ENDLESS SUMMER IN THE EASTERN CAPE
Wednesday, 8th January 2020
If you’ve spent a summer in the Eastern Cape, you’ll know this feeling: you’ve just jumped out of a cool shower, your skin warmed from time spent in the sun, freshly scrubbed of seawater and sand. A balmy evening around the braai stretches ahead of you and, perhaps, an early morning swim or fish. While the majority of South Africans may holiday in the Eastern Cape over the high season in December, you can enjoy this feeling almost year-round, due to our mild and pleasant climate. When you’re travelling in the Eastern Cape, you’ll always want to pack a swimsuit and sunscreen and leave your stress at home! To whet your appetite for many more months of summer, an almost endless summer, here are our Super Seven for the 2020 summer season…
Jeffrey’s Bay, in Kouga, is the undisputed home of surfing in South Africa and one of the most famous breaks in the world. This once-sleepy fishing village has gained a reputation for the perfect wave and has hosted many a contest on the World Pro Tour. Fanatics from across the world visit the warm waters of J-Bay to surf the famous ‘Supertubes’ and beginners visit to immerse themselves in the rich surf culture and try their hand at the sport with one of the local surf schools. All around, this is a pretty epic way to spend your summer.
Tsitsikamma offers summer visitors a number of cool experiences under the shelter of the forest canopy. Tsitsikamma also has a simply stunning coastline and the ancient Storms River Gorge, ensuring that you’ll want to get wet! Instead of whitewater rafting, Tsitsikamma has something equally enticing: blackwater tubing! Choose from a serene tubing and stand-up paddling option through the Plaatbos Nature Reserve or follow the coke-coloured fresh water to the ocean by tubing all the way to Storms River Mouth. Can anyone say ‘Cowabunga’?
Although Addo has plenty of extreme sports to keep you screaming - sandboarding, zipline, giant swing, there’s also something about the region that inspires visitors to slow down to the rhythm of the Eastern Cape. Safaris, either on land or on the river, are enjoyed at a pace that allows visitors to take in their surroundings, breathe in the golden air and seek out all sorts of wildlife. The Nukakamma Canoe Expedition is a self-guided overnight trail along the Sundays River. You’re able to spend your day paddling this wide, meandering river – stopping for a swim and spotting birds and monkeys – overnight in a rustic cabin, complete with braai facilties, before paddling back the next day. Simple perfection.
When the Karoo sun beats down, there are few places better than to immersed in cool, fresh water and what better way to cool down and take in the vast expanses of the Karoo Heartland than a river rafting excursion? Take on the wild rapids and meandering waters of the Great Brak and Fish rivers; trips range from 4km – 16km of pristine and thrilling rivers with overnight accommodation at the charming river cabins. Remember the week you spent in the Karoo river rafting? That will be a story to tell for years to come!
ROUTE 72 ON THE SUNSHINE COAST
The Sunshine Coast is perhaps one of the lesser-exposed jewels of the Eastern Cape. It’s named the Sunshine Coast as it averages 320 sunny days out of 365, which is pretty incredible by itself! But add to that kilometres of pristine beaches, charming seaside villages and wide meandering rivers and you’ve got yourself a summer holiday winner. The most popular rivers on this stretch are the Bushmans and Kariega rivers of Kenton, the Kowie River in Port Alfred and Fish River, just outside Port Alfred. One way to take in the indigenous flora and fauna, catch a tan and slow down to the rhythm of the tide is to stand-up paddle. Rent a board, take a lesson or bring your own – there are plenty of options, and endless kilometres of blue-green river to explore!
As one of South Africa’s wildest regions, the Wild Coast offers visitors plenty of opportunities to enjoy its temperate climate on the water, at the water’s edge or under the water. It’s a popular destination for surfing, swimming, paddling (on the estuaries), fishing, rock jumping and waterfall-exploring. However, the very essence of our Eastern Cape Endless Summer is the Sardine Run – bang in the middle of winter! Every June & July, the Wild Coast hosts enthusiastic scuba divers, nature-lovers and film crews from across the globe for the Greatest Shoal on Earth and, while mornings can be quite fresh as the sun rises, balmy days and warm waters await during this natural spectacle of sardines, whales, sharks, birds and dolphins.
AMATHOLE MOUNTAIN ESCAPE
Due to its altitude and inland location, the Amathole region is one of the few in the Eastern Cape that experiences true cold snaps during the winter months. However, these are short-lived and book-ended by blissfully cool days spent under the forest canopy exploring streams, gardens and waterfalls, swimming in cool forest pools. If you do happen to visit in the deepest of winter months, the Hogsback Winter Festival will be a toasty and magical reprieve, and, hopefully, a dusting of snow!
WHERE WILL YOU BE VISITING TO CELEBRATE THE EASTERN CAPE'S ENDLESS SUMMER?