Home to the only deep water river harbour in the whole of South Africa, East London is a port which is rarely associated with being average in any way, shape or form. The township itself is imbued with a colonial charm while existing at the forefront of sophisticated dining, art, and nightlife.
It’s also a superb place from which to visit the Sunshine and Wild coasts, twin shorelines which are home to some of the best sites for windsurfing, water-skiing and deep-sea fishing in the whole of South Africa.
If you are feeling a tad more adventurous that enjoying a rafter of trendy neighbourhood bars and restaurants, there’s always cage diving among Great White Sharks. That’s right – for the price of a night out you could find yourself face to face with one of nature’s most intimidating predators, except of course, you’ll have a row of steel bars separating you from the jaws of these leviathans. Best of all, you don’t need scuba qualifications to go cage diving.
Cape Town is a true highlight of any African cruise itinerary. With the magnificent Table Mountain as a back drop, Cape Town has been capturing the hearts of travellers for decades – a beautiful natural landscape, coupled with the cosmopolitan edge of the city, makes for a killer combination that seems to draw visitors from all over the world.
From the brightly painted facades of the Bo-Kaap, to the chic range of restaurants that live at its very heart, Cape Town has a unique character which is defined by green spaces and elegant architecture. Make sure to visit the historic Company’s Gardens and Kirstenboch Botanical Gardens if you find yourself in the city.
A huge renovation during the 2010 Fifa World Cup gave Durban a brand-new football stadium and a completely refurbished beachfront. However, the third-largest city in South Africa has always been a vibrant sporting capital, with swathes of golf courses, water parks and golden beaches making it a fantastic city for thrill-seekers.
Aside from adrenaline rushes, you’ll also find a grand selection of colonial architecture which melds Dutch and Afrikaans influences to tastefully bewildering effect. As if the city wasn’t unique enough, it also boasts a distinct Asian influence, due in no small part to having the largest concentration of Indian ex-pats to be found anywhere.
As such, the cuisine and the marketplaces are teeming with the sights and sounds of the Indian subcontinent, much to the delight of cruisers who find themselves wandering around the city.
Port Elizabeth is both a shopper’s and surfer’s paradise – its state-of-the-art waterfront is one of the highlights of the Sunshine Coast and the Garden route, with boutique shopping cloistered around golden stretches of sand which are most often by populated by the locals looking to top up their tans.
Even during the winter months, the climate around Port Elizabeth manages to remain balmy, in keeping with the weather which is the staple of the Indian Ocean – baking in summers, mild in winters, and usually, perfect watersports weather during spring. Also of note are the satellite towns of Uitenhage and Despatch which both retain an air of authenticity, even in the height of the summer tourist season.