Touring the Agricultural Region of Eastern Cape, South Africa
This article was first published by our friends at WHL Group, who have agreed to its republication here. View original article on The Travel Word
By Neil Lyon
The Eastern Cape province of South Africa is a diverse and sunny region where travellers can sink their hands into the earth of farm life in our beautiful country, South Africa.
The citrus fruits farmed at Woodall Country House on South Africa’s Eastern Cape always find their way into the lodge’s award-winning cuisine. Photo courtesy of Woodall Country House
Stay on a Citrus Farm
A stay on a citrus farm can be fantastic way to experience life in this premier agricultural region. The Sundays River Valley is one of the most well established citrus areas, from which a large amount of the citrus is exported to Europe. Set amongst citrus orchards, the Woodall Country House boasts several awards for its top-rated services and luxurious accommodations. Woodall is well known for its attention to detail, onsite spa and excellent food, not to mention the complementary freshly squeezed orange juice that is always served at breakfast. We can guarantee you won’t be disappointed when you stay here.
Guests enjoy a medicinal plant walk at the Ganora Guest Farm, a typical Karoo sheep farm in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Photo courtesy of Neil Lyon, Lyon Tours & Safaris
Take in a Livestock Experience
Whilst travelling through South Africa and the Eastern Cape, travellers are certain to notice the farm stalls – small roadside shops that sell homemade produce like jellies, jams and local arts and crafts. More often than not there will also be some of the famous Biltong dried meat that South Africa is known for. The source of some of this meat can be seen in the Karoo agricultural region, around Cradock, where locals still earn their income from farming and raising livestock on large farms.
Visitors to the Karoo can stay overnight at a number of farm guesthouses set amidst the bucolic countryside. One of our favourites is a small (approximately 60 square kilometres in size) sheep farm called Ganora Guest Farm. Guests here enjoy the private fossil collection of owners JP and Hester, or set off on a walk to see a collection of paintings by a local bushman. Alternatively, guests can enjoy a medicinal plant walk with farm staff who grew up in the area. There are also a number of places in the Tsitsikamma region where travellers can stay on a dairy cattle farm. By staying at a place like Oyster Bay lodge close to St. Francis Bay, you can enjoy a visit to a working farm and feel like you are at an exclusive and private beach resort.
A mobile “farm stall” sells fresh produce along one of the national roads between Port Elizabeth, Addo and Cradock in the Karoo region of South Africa. Photo courtesy of Neil Lyon, Lyon Tours & Safaris
Catch the Agricultural Festival Spirit
In South Africa, there are a number of agricultural festivals that people travel from all over the county to attend. These shows and festivals are fantastic for all ages and include everything from celebrations of roses and gardens to agricultural shows that exhibit prize livestock. A few festivals worth mentioning are the Bathurst Agricultural Show, the East London Agricultural Show, the Fort Beaufort Garden Festival, the Willowmore Agricultural Shop, the Cradock Agricultural Show and the Somerset East Agricultural Show.
Old farmlands that used to be home to livestock have been rehabilitated and incorporated into Addo National Park, where kudu antelope roam the landscape. Photo courtesy of Lyon Tours & Safaris
Indulge in a Safari Adventure
Throughout the Eastern Cape province, one noteworthy achievement that must be mentioned is how all the private game reserves and large portions of the national parks are rehabilitated farm lands. Through the hard work and dedication of numerous communities in the region, large tracts of land are being restored to their former states and the wildlife that once roamed these areas is gradually being reintroduced. As a result, travellers who visit the Eastern Cape enjoy excellent value for their money with numerous possibilities for wildlife safari experiences that also incorporate great farm stays. A number of the lodges on these game reserves are the original farmstead’s that the farmers previously lived in and exhibit a great deal of history and family tradition.
For more information on planning a trip to the farmlands of South Africa’s Eastern Cape, check in with Lyon Tours & Safaris , your whl.travel local connection.