The Eastern Cape
is one of the nine provinces of South Africa
Area: 169,580 Km2 (13.9% of South Africa) The Eastern Cape is the second-largest province.
Population at 2001 census: 6,436,761 (14.4% of South Africa)
Population density: 37.96 people per Km2.
Proportion of national GDP (2001): 8.4%
Per capita GDP (2001): R8 917 This is the second-lowest in the country.
Languages: isiXhosa, English, Afrikaans
Borders with provinces: Western Cape, Northern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal.
Borders with countries: Lesotho.
The Eastern Cape is one of the four coastal provinces.
Before 1994 the Eastern Cape was part of the Cape Province.
The Eastern Cape is fertile land, but quite impoverished and fairly rural. Sheep, goats and cattle are farmed. Sheep in the dryer northern Karoo areas of the interior, and many crops on the wetter coastal areas. The province is mostly inhabited by the Xhosa people. Nelson Mandela, a member of this tribe, was born and raised in the rural Eastern Cape.
The main towns are the ports East London and Port Elisabeth. South Africa's automobile manufacturers are found in the Eastern Cape, particularly the large Volkswagen factory at Uitenhage. Cars are built for domestic use and for export.
The captial, Bisho, was developed as the Capital of the Ciskei Bantustan. The Bantustan were reincorporated in 1994 and Bisho retained as the adminstrative center of this area. "Bisho" is Xhosa for Buffalo, and the town lies on the Buffalo River.
The "wild coast" of the Eastern cape has a lot to recommend to a tourist looking to get away from it all - lots of sun and relatively warm seas on the Indian ocean, swanky hotels and casinos with sea sports, wide sweeping bays with white sands, wide open spaces, lush forests with hiking trails through fairly untouched nature.
The nine provinces of South Africa are Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Gauteng, North-West Province, Mpumalanga, Limpopo