I think I’m in love with the Eastern Cape. Its vast stretches of untouched beauty, the people, the cows walking on the beaches of the old Transkei, the vibe. It is the perfect province for a little honeymoon romance. When we went on our honeymoon last year, I wasn’t told of our next destination, only learning about it as roadsigns revealed my brand-new husband’s secrets.
The city was founded in 1820 to house British Settlers, it’s history still evident in the many Victorian style houses scattered all over the city. This was also my second time in the ‘windy city’ or ‘friendly city’, whichever you prefer. The two days spent in this wondrous city had me longing for more. So, here is:
Visit Bird Island
Bird Island is one of four islands off the coast of Algoa Bay. It is home to the largest Cape Gannet colony, with about 160 000 pairs of gannets, Roseate terns & African penguins inhabiting the island. It forms part of the Addo Elephant Park. The islands are not usually open to visitors, but SAN Parks do occasionally organise visits.
Visit Stanley Street
The locals know the best hang out spots and Stanley Street is definitely it. It is in the middle of Richmond Hill – not that I would be able to find it without a gps – and for us Joburgers, it is similar to Parkhurst, or Greenside, but with a distinct Port Elizabethean look and feel – and also prices. We ate at the lovely Mediterranean Yiayia’s – Greek for grandmother – and I ordered a delicious lamb chop and roast veg for R69, while Flip enjoyed a pizza for R40. Eat your heart our Joburg.
My favourite about Stanley Street, besides its immense vibe, the sidewalk cafe feel and music streaming everywhere, is that all the trees were covered in fairy lights, which made it awfully romantic.
St George’s Park
If you are a big cricket fan, like I am, then it is worth stopping over at this legendary field – the oldest one in South Africa. Have a picnic in the gardens, or play a round of garden bowls with the locals.
Loved by locals and visitors alike, this cute old-fashioned bakery in Walmer will have you going back for more natural grained breads and pastries.
The Boardwalk Hotel and Casino
Situated right on the world famous Hobie Beach, there is even a song about this beach, Sun International’s Boardwalk Hotel and Casino is a must-see. Besides the fantastic views of the ocean, it offers a number of restaurants and a lake with a light-and-sound show. Water dancing to the sound of music? Always a goody in my book.
It also offers loads of entertainment – read lots of couple fun – including a game centre, putt putt (a favourite of Flip and I), bowling, carnival and go carts. Even better, the hotel is currently running a winter special! PE is nice and warm (warmer than up here in the north) with an average of 25 degrees!
Special Offer Details
Bookings can be made online using the promotional code [WINTERSPECIAL].
This offer is valid for from 1 May to 31 August 2014.
- Accommodation for 2 nights, inclusive of breakfast.
- R300 Dinner Voucher.
- Complimentary bottle of wine.
- Daily newspaper.
- Complimentary airport transfers.
- VAT at 14% (subject to change).
- 1% Tourism Levy applicable on the accommodation portion of the rate.
To make a booking, contact the hotel, located on Beach Road, in Summerstrand, at 041 507 777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Go Horse riding
I remember the first time I was in Port Elizabeth. I was about ten years old and obsessed with horses, like most young girls at that age. I wanted to ride horses like my life depended on it. Luckily, PE has a number of horse trails for the equestrian enthusiasts. Take a ride on a beach, trail rides and go for a picnic.
See the History
Follow the Donkin Heritage Trail, named after the man who found PE, Sir Rufane Donkin. It stops at about 47 sites, all showcasing the rich history of this old city. Make sure to see the beautiful colonial-style library, Market Square, the Opera House and many many more.
On the doorstep of the Chelsea Downs Nature Reserve, Sardinia Bay promises beautiful beaches, loved by sandboarders and surfers. Make it extra special and romantic and watch the sun set with your lovey.
Humewood Beach and Hobie Beach
If you are looking for a swim or perhaps even a good surfing session, hit one of South Africa’s most popular Blue Flag beaches.
Visit the Harbour (duh)
Besides a yearly major fishing competition, known as The Tuna Classic, the harbour also offers majestic scenes of ships so big you can hardly comprehend it. If you like smaller boats, the Algoa Bay Yacht Club has regular Wednesday evening Sundowner sailing open to members of the public.
Not in Port Elizabeth, but still close enough to visit:
Situated about 61 km from the city, is the delta of the Gamtoos river, where its mouth meets the ocean. Besides a few houses, there is nothing else, but nguni cows and the most beautiful lagoon and shrubs. It is worth the drive, just to see this. Along the way, you will drive down the Van Stadens Pass – breathtaking in its own right.
Addo Elephant Park
The world-famous park is about 76 km from Port Elizabeth. You can expect, besides 550 elephants, to see lions, buffalo, black rhino, spotted hyena, leopard, a variety of antelope
and zebra species, as well as the unique Addo flightless dung beetle, found almost exclusively in Addo.
Even though it is one of the most unlikely places that any girl would think about for a honeymoon destination, I adored our staying in PE and my morning jogs in the wide open streets. It is definitely a place to put on your list.