16 Things to do in the Eastern Cape for Free

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Tuesday, 17th September 2013

By: Emma Odendaal, 21 May 2012

If you’re on a budget, plan your next holiday to the Eastern Cape around these awesome 16 free things to do.
1. Send a letter from South Africa’s oldest letterbox.
Post a letter from South Africa’s oldest official letterbox that stands on St Andrew’s College corner in Grahamstown. Its fluted design is one of the earliest of 19 types to have been supplied to the British Post Office in the 1820s. Letters posted here receive a special frank.

2. Stare at a steeple in Grahamstown.
Admire the Cathedral of St Michael and St George in Grahamstown’s High Street, built in the 1800s. www.grahamstowncathedral.org.

3. Take in the view from on Gunfire Hill.
For views of the surrounding mountains, stop at the 1820 Settlers National Monument on Gunfire Hill, built to remember South Africa’s first English settlers.

4. Get lost in a maze in Hogsback.
Some people walk around a labyrinth as a form of meditation, others for inspiration and for a few it’s a journey of spiritual discovery – for you it may just be an afternoon of fun. Hogsback Labyrinth at The Edge, reputed to be one of the largest of its kind, is similar in design to the labyrinth in the Chartres Cathedral in France. The walk to the centre and out again is roughly 1,4 kilometres. www.theedge-hogsback.co.za.

5. Check out cars of old at the the St Croix Motor Museum.
Visit the St Croix Motor Museum in Newton Park, Port Elizabeth, for an interesting display of vintage and classic cars dating back to the early 1900s. Tel 041-392-5364.

6. Appreciate art at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum.
Eastern Cape art is in the limelight at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum in Port Elizabeth. Collections are housed in two buildings and also include South African, British and oriental art. Tel 041-586-1030, www.artmuseum.co.za.

7. Spend the day at Van Staden’s Wild Flower Reserve.
Bird-watching, biking, walking trails and picnics make for a fun family day out at Van Staden’s Wild Flower Reserve, about 40 kilometres outside Port Elizabeth on the N2 to Cape Town. Tel 041-956-0155.

8. Hike the Donkin Heritage Trail.
The Donkin Heritage Trail is an easy five-kilometre meander in the footsteps of the 1820 settlers, passing 47 historical sites in Port Elizabeth, including Donkin Lighthouse, Donkin Pyramid, the city market Square, City Hall and Fort Frederick. A map can be obtained from the tourist office located at the lighthouse. Tel 041-585-8884.

9. Spot a special species at Settlers Park.
Bird-watchers will enjoy the two-kilometre walk through Settlers Park. More than 100 bird species can be spotted, such as peregrine falcon, Knysna woodpecker and southern tchagra. Tel 041-373-6794.

10. Surf St Francis Bay.
Experienced surfers know that St Francis Bay offers some of the best waves in the country, so pick up a board and hightail it to the sea.

11. Go diving at Nelson Mandela Bay.
For certified divers, there’s no shortage of great diving spots around Nelson Mandela Bay, one of which is Bell Buoy Reef just off Hobie Beach, with depths of up to 20 metres.

12. Get an introduction to scuba diving.
If you’re not certified, but would like to give scuba diving a try, call Pro Dive. It offers free introductions to scuba diving in the safety of a swimming pool. Tel 041-581-1144, www.prodive.co.za.

13. Visit a lighthouse in Port St Johns.
In Port St Johns, admire the pretty stone Cape Hermes Lighthouse, named after the HMS Hermes, which keeps a watchful eye over the rocky bay.

14. Go shell spotting at Hazel Jeffries Shell Museum.
Visit Hazel Jeffries Shell Museum in Kei Mouth to see hundreds of shells on display. Tel 043-841-1004.

15. Watch out for whales in St Francis Bay.
Between the months of May and September, watch whales and dolphins play in the waters of St Francis Bay.

16. Hike the Sacramento Trail.
Hike the eight-kilometre Sacramento Trail that hugs the coast between Schoenmakerskop and Sardinia Bay. Gannets and dolphins can often be seen out at sea from the circular route. www.nmbt.co.za.

- See more at: http://blog.getaway.co.za/travel-ideas/16-free-eastern-cape/#sthash.LjByCD4a.dpuf

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