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Stretching from Port Elizabeth (now: Gqeberha) in the West to East London in the East this coastal route deserves its name - the Sunshine Coast. With over a million hectares of malaria-free game reserves and long beaches basking in sunshine, this region offers the perfect base from which to explore this part of South Africa's magnificent coastline and the interior.
Port Elizabeth, fondly known as "the friendly city" and often referred to as PE has officially been renamed on 23 February 2021 to Gqeberha - a Xhosa word for the Baakens River which flows through the city. Gqeberha offers a diverse selection of attractions for the whole family. The 40 km of Algoa Bay’s coastline offer superb beaches and warm, protected waters, making this a haven for watersports enthusiasts. Algoa Bay is regarded as one of the best sailing venues in the world, while scuba diving is of world class quality with beautiful reefs, shipwrecks, fish and colourful coral species.
Port Alfred, a picturesque town situated exactly half way between Port Elizabeth and East London has more sunny days than any other town along the Sunshine Coast. Here your holiday can be as relaxed or as energetic as you wish, from quiet walks on beautiful beaches to hiking the numerous mountain trails, or surfing the famous break at East Beach.
Nestled in the Sundays River Valley, just 41 km northeast of Gqeberha, you will find Addo National Elephant Park, home to a herd of over 350 elephant and other game. Addo is now the third largest National Park in South Africa and stretches some 90 000 hectares to the coast. The park includes the Big 7 (leopard, lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, whales and dolphins).
The route runs between East London and Bloemfontein. It offers a scenic journey through the Eastern Cape farmlands and small inland towns, past endless mountains and over the Orange River. Along the route, one will pass through the towns of Stutterheim, Cathcart, Komani (the former Queenstown), Aliwal North and Smithfield.
A host of things to do include visiting many museums, buying Xhosa arts and crafts, hikes into the mountains, guided rock art trails and many outdoor activities.
High up in the mountains you will find a small holiday hideout called Rhodes close to the border of Lesotho. Looming above Rhodes is Naude’s Nek, the highest pass in South Africa at 2500m. Be warned, though, the route traverses high country and mountain passes are sometimes closed in winter because of snowfalls. Here you also find te only snow skiing resort of South Africa.