The Eastern Cape
is a province
of South Africa
. Its capital is Bhisho
. It was formed in 1994 out of the "independent" homelands of Transkei
, as well as the eastern portion of the Cape Province
. Landing place and home of the 1820 settlers. It is partly the traditional home of the Xhosa
, and the birthplace of many prominent South Africans, such as Nelson Mandela
, Thabo Mbeki
, Steve Biko
and Charles Coghlan
Law and Government
The current premier of Eastern Cape province is Mbulelo Sogoni
of the African National Congress
- See also List of cities and towns in the Eastern Cape
The Eastern Cape gets progressively wetter from west to east. The west is mostly semi-arid Karoo
, except in the far south, which is temperate rainforest in the Tsitsikamma region. The coast is generally rugged with interspersed beaches. Most of the province is hilly to very mountainous between Graaff-Reinet
and Rhodes including the Sneeuberge
(Afrikaans: Snow Mountains), Stormberge, Winterberge and Drakensberg
(Afrikaans: Dragon Mountains). The highest point in the province is Ben Macdhui
at 3001m. The east from East London
towards the Kwa-Zulu Natal
border is lush grassland with intermittent forest. This region, Transkei
, is rolling hills punctuated by deep gorges.
Eastern Cape has a shoreline in the south on the South Indian Ocean. In the northeast, it borders the following districts of Lesotho:
Domestically, it borders the following provinces:
Climate is highly varied. The west is dry with scarse rain during winter of summer, with frosty winters and hot summers. The Tsitsikamma to Grahamstown receives more precipitation, which is also relatively evenly distributed and temperatures are mild. Further east, rainfall becomes more plentiful and humidity increases, becoming more subtropical along the coast with summer rainfall. The interior can become very cold in winter, with heavy snowfalls occurring at times in the mountainous regions between Molteno and Rhodes.
- Port Elizabeth: Jan Max: 25ºC, Min: 18ºC; Jul Max: 20ºC, Min: 9ºC
- Molteno & Barkly East: Jan Max 28ºC, Min 11ºC; Jul Max: 14ºC, Min: -7ºC
The landscape is extremely diverse. The western interior is largely arid Karoo, while the east is well-watered and green. The Eastern Cape offers a wide array of attractions, including 800 km of untouched and pristine coastline along with some particularly splendid beaches, and "big-five" viewing in a malaria-free environment.
The Addo Elephant National Park, situated 73 km from Port Elizabeth, was proclaimed in 1931. Its 743 km² offers sanctuary to 170 elephants, the last Cape buffalo and 21 black rhino of the very scarce Kenyan sub-species.
The province is the location of South Africa's only ski resort, Tiffindell, which is situated near the hamlet of Rhodes in the Southern Drakensberg on the slopes of the highest mountain peak in the Eastern Cape (3001 m).
The National Arts Festival, held in Grahamstown is Africa's largest and most colourful cultural event, offering a choice of the very best of both indigenous and imported talent. Every year for 11 days the town's population almost doubles, as over 50,000 people flock to the region for a feast of arts, crafts and sheer entertainment.
The Tsitsikamma National Park is an 80 km long coastal strip between Nature's Valley and the mouth of the Storms River. In the park the visitor finds an almost untouched natural landscape. Near the park is the Bloukrans Bridge, which is the world's highest bungee jump.
Jeffreys Bay is an area with some of the country's wildest coastline, which is backed by some of Africa's most spectacular sub-tropical rainforest. Famous for its "supertubes", probably South Africa's longest and most consistently good wave, it's charged with a surf vibe as relaxed as it is friendly, and this tends to soften the effect of the wealthy set who have made this part of the coast their own.
Aliwal North, lying on a splendid agricultural plateau on the southern bank of the Orange River, is one of the country's most popular inland resorts and is famous for its hot springs.
The rugged and unspoilt Wild Coast is a place of spectacular scenery, and a graveyard for many vessels.
The Eastern Cape remains one of the poorest provinces in South Africa. This is largely due to the extreme poverty found in the former homelands, where subsistence agriculture predominates. The two major industrial centres, Port Elizabeth
and East London
have well-developed economies, based on the automotive industry. General Motors
both have major assembly lines in the Port Elizabeth area, while East London is dominated by the large DaimlerChrysler
plant. The largest construction project in Africa is currently underway at Coega
, about 20 km north of Port Elizabeth, where a new harbour is being built. It is expected that this development will give the province a major economic boost.
The Eastern Cape as a South African Province came into being in 1994 and incorporated areas from the former homelands of the Transkei
as well as what was then the Cape Province. This resulted in several anomalies including the fact that the Province has four superior courts (at Grahamstown, Port Elizabeth, Bhisho and Mthatha) and enclaves of Kwa-Zulu Natal in the province. The later anomaly has fallen away with the amendments to municipal and provincial boundaries.
The Eastern Cape Province is divided into 46 municipalities: