Experience our Eastern Cape Info Letter – October 2021

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This issue of ECTOUR’s Experience our Eastern Cape Travel Letter

  • Discover the secret cove at Shelly Beach in Kenton

  • Walk the Waterfall Trail in the Tsitsikamma

  • Taste honey at Pabala in the Gamtoos Valley

  • A breakdown of all the Eastern Cape’s municipalities

  • Your own Addo Elephant National Park game viewing area road map

  • Learn more about the Wild Coast legend of Nongqawuse

  • Explore Makhanda and the Frontier Country with a Bucketlist

  • and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Karoo Heartland, the Eastern Cape’s big sky country.

If there is something that you would like to see featured in our monthly “travel letter” or have any suggestions, please drop us a mail at info@ectour.co.za.

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Shelley Beach:
The secret beach on Route 72

Shelley Beach, located in the popular holiday town of Kenton-on-Sea on Route 72, is one of those truly hidden gems on the Eastern Cape coastline. The beach is enclosed by a semi-circle of high rock with the little bay sheltered from most winds as well as from the masses of crowds. The beach got its name from the rough, shell-lined beach, which can be rather sharp for bare feet! The beach is reached by a 20 minute hike across the dunes. Once you reach the top, you will be afforded a fantastic view of Kenton-on-Sea and Bushman’s River Mouth. A makeshift path leads down to the coastline and the closed-off beach of Shelley Bay. If you get to Shelley Bay at low tide, you can snorkel or explore the tidal pools and rock formations around the bay. At high tide, the shore break can get quite rough and is not ideal for swimming (the nearby Bushman’s and Kariega River are tranquil and popular for kids). The beach is known for its dumper waves, which make for fantastic body surfing. You can have some fun with the blasting holes which measure around 30cm in diameter. These holes in the rock have been created through ages of continuous battering by the Indian Ocean!

The Tsitsikamma Waterfall

The Waterfall Trail in the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park covers the first 3km of the world-renowned Otter Trail. At the end of the 3km stretch along the rugged coastline, the spectacular waterfall, plunging into a deep pool, before flowing into the sea, will enchant you.

You can expect the hike to take around 3 hours, excluding the amount of time you opt to spend at the waterfall. You’ll start out with an easy stroll through mixed terrain – half through shady indigenous forest, half on a footpath along the dramatic coastline of the Indian Ocean. Before too long the rock hopping begins. For about two kilometers you’ll be navigating your way over boulders and across rock faces. Look out for the painted yellow footprints along the path showing you the best way to go. We suggest that you hike during low tide as this section can get tricky once the tide starts coming in.

The unique combination of a waterfall to one side and the ocean to the other is the perfect end spot to a beautifully challenging hike. You can choose to swim (warning – it’s cold!) or simply dip your feet into the pool while enjoying a snack.

A honey experience at Pabala

Pabala Private Nature Reserve between Loerie and Hankey in the Gamtoos Valley recently started offering visitors the opportunity to learn more about honey during a number of different experiences. One of these is a Half Day Honey Experience where you will get the opportunity to join their professional beekeeper in the field and get to experience how to extract honey from the hives, learn more about how bees make honey and what happens to the honey once it gets taken out the hives. After the honey extraction you will go back to reception, kit off and have a lovely honey based lunch, with honey as the main ingredient. One the full day experience you’ll also go to the bottling plant where you will bottle the honey you extracted from the honey boxes earlier the morning and then go home with a sample of the honey that you extracted and bottled yourself.

Pabala’s honey experiences is one of a number of activities that makes up the newly formed Kouga Agricultural Route

Learn more about Pabala’s Honey Experiences

Municipalities of the Eastern Cape

Did you know that the Eastern Cape is divided into two metropolitan municipalities (Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality and Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality) and six district municipalities, which are further subdivided into 31 local municipalities?

The Addo game viewing road map

The Addo Elephant National Park game viewing area stretches from the Matyholweni Gate at Colchester right up to Main Camp near Addo town. The straight distance from Camp Matyholweni to Addo Main Camp through the park is 36km, but the park offers a number of loops, waterholes and lookout points for your animal viewing pleasure along the way.

The main camp is where everything happens with the interpretive center, waterhole lookout, curio shop, open vehicle game drives, a restaurant and restrooms. The south gate only has restrooms and no restaurant, something you will be able to find just outside the park though. Inside the park there is only one picnic area with restrooms located at Jack’s Picnic Site.

Always keep in mind that you aren’t allowed to get out of your car unless you are in a designated area, and even there you need to always be alert and on the lookout for any animals.

The Wild Coast legend of Nongqawuse and 1856 Cattle Killing

Nongqawuse is a name that will haunt the Xhosa people forever. In 1856, the Xhosa nation was in despair. A number of Friesland Bulls were imported from Holland in 1850 and with them came lung-sickness. Thousands of their prized cattle, a sign of wealth in Xhosa culture, had succumbed. The British had murdered King Hintsa and they had fought and lost many wars against the European settlers, who had taken large tracts of Xhosa territory and cattle. They were looking for a miracle, something to turn around this spell of misfortune.

At the time, Nongqawuse was the 15 year old niece of Mhlakaza, a priest/diviner who was held in high regard by the Xhosa King, Sarhili. One day, as she looked into the pools in the Gxara River, Nongqawuse had a vision. She claimed to have spoken to the ancestors who promised that they would rise from the dead and drive the hated white man into the sea and replace their sick cattle with strong, healthy cattle. All the ancestors asked for in return was that, as an act of faith, the people would kill all their cattle and destroy all of their crops.

A great commotion arose at the sound of this news and men from far and wide came to see Nongqawuse and to peer into the pool. Some said they had seen the faces of their ancestors in the water, others claimed to have seen whole armies of spirits waiting to arise, eager to destroy the Europeans.

For the next ten months, the Gcaleka Xhosas set about the destruction of all the cattle (said to number about 200 000) and crops. Then, on the appointed day, the 18th of February 1857, they awaited the rising of a blood red sun, the awakening of vast spirit armies and the arrival of fat cattle and ripe crops. The sun arose that morning just the same as it always had, there were no armies, no crops and no cattle, only ruin and the grim prospect of starvation. An estimated 25 000 people died of starvation.

The chief of Bomvana handed Nongqawuse over to Major Gawler at Fort Murray for her safety and she stayed at his home for a period. This was also where the well known picture of Nongqawuse was taken. She was then sent to Cape Town and later lived out her life on a farm in the Alexandria district until her reported death in 1898.

There is a Xhosa Cattle Killing Mass Grave memorial in King Williams Town that can also be visited.

Source – https://www.wildcoastholidays.com/
More information – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nongqawuse

Explore Makhanda and the Frontier Country with this Bucketlist

The Eastern Cape’s Karoo Heartland

Where the land meets the sky

Karoo Heartland - Where the land meets the sky
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