The magical Sunshine Coast of the rural Eastern Cape Province stretches from Port Elizabeth to East London, with hundreds of kilometres of dazzling beautiful white beaches, coves, rivers, lakes, blue lagoons and subtropical forests. It is a water sport mecca and paradise for nature lovers.
The Sunshine Coast is a pristine wilderness with 300 kilometres of unspoilt coastline along the warm Indian Ocean. Attempts to establish harbours ended in shipwrecks, due to the reefs and shallow sea, thus this lovely part of the world escaped commercial development and retained its natural beauty.
Charming seaside villages along the coast are Kenton-on-Sea, Jeffreys Bay, Cape St Francis, Bushman’s River, and Port Alfred. Port Alfred is the jewel of the coast, a tiny town on the Kowie river estuary, half way between Port Elizabeth and East London.
Many rivers run through the coastline to the ocean, creating fertile estuaries and valleys, and the landscape is lush and green. Ironically, this wild and untamed coastline, possibly the most beautiful in South Africa, is the least frequented, a bonus for those who love nature reserves and undisturbed landscapes.
What to Do
The Sunshine Coast of South Africa has 320 sunny days out of the 365 of the year. The sunshine coasts of Australia and Canada are nothing on this, either in beauty or climate. Summers are warm, winters mild and cool, with light rain throughout. The oceanic climate is temperate and sunny all year and the sea warm.
The Sunshine Coast is sometimes called the Adventure Coast due to the multitudinous outdoor sports available in the perfect climate and environment, with both mountain and coastal terrain.
The dazzling beaches are perfect for relaxing, swimming, water skiing, snorkelling, sand boarding, kite surfing or long beach walks. There are numerous beaches with the prestigious Blue Flag Status and Humewood in Port Elizabeth even has Gold Status.
Jeffreys bay is one of the world’s best surfing destinations with perfect waves and consistently good conditions. The Supertubes are hollow, fast and extremely long, on a good day allowing even a kilometre ride, and surfers from all over the globe migrate here.
River cruises, boating and 3 day canoe trips are available on the scenic rivers, some navigable up to 25 kms inland.
Port Elizabeth is one of the best sailing venues in the world .
The mountains are great for abseiling,ziplining, hiking, 4x4’s, nature trails, quad and mountain biking.
The Royal Port Alfred and Fish River Sun are superb golf courses with views of the Indian Ocean. The Royal has springbok, impala and numerous wild animals wandering around the course. The Fish River Sun hotel has a masterpiece course designed by Gary Player,
Horse riding safaris along the beaches are available.
Whales, seals and dolphins can be seen all along the coast as there is rich marine life.
Port Elizabeth and East London are elegant Historical cities with fine Victorian, Edwardian, Cape Dutch and Art Nouveau architecture. There are beautiful colonial buildings with intricate stonework, wrought iron and stained glass.They were developed by British settlers who came to Africa to establish farms in the 1820’s. Grahamstown and Bathurst are another two small towns they established slightly inland to escape battles between the Boers and Xhosa tribes.
Scenic drives are spectacular with serene beautiful landscapes. There are hills, valleys and rivers to explore as well as the beaches. There are several game reserves nearby. The Addo Elephant Park has over 400 elephants.
There are two large Flight Schools in Port Elizabeth and Port Alfred due to the excellent flying conditions.
Where to Eat
Seafood is obviously a speciality along the coast.
As this is mainly an agricultural region, fruit and vegetables are of a high quality. Pineapples, pawpaws, avocados, citrus, bananas and pecan nuts are a few of the crops. Superb restaurants are to be found everywhere.
Where to Stay
Accommodation ranges from the utmost luxury to camping. There are business hotels and family holiday homes, b&bs, guest houses, comfortable cottages with direct beach access, Victorian manor houses, the possibilities seem endless. Certainly it is a perfect family holiday destination with a vast choice of accommodation.
Air : The main airports are Port Elizabeth and East London, with connecting flights from the main cities of Cape Town or Johannesburg.
Car : Cars can be hired at the airports.
Cape Town is 770 kms on the N1. The R72 is the coastal road between Port Elizabeth and East London.