2. EASTERN CAPE
168,966 km2 (65,238 sq mi)
This is where the European settlers of the 19th Century first set foot when they arrived in South Africa. The traditional home of the Xhosa people. Out of the apartheid-era homelands of Transkei and Ciskei, the Eastern Cape Province was established in 1994. This is the birthplace of freedom fighters like Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu,Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, Chris Hani,Thabo Mbeki, Steve Biko and Charles Coghlan. Much like the country itself, the province’s landscape is extremely multifarious. The western interior is largely dry and dreary, characterized by several high arid plateaus. The eastern part is a lush region with luxuriant vegetation. The province’s vast myriad tourist attractions include the 800 km of untouched and pristine coastline along with some particularly splendid beaches. The ‘big five’ can also be viewed in a malaria-free environment. The Addo Elephant National Park is a 743 km² preserve of very many elephants, Cape buffalo and black rhino of the very scarce Kenyan sub-species. One of South Africa’s most remote stretches of shoreline, the rugged and un-spoilt Wild Coast, down the N2 National Highway, is a place of spectacular scenery, and a graveyard for many vessels.