Eastern Cape, South Africa – September 12th, 2008
The Eastern Cape is a province of South Africa. Its capital is Bhisho. It was formed in 1994 out of the “independent” homelands of Transkei and Ciskei, as well as the eastern portion of the Cape Province. Landing place and home of the 1820 settlers. It is partly the traditional home of the Xhosa, and the birthplace of many prominent South Africans, such as Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Steve Biko and Charles Coghlan.
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.
Climate is highly varied. The west is dry with scarse 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.