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History of the Eastern Cape

 


The western areas of the Eastern Cape is mostly semi-arid Karoo, except in the far south, which is temperate rainforest in the Tsitsikamma region. The Eastern Cape coast is generally rugged with interspersed beaches. The highest point in the province is Ben Macdhui at 3001m. The eastern areas of the Eastern Cape from East London towards the Kwa-Zulu Natal border is lush grassland with intermittent forest.

The Eastern Cape province of South Africa is generally divided into three regions namely the Western Region, the Amatola & Stormberg region and the Wild Coast & Berg region.

The climate of the Eastern Cape province of South Africa is highly varied. The western areas are dry and experience frosty winters and hot summers. The Eastern Cape area from Tsitsikamma to Grahamstown receives more rainfall and temperatures are mild. In the eastern regions of the Eastern Cape the rainfall becomes more plentiful and humidity increases. The interior can become very cold in winter, with heavy snowfalls occurring at times in the mountainous regions between Molteno and Rhodes.

The Eastern Cape has much to offer to its visitors including 800 km of untouched and pristine coastline along with some particularly splendid beaches and game viewing. The Addo Elephant National Park offers sanctuary to 170 elephants, Cape buffalo and black rhino.

History of the Eastern Cape

The malaria free Eastern Cape is the traditional home of the Xhosa people of South Africa and offers the visitor a world of diversities. The Eastern Cape 's interior, consisting of arid Karoo with its diverse wildlife is in stark contrast with the sunshine and pristine beaches of the coastal Coast areas.

The Eastern Cape as a South African Province came into being in 1994 and incorporated areas from the former homelands of the and 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 latter anomaly has fallen away with the amendments to municipal and provincial boundaries

Eastern Cape has many national parks, numerous game and nature reserves and vast wilderness areas where wild animals and beautiful flowers flourish in protected paradises. The province boasts with being the ideal tourist destination with it's sunshine all year round, it's hundreds of kilometres of unspoiled beaches and beautiful mountain ranges filled with fauna and flaura.

The Eastern Cape is South Africa’s hidden gem, much of it is little known and under explored. The Eastern Cape has an extraordinary variety of cultural history and scenic beauty, ranging from the vast, dry Great Karoo to the fertile agricultural lands of the Little Karoo and the ‘Settler Country’ around Grahamstown, and above all, the magnificent cliffs and coves of the Wild Coast. The Eastern Cape is also home to two of South Africa’s major seaports, East London and Port Elizabeth, and several excellent small game reserves, including Addo Elephant Park. The area around East London is the homeland of the Xhosa people, many of whom, including Nelson Mandela, have played a crucial role in recent South African history.

Eastern Cape Geography

 

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: Mohale's Hoek - west of Quthing, Quthing - between Mohale and Qacha's Nek, Qacha's Nek - east of Quthing

Domestically, it borders the following provinces:
Western Cape - West
Northern Cape - Northwest
Free State - North
KwaZulu-Natal - Far Northeast

Eastern Cape Climate

 

Climate is highly varied. The west is dry with scarce 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.

Eastern Cape Economy

 

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.

Agriculture

There is much fertile land in the Eastern Cape, and agriculture is important. The fertile Langkloof Valley in the southwest has enormous deciduous fruit orchards, while sheep farming predominates in the Karoo. The Alexandria-Grahamstown area produces pineapples, chicory and dairy products, while coffee and tea are cultivated at Magwa. People in the former Transkei region are dependent on cattle, maize and sorghum-farming. An olive nursery has been developed in collaboration with the University of Fort Hare to form a nucleus of olive production in the Eastern Cape.

The basis of the province's fishing industry is squid, some recreational and commercial fishing for line fish, the collection of marine resources, and access to line-catches of hake.

Industry

The two major industrial centres, Port Elizabeth and East London have well-developed economies, based on the automotive industry. General Motors and Volkswagen 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.

With two harbours and three airports offering direct flights to the main centres, and an excellent road and rail infrastructure, the province has been earmarked as a key area for growth and economic development. Environmentally friendly projects include the Fish River Spatial Development Initiative, the Wild Coast SDI, and two industrial development zones, the West Bank in East London and, near Port Elizabeth, Coega - the largest infrastructure development in post-apartheid South Africa. Plans for the development of the area as an export-orientated zone include the construction of the deepwater Port of Ngqura.

Other important sectors include finance, real estate, business services, wholesale and retail trade, and hotels and restaurants.

Eastern Cape Education

 

Universities
Comprehensive Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (Port Elizabeth)
Rhodes University (Grahamstown)
University of Fort Hare (East London)
Walter Sisulu University for Technology and Science (Buffalo City, Butterworth, Mthatha, Queenstown)

Other educational institutions
Port Elizabeth College


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