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WATCH: Eastern Cape is yours to explore - The Big Pineapple, township hikes and more

Our first stop was The Big Pineapple on Summerhill Farm in Bathurst. Picture: Clinton Moodley

Our first stop was The Big Pineapple on Summerhill Farm in Bathurst. Picture: Clinton Moodley

Published Dec 17, 2021


Eastern Cape has always been one of those places that many domestic travellers overlook-yet it offers a range of experiences for all ages.

Having been to the province twice before, I knew that the Eastern Cape Parks & Tourism Agency had plenty of fun things in store for us during a two-day media trip earlier this month.

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As I arrived on a later flight from Durban, the group headed to Mdantsane, a township situated 15 km away from East London. Here, they enjoyed a hike and kayak adventures.

"It is one of the most amazing places you will see," one of them said when we met at Prana Lodge. "You definitely need to add it to your bucket list."

That afternoon, after cheesecake and hot chocolate at Prana Lodge, some of us were treated to a food scrub and massage.

Their Wellness Spa offers holistic treatments for complete physical, mental, and spiritual renewal within beautiful indigenous forest gardens.

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According to its website, it is aimed at "restoring balance and energy."

After a quick shower and change to something warmer, we take a short drive to Emeraldvale Brewery for beer tasting and dinner.

Established in April 2012 the brewery is named after the 400ha farm called Emerald Vale. Nestled in the green hills between the Chintsa and Chefani Rivers, it makes the perfect stopover during your Eastern Cape road trip.

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Chris Heaton gave us a 45-minute tour and tasting experience-showing us how beer is produced from start to finish. I enjoyed his tour even though I am not a beer fan. I recommend you try it if you love ale.

The next day

I woke early to watch the sunrise from my villa and spent an hour admiring the view from the lodge's deck.

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We set off for the rest of the activities pretty early-bringing along with our packed breakfasts along.

Our first stop was The Big Pineapple on Summerhill Farm in Bathurst.

The attraction is a replica of Australia’s biggest tourist attraction on Sunshine Plantation in Queensland. It draws hundreds of tourists to the small town to get their picture taken in front of the yellow wonder.

Taking what felt like a thousand pictures, I climbed to the top of the pineapple and savoured the view.

You can also take a tour of the farm if you want to learn more about pineapples. After the summer launch at Guido's in Port Alfred (the pizza is to die for), we took a two-hour road trip to Gqeberha.

We checked into Radisson Blu Hotel, Port Elizabeth, where I spent the night before heading home the following morning.

If you want to explore, ask your hotel which places are worth seeing. There are some areas in the city, like most destinations, that can be unsafe.

Clinton Moodley was hosted by Eastern Cape Parks & Tourism Agency.