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There is no better place in the world to have a holiday than South Africa. For independent information, advice and facts about going on holiday to South Africa visit www.southafricaholiday.org.uk
South Africa Holiday: The Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe travels along the Eastern Cape coast

South Africa Holiday: Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape in South Africa boasts a remarkable natural diversity, ranging from the lush evergreen Tsitsikamma forest to the southern slopes of the Drakensberg and the arid Great Karoo.

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Eastern Cape is one of nine provinces in South Africa. It was formed after the first free elections in 1994 from the Transkei and Ciskei Bantustans and the eastern part of the former Cape Province. This is the land of rolling hills, endless sweeps of rocky coves and sandy beaches, towering mountain ranges and verdant forests.
Click to see a detailed map of Eastern Cape Province in South Africa
It is the traditional home of the amaXhosa, and the birthplace of many prominent South Africans including Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Thabo Mbeki.
The Eastern Cape is located on the south eastern seaboard of South Africa and is the second largest province. With an area of 170,600km it represents 14% of South Africa's land mass.
The population of the Eastern Cape is nearly seven million, representing 16.4% of the total South African population. The language spoken by most is isiXhosa, followed by Afrikaans and English.
The major cities and towns in the Eastern Cape are Buffalo City (a new municipality incorporating Bhisho, East London and King William's Town), Cradock, Graaff-Reinet, Grahamstown, Port Elizabeth, Queenstown and Mthatha (Umtata).
The capital, Bhisho, is 60km inland from East London. The ports of East London and Port Elizabeth are centres of the two largest industrial regions of the province.
The Eastern Cape climate varies from mild temperate conditions (14-23C) along the coastal areas to slightly more extreme conditions (5-35C) among the inland areas, with the inland mountain areas experiencing winter (June to August) snows and summer (December to February) rainfalls.
The Eastern Cape offers a wide range of attractions, including 800km of untouched coastline and major National Parks.
The Addo Elephant National Park, 70km north of Port Elizabeth, offers fantastic "big-five" viewing in a malaria-free environment.
The Tsitsikamma National Park is an 80km coastal strip between Nature's Valley and the mouth of the Storms River.
The Camdedo National Park includes the Valley of Desolation with its fantastic examples of dolerite pillars.
The 11-day National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in June/July is the largest arts festival in Africa. Some of the leading talent in South Africa and internationally arrives here each year for a celebration of culture and artistic expression.
South Africa Holiday: Valley of DesolationThe coastline in mainly rugged interspersed with pristine beaches. The western interior is mostly semi-arid Karoo, with temperate rainforest in the south-west Tsitsikamma region. 
The central and north-east parts of the province are much greener, with hills or mountains. Sneeuberge, Stormberge, Winterberge and Drakensberg are located between Graaff-Reinet and Rhodes. The highest point in the province is Ben Macdhui at 3001m.
Eastern Cape provincial coat of arms
The eastern parts of the province from East London up to the KwaZulu-Natal border, is lush grassland, deep gorges and forest. This is the former Transkei.
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