This region is characterised by an extraordinary diversity of natural assets and features, both in the coastal and interior regions. Not only does this region have the mountains, some covered with indigenous forests while others are carpeted in fynbos, the renowned South African Floral Kingdom acclaimed by botanists all over the world, but they also have the sea, the sun and are home to six of South Africa’s seven plant biomes.
The new boundaries of this region stretch from the village of Nieu-Bethesda in the north to Storms River and Coldstream in the south and from Willowmore in the west to Bathurst in the east. The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality does not form part of the region, but the region also incorporates the lovely areas east, north and west of Mandela Bay (Algoa Bay). These include the Kouga, Sunshine Coast, Tsitsikamma, parts of the Karoo Heartland and Frontier Park Tourism Route areas.
The Kouga region is synonymous with the twin valleys of the Langkloof and Gamtoos and the massive Baviaanskloof Wilderness area lying beyond it. The Gamtoos River Valley includes the towns of Loerie, Hankey (Africa’s largest sundial can be seen at the entrance to the town) and Patensie, and is the gateway to this wilderness area. Other attractions in this area include the superbly beautiful Van Staden’s Flower Reserve, Loerie Geelhout Nature Reserve and the Loerie and Kouga Dams. The “Sunshine Coast” stretches from the forests of the Tsitsikamma in the west, home to South Africa’s first national marine park, along kilometres of warm, sandy beaches to East London in the east. This is also the location of the unique Alexandria dune fields and the heart of South Africa’s chicory industry. And, last but not least, South Africa’s only “Big Seven” nature reserve, the Greater Addo Elephant National Park in the Sundays River Valley, is in the region. The Sundays River Valley also supports a vibrant citrus industry and produces some of the finest quality lemons in the world.
The Tsitsikamma area can only be described as lush and lovely beyond words! This is a place of rocky mountain peaks, lonely beaches and coastal rain forests with towering yellowwood trees where you may just be lucky enough to stumble upon the shy little duiker silently making his way through the undergrowth, while Cape clawless otters scour the river for food and the elusive Knysna loerie perches on a branch high in the air. The area is protected within the borders of the Tsitsikamma National Park with its renowned Otter, Tsitsikamma and Dolphin Hiking Trails and the Storms River Gorge, a prime ecotourism destination. The only Khoisan village of its kind is situated in The park and offers guided heritage tours, self-catering Khoi-hut accommodation, Khoisan cuisine and entertainment.
The Cacadu Region also encompasses the stark beauty of the Karoo, the vast central plateau of South Africa. Here, in the land where dinosaurs used to roam, the visitor is exposed to sweeping skies, spacious horizons and a very special kind of brooding stillness and silence. Some of the main attractions of this area, apart from the mouth-watering cuisine and friendly hospitality of its people, include the Valley of Desolation, a ravine of giant dolerite pillars near Graaff-Reinet; the Mountain Zebra National Park near Cradock; excellent collections of fossils, rock art and Anglo-Boer War memorabilia as well as the Great Fish River Reserve, situated in the heart of “frontier” country