Travel month: The hidden treasures of the Eastern Cape
As South Africans we are spoiled and often forget that the Eastern Cape is a beautiful province that’s worth a visit.
I was born in the Eastern Cape and since visiting other provinces I have learned that the Eastern Cape is one of the most underrated places to visit .
The Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency invited me on a three-day trip which started at Morgan’s Bay Hotel, a 45-minute drive from East London. The hotel is situated along the Wild Coast between 1.6km of unspoiled beaches and breathtaking cliffs. The hotel has all the modern conveniences that you’d expect but with a very homely touch.
Skimming over the three-day itinerary I discovered that there were so many things to do from exploring ancient forests to horse riding and cultural experiences in the village.
Our first stop was a township experience in Mdantsane followed by dinner at Mthombo’s Palace. Mdantsane township is 15km away from East London . The name Mdantsane was derived from a stream that ran from the Nahoon River down to the Buffalo River.
On arrival at Mthombo’s Palace, I couldn’t wait to sample the menu. I ordered the lamb stew and steamed bread. The service was swift and enjoyed the bread and the stew was tasty.
Horse riding adventures
The Wild Coast, from the Mtamvuna River in the north to the Great Kei River in the south, is magnificent .
During apartheid, the Wild Coast was part of the Transkei, one of four territories declared independent from South Africa, until it merged with the Eastern Cape in 1994.
We rode horses on the beach to better appreciate its beauty. I haven’t been on a horse in years so I was happy that the steed was trained and the ride was a breeze. This is an activity novices shouldn’t fear. There are horse handlers by your side every step of the way .
Areena Riverside Resort
After the horse riding, we were off to Areena Riverside Resort for quad biking. Areena is situated on the banks of the Kwelera River, 23km east from East London’s city centre . This is an outdoor lover’s dream but there’s also a wide variety of activities for the whole family. You can choose to abseil, go on a zip-line tour, play paint ball, ride the quad bikes or participate in any of the river and beach activities. Our group chose quad biking and the adrenaline rush was worth it.
There are camping spots so you can opt to spend your entire holiday here. Riding through nature was so rejuvenating . This is also where I met Abby the giraffe, who is a local superstar . Feeding t he friendly giraffe was a highlight of the trip .