This province is home to the Big Seven: buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, rhino, great white shark and southern right whale. Explore the region’s many game reserves as an extension to your Garden Route tour. In the eastern part of the province, you’ll can still find traditional Xhosa villages, while its 1000-kilometre coastline is wild and undeveloped. If you’re following the footsteps of Madiba, the Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthatha, and Qunu, his birthplace southwest of the town, are obvious ports of call.
Port Elizabeth is the province’s commercial centre, principally used to start or end your Garden Route trip. St Francis Bay offers luxurious beach accommodation while Jeffrey’s Bay has perhaps the most perfect surfing waves in the world. An hour’s drive inland from Port Elizabeth lie some of the province’s best game conservancies, among them Addo Elephant National Park, a huge reserve where good elephant sightings are almost guaranteed. Addo and the surrounding private reserves are among the few South African parks that are malaria-free throughout the year. The hinterland to the north takes in areas settled by English immigrants shipped out in the 1820s to found a new British colony. Quaint, Victorian Grahamstown glories is the spiritual home of English-speaking South Africa and plays host to Africa’s biggest arts festival.