The Frontier Country Region, Eastern Cape

A hauntingly beautiful region, arguably the crucible of South African history, Frontier Country is a vibrant mix of all the best that Africa has to offer. One of the premier tourist routes in the Eastern Cape, it has a turbulent past, with more forts than the rest of South Africa combined.

Did you know? Once you've booked your hotel or Frontier Country accommodation in the Eastern Cape, explore our destination pages below for info on attractions and what to do when you explore this malaria-free, game rich region.

Now no longer the scene of conflict and strife, Frontier Country is the historic heartland of the Eastern Cape and embodies the spirit of the many and varied cultures who met here and made their mark - Khoi, Xhosa, Boer and British.

They brought with them a rich heritage that can still be seen today in towns and villages all over the Eastern Cape. With Grahamstown at its centre, Frontier Country is one of the most diverse ecological regions in South Africa, with a variety of biomes that provide unspoilt and spectacular scenery.

Grahamstown is not known as the town of 60 churches, or the city of saints, for nothing. It is steeped in colonial English history, filled with historical buildings and churches, and is also a university town – which goes some way to explain its reputation for tolerance and left-of-centre thinking

Did you know? The worlds of music, art and performance converge in the chilly university town of Grahamstown every winter.

Here in what is known as Frontier Country, thousands of hectares are devoted to nature and game conservation, bringing with them the return of great herds of wildlife to the places where they once roamed freely. This malaria-free region is fast gaining local and international popularity for excellent game-viewing with a variety of private reserves and excellent game lodges which include the Big Five.

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Destinations in the Frontier Country Region

Alexandria

Overnight? Alexandria accommodation
Alexandria lies en route to Bushman’s River Mouth and Kenton-on-Sea just 50 kilometres from Port Alfred, roughly halfway between Durban and Cape Town. It is described as a friendly farming community that sustains itself from chicory, dairy and pineapple p...

Alicedale

Overnight? Alicedale accommodation
This quaint village lies in the shadow of the Swartwatersberg hills on a railway junction between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown, not even an hour's drive from the city of Saints. Despite its littleness, Alicedale has enough to offer the visitor to war...

Amakhala

Overnight? Amakhala accommodation
The Amakhala Game Reserve is named after the Xhosa word meaning Aloes, the prolific indigenous plant found in this uniquely diverse province. Steeped in history and beauty, this 6000-hectare game reserve creates an ideal environment for an unforgettable s...

Bathurst

Overnight? Bathurst accommodation
Bathurst is situated on the fringes of both the Sunshine Coast and Frontier Country, a half hour drive from Grahamstown or 10 minutes from Port Alfred. Halfway between Port Elizabeth and East London, Bathurst is a short 10 minutes from Port Alfred, wi...

Bucklands

Bucklands Private Game Reserve is a Stewart Family conservation initiative which was launched in 2007 culminating from the families deep love of the African continent's splendid diversity and natural beauty found within its wildlife and nature reserves. ...

Bushman Sands

Overnight? Bushman Sands accommodation
Situated on nearly 4000 hectares of former farmland, Bushman Sands game reserve offers malaria free sightings of Big Five game. Working with Shamwari's conservation team, Bushman Sands have reintroduced indigenous animals to the reserve, restoring the env...

Colchester

Overnight? Colchester accommodation
Whether you’re looking for a luxury lodge or budget accommodation in Colchester, you will find a choice of options for anyone travelling in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. Lying on the banks of the Sundays River, just 20 minutes’ drive from the coast of Port...

Fish River

Overnight? Fish River accommodation
The Great Fish River, distinguishable from the Namibian Fish River by the word ‘great’, that runs through the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, flows for some 690 kilometres before reaching the Indian Ocean 60 kilometres southeast of Grahamstown. ...

Grahamstown

Overnight? Grahamstown accommodation
To most South Africans, Grahamstown, (or Makhanda) just off the N2 between Port Elizabeth and Port Alfred, is the home of Rhodes University, and the host of one of the country’s longest running and major arts festivals - the National Arts Festival. Re...

Greater Addo

Overnight? Greater Addo accommodation
Greater Addo is largely dominated by the Addo Elephant National Park, the boundaries of which now extend right from the edge of Darlington Dam in the north to Colchester at the coast, incorporating the beautiful Sundays River Valley. However, the region o...

Groendal Wilderness Area

Overnight? Groendal Wilderness Area accommodation
The 30 000 hectare Groendal Wilderness Area protects the water catchment area of the Swartkops River (KwaZungha River), with the Groendal Dam in its centre. Lying within the Groot Winterhoek Mountain range, this wilderness area has rugged terrain incised ...

Kariega

Overnight? Kariega accommodation
Located in pristine surroundings, the tranquillity and splendour of Kariega Game Reserve, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, is beyond doubt awesome. Sanctuary to abundant game and wildlife such as lion, elephant, leopard, rhino, hippo, giraffe, zebra, ...

Kwantu

Overnight? Kwantu accommodation
Kwantu Private Game Reserve offers Africa's Big 5, an elephant sanctuary, endangered and exotic wildlife. This untouched wilderness boasts a past as rich as its abundant wildlife population. From the comfort of our specially equipped open Land Rovers, you...

Riebeek East

Overnight? Riebeek East accommodation
The little village of Riebeek East, virtually lost in time such that, if it weren’t for the growing interest in eco-tourism in this part of the country and it’s proximity to both Grahamstown and the Addo Elephant National Park, it would remain in obscurit...

Salem

Overnight? Salem accommodation
The little settler village of Salem (meaning ‘peace’) is one of those places that suffers from being en route to somewhere else, and as such remains rather low on the average traveller’s list - a rather misguided conclusion to draw about the quaint town. ...

Shamwari

Overnight? Shamwari accommodation
The 20 000 hectare game reserve is steeped in Settler history, and dates back to the time when game roamed freely in the Eastern Cape. Shamwari is about conserving a vanishing way of life, and has been awarded a number of International awards for it's eff...

Sibuya

Overnight? Sibuya accommodation
Malaria Free and conveniently situated near Kenton on Sea on the Sunshine Coast, just 130 kms from Port Elizabeth is Sibuya Game Reserve. Based at the secluded Camp on the banks of the Kariega River, guests are a short boat trip from the river mouth and K...

Sidbury

Overnight? Sidbury accommodation
Lying in the midst of what is considered 'frontier country', Sidbury is one of several quaint little towns, with Grahamstown as their centre, that make up one of the most ecologically diverse regions in South Africa and the heart of thousands of hectares ...

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