishing, birding and hiking.

carlisleshoekpass_sa_venues.jpg

Image: SA Venues

9. HAPOOR DAM

The elephants of Addo Elephant National Park are synonymous with the Eastern Cape and it is merely impossible to not spot an elephant in the park. The Hapoor Dam, named after a dominant bull in the park’s early days, has been entertainment central for thousands of visitors to the park over the years. At Hapoor Dam (and other waterholes) up to a hundred elephants can often be seen splashing around in water and mud. 

You can also enjoy: Addo Elephant National Park is in close proximity to Sundays River Valley, the city of Port Elizabeth and the Alexandria Dune Field, which, at 80 km in length, is the largest coastal dune field in the Southern Hemisphere.

harpoordamaddoanjerautenbach.jpg

Image: Going Somewhere Slowly

10. BAVIAANSKLOOF

The Baviaanskloof does not only have the most perfect, not-so-perfect roads for off-roaders but it is also a biodiverse haven of untouched natural scenery. The mega reserve of 210 000 hectares has seven out of eight of South Africa’s biomes and is home to the most diverse species of plants per square kilometer.

You can also enjoy: Due to the condition of the roads in Baviaanskloof it is best to take your time and slowly make your way through the kloof. Upon arrival or departure you can either explore Willowmore or Patensie in the Gamtoos Valley. If time and fitness is on your side, put on your hiking boots for the 4-day Leopard Hiking Trail.

baviaanskloofanje_rautenbach.jpg

Image: Going Somewhere Slowly

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE TO READ:

10 AMAZING AERIAL PHOTOS OF THE EASTERN CAPE





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