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Friday, 23rd November 2018

The Eastern Cape is not shy when it comes to incredible food – from the lamb of the Karoo to the calamari of the coast – and while this province serves a decent decadent slice of some of South Africa’s best restaurants, sometimes you just have to turn back the clock and get back to the basics of the good old days of padkos and picnics.

So get out your basket, stock it with your favourite treats, grab a blanket and head out to one of these picnic spots in the Eastern Cape this summer where good views, great conversation and scenic surroundings to create everlasting memories, get together.

Ready? Set? Picnic!

Next to the Sundays River

Have a picnic or a braai on the banks of the Sundays River when visiting Pearson Park Resort in Colchester, just a stone’s throw from Port Elizabeth and the southern entrance of Addo Elephant National Park. Pearson Park Resort is a popular camping and day visitor spot where you can cast a fishing line, hire a canoe, roll down a dune (or opt for a sandboard instead) and go on a boat cruise. There’s a supermarket and a restaurant close by if you need to pick up some picnic snacks.


Into the woods of Tsistikamma

While the coast of Tsitsikamma offers postcard-perfect picnic settings, why not go deep into the forest on a Woodcutters’ Journey? The trip will take you through the indigenous forest, along an ancient elephant migratory route and it’s filled with historic sites like the face of the Forest Guard tree, facts and fauna and flora delights. You can either opt for a lunch time trip (which includes lunch, drinks and dessert) or a tea time picnic with drinks and dessert. If you prefer something more active get your hiking boots on, throw picnic snacks in a backpack and set off on a hiking trail.


On a dune in Oyster Bay

Put your indicator on and turn away from the beaten path as you make your way to Oyster Bay, a paradise of unspoiled coastal beauty and the perfect setting to share a bottle of bubbles with a loved one. While Oyster Bay Lodge offers horse riding and a beach dune safari for sundowners, birding and whale watching, you can also enjoy a picnic on a private viewing deck with a prepared basket delivered to you on horseback.


Between wildlife in Cradock

Mountain Zebra National Park makes for a great overnight trip or day trip from Cradock, and the picnic spot boasts a swimming pool to cool off when you feel like escaping the Karoo heat while searching for lions, cheetahs and more along the flat topped hills and open vistas. Come geared with a picnic basket or get a few snacks from the Park Shop.


Head for a beach in Kenton-on-Sea

Get out that big beach umbrella, put on your flips flops, pack you cooler box and don’t forget the sunscreen as you make your way to one of Kenton's beaches; it is one of the Eastern Cape’s best kept beach secrets complete with mermaid pools, green belt and is bordered by the Kariega and Bushmans rivers. If salty summer seaside fun is what you are looking for, Kenton is your answer!

At the Lady Grey Dam

Lady Grey is a quaint town in the Eastern Cape highlands known for its natural scenery, mountain passes, art and of course, its snow-capped mountain peaks… but there’s no doubt that it can also put on a sundress in summer. If you are visiting the town and looking to cool off and have a picnic, why not visit the Lady Grey Dam? This dam was built almost a century ago, there is a picnic site with braai facilities, a rock pool and a natural staircase that allows you to scale the wall of the dam.


Into the wilderness of the Great Fish Nature Reserve

Not too far from Grahamstown a pristine wilderness, rich in history and biodiversity, waits you in at the Great Fish Nature Reserve and while the dense sub-tropical thicket might make game viewing a tad bit difficult, there is plenty of tranquility to make the world go round. Take it all in at one of the picnic sites and don’t forget the binoculars if you are an avid birdwatcher.


Make your way to Mbotyi

If you are looking for a backdrop of either rolling hills, lush forest, waterfalls or the ocean for your perfect picnic there is no need to just pick one when visiting Mbotyi on the Wild Coast; here you have it all! Mbotyi River Lodge offers picnic baskets for bird watchers, or you can arrange something or pack your own as you explore the hiking trails to one of the many waterfalls, try your fishing luck, explore the lagoon on canoe, the area by bike or by off-road adventure. There is no end when comes to the scenery of the Wild Coast and there is no end in choices when it comes to finding your picnic bliss.


Under the falls and into the forest in Hogsback

The Hogsback Arboretum is a haven for tree huggers and nature lovers alike or just anyone who needs a bit of an escape. The garden was established over a century ago and is the home of several trees from all over the world and it also forms the gateway to the 39 Steps Waterfall. So whether you want to drop a blanket under a tree or eat your sarmie to the melody of crashing water, make yourself ready for some tranquility. Stock up on some handmade Belgian chocolate for dessert from The Chocolate Shoppe before you head out on your picnic.


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