Hunting in South Africa's East Cape Province
Birthplace of Nelson Mandela, the Eastern Cape is a large province with many fine ranches supporting a large variety of indigenous and introduced game. The province is divided into the coastal plain and the inland plateau, two greatly different habitats.
The inland plateau forms part of the expanse of the great Karoo, a semi-desert arid hinterland home to vast herds of springbok and blesbok. The sparse vegetation and harsh weather dictate the occurrence of indigenous species in this region although the hardy springbok is the most suitably adapted to the open scrubland with the blesbok running a close second. Mountain reedbuck, Vaal rhebok, steenbok, east Cape greater kudu and caracal also occur as indigenous game in this region. Early travelers to the region encountered Elephant, Lion, Leopard, Rhinocerous, Hippo and many more species which are today non existent here.
The coastal belt features rolling hills of dense thorn and cactus bush with interwoven grassy patches. This is home to Cape bushbuck, east Cape greater kudu, Cape grysbok, blue duiker, caracal, bush duiker and the many angora wool goats (the predominant farming activity is sheep and goat raising).
In the early frontier days lion, elephant, buffalo, eland and a host of other plainsgame roamed the Eastern Cape but sadly, today their occurrence is due to their re-introduction rather than natural occurrence.
Game Ranches in the area offer many different species including: gemsbok, black and blue wildebeest, red lechwe, fallow deer, nyala, buffalo, lion, leopard, caracal, genet, impala, bontebok, red hartebeest, zebra and a host of others.
In addition, trophy fees and daily rates are probably the most favourable in the country. However, the hunting methods and areas do tend to leave one remembering that you are hunting on a ranch.
Major towns of the province are Port Elizabeth and East London which are served by South African Airways and other smaller airlines from Cape Town or Johannesburg. Other towns of importance are Graaf-Reinet, Cradock, Queenstown, King William's Town, Umtata and Aliwal North.
In most cases you will be required to take a connecting flight from your point of arrival (Cape Town or Johannesburg) to Port Elizabeth or East London where your outfitter will collect you.