ABOUT THE EASTERN CAPE | An overview
Located on the south-eastern part of South Africa, the Eastern Cape province is the second largest province in South Africa.
Roughly defined, the Eastern Cape is the part of South Africa which lies east of the 30 degree east line of longitude and south of the 30 degree 30 minute line of latitude.
The province lies equidistant from the major market centres of South Africa, lying between two of the South Africa’s major economic hubs, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. It is linked to those centres by a modern network of air, roads and railways and lies offering easy linkages to these nodes.
Did you know the Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve, just 100 kilometres from Port Elizabeth, is the only location where the seven of South Africa’s biomes can be found?
Seat of government
The second largest of South Africa’s nine provinces, the Eastern Cape’s capital is Bhisho which lies 50km west of East London.
Rural development, land and agrarian reform, and food security are priorities of the provincial government, and the growth of the agriculture and agro-processing sector is strongly rooted in the Eastern Cape National Development Plan (NDP).
The NDP earmarks primary production of food and food products, and the addition of value to primary production by processing, manufacturing and creative marketing of food products.
Did you know the 164,000ha Addo National Park outside Port Elizabeth is the only park in South Africa to feature the Big 7 which includes the whale and the shark?
Eastern Cape snapshot
Major cities East London, economic hub of Buffalo City Metropolitan area
Port Elizabeth, largest economic centre and is part of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan area
Main languages isiXhosa 78%, Afrikaans 10%, English 5%
Language of commerce English
Population 6,8 million or 12,7% of total South African population
Size 169,580 square kilometres or 14% of South Africa’s land mass
GVA-R 1,5% growth
Major industries Automotive, tourism, agriculture, agroprocessing, renewable energy
Sectoral analysis (2013) Primary sector 1,9%
Secondary sector 17,4%
Tertiary sector 71,1%
Province with unmatched beauty
The Eastern Cape stretches along some 800km of the south-eastern shores of South Africa.
It is a region of unmatched natural beauty, particularly its rugged cliffs and the rolling green hills of the north-east of our province..
The province’s diverse climates and landscapes range from the dry and desolate Great Karoo to the lush forests of the Wild Coast and the Keiskamma Valley, the fertile Langkloof, renowned for its rich apple harvests and the mountainous southern Drakensberg region around the town of Elliot.
From the endless beaches and craggy bays of the coastline, the province gradually crosses an interior of grassland, rivers and dense forests to reach its northern boundary in the majestic Drakensberg Mountains.
The vast interior of the province ranges from the dry Karoo in the west, where small towns can be more than 100km apart, to the rolling hills and cascading rivers of the north-eastern parts of the province.
About the land and its people
At about 170,000 square kilometres, the Eastern Cape is about the size of Uruguay.
It is the country’s second largest province taking up 14% of total South African land mass.
Its population is the 3rd largest of all the nine provinces.
The majority of its people speak isiXhosa followed by Afrikaans and English. The language of business is English.
Today, most of the almost 13 million people who live in the Eastern Cape speak isiXhosa, followed by English and Afrikaans.
That is a reflection of the rich tapestry of the province’s history and culture. Some call the region the crucible of modern South African history and identity.
The Eastern Cape is the only one of South Africa’s nine provinces to have all seven of its biomes, or ecological zones, within its boundaries. This gives it a tremendous diversity of climates, allowing for a vast range of activities.
The Eastern Cape also has more ‘sunshine’ days than any other South African province – more than 300 out of 365 days are sunny.
A superior lifestyle
To choose to live in the Eastern Cape is to choose a superior lifestyle with all modern conveniences at hand. Here, more than 300 days in a year are sunny, a magnificent coastline stretches along 800km of the warm Indian Ocean, numerous unspoiled estuaries run into the sea, and in winter, snow caps the mountains inland.
Lifestyle is a make-or-break factor in investment decisions. Many investors speak of the ease they have in attracting staff to work in the Eastern Cape.
Rich natural resources
The Eastern Cape is abundantly rich in natural resources, from grazing land to forests, marine life to rich farming soils, water to wilderness.
With all seven of South Africa’s ecological zones, the province’s climate allows for the production of a wide range of crops.
Crops as diverse as pineapples, tea, tomatoes and chicory are successfully cultivated.
Pondoland, in the east of the province, holds some of the richest soils in the country.