Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Red Windmill - Then and Now

There was a time when the Port Elizabeth beachfront had some real iconic roadhouses.  Places like the Red Windmill, Something Good, Cashbah and Palm Beach (Flat Rocks).  Three of these are no more with the new Something Good still being there although slightly more advanced these days.  The Red Windmill Roadhouse used to be at Hobie Beach and is remembered for the neon lighting instructed you to “flick your lights for service”.  With the development of the area the roadhouse became an burger and ice cream shop with the same name situated below Barneys at the beachfront Boardwalk (not to be mistaken with the Boardwalk Complex).  These days its not even called The Red Windmill anymore with the name having changed not too long ago.
Although the roadhouse isn't there anymore, there is a still a Red Windmill standing close to its original spot.  These days its part of the Pro Dive Dive Centre but is still seen by everybody driving down Marine Drive.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Spending the day eating in you pj's

Zebras will always be a favorite sighting on any game drive and even better if you get to see them up close like we did at Kragga Kamma Game Park recently.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Despatch's second entrance

Coming from Port Elizabeth side there are two entrances to Despatch.  At the first entrance there is a waterwheel while the second entrance, the lesser used of the two, there is a sundial.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Old Man's Beard

I'm sure most people have seen the lichen generally referred to as Old Man's Beard.  One sees quite a lot of it in the Tsitsikamma forest, but in this case I found it on the Bushbuck Trail in The Island Nature Reserve.  Usnea is the generic and scientific name for several species of fruticose lichen in the family Parmeliaceae, that generally grow hanging from tree branches and resembling grey or greenish hair.  It is often referred to as Old Man's Beard, but also called Beard Lichen, Tree's Dandruff, Woman's Long Hair, or Tree Moss.  Usnea grows all over the world and like other lichens it is a symbiosis of a fungus and an alga.

Like other lichens, Old Man's Beard often grows on sick or dying trees due to the pre-existing loss of canopy leaves, allowing for greater photosynthesis by the lichen's algae.  It is very sensitive to air pollution, especially sulfur dioxide so if you see it you know that the air is clean and pure.  Where the air is unpolluted, they can grow to 10–20 cm long.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Springbok reserve

Ever wondered where the Springboks that don't make the team hang out? 
Kragga Kamma Game Park, where else?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Promoting PE and the Eastern Cape... with Chinese subtitles

I came across this stunning video that was made in 2009 to promote Port Elizabeth and the Eastern Cape before the 2010 FIFA World Cup.  Stunning landscapes, beautiful scenes, great activities and all right here in my home town and right on our doorstep.  AND with Chinese subtitles nogal.  Perfect for our weekly Friday Video Post.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Bushbuck Trail

After yesterday's post on hiking in The Island Nature Reserve somebody asked for a little more information on the trail.  The trail through the reserve is called the Bushbusk Trail and here is a little more information about it.
The Island Nature Reserve is located about 25 km from Port Elizabeth and is accessed via the Seaview Road.  The reserve forms a sub section of the Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve and comprises 480 ha of indigenous Alexandria coastal forest boasting tree species such as Outeniqua yellow-wood, white and hard pear as well as white milkwood.   Fauna include small blue duiker, bushbuck, vervet monkey and bushpigs with more than fifty species of birds having been recorded.  The reserve offers 5 different trails of various lengths and we decided to do a combination that had us cover a distance of about 10km. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hiking at The Island

A couple of weeks ago I got to hike the Bushbuck Trail in The Island Nature Reserve for the first time.  What a beautiful trail and part of Port Elizabeth and well worth a morning or day's outing

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Impala at Kragga Kamma

A week or so ago we spent the morning in Kragga Kamma Game Park as a family.  Its been a while since I've visited the park and every time I go I'm amazed at how fortunate we are to have such a great little park so close to the city.  One of the pictures I took on the day was of an female Impala who was part of a breeding herd that was grazing next to the road.  I thought I'll post some info regarding Impala from Wikipedia

The impala (Aepyceros melampus) is a medium-sized African antelope. It is the type species of the genus Aepyceros and belongs to the family Bovidae. It was first described by German zoologist Martin Hinrich Carl Lichtenstein in 1812. They are typically between 120–160 cm long, males stand up to approximately 75–92 cm at the shoulder and weigh 53–76 kg. They are characterised by a glossy, reddish brown coat with only the males having the characteristic slender, lyre-shaped horns, which can grow to be 45–92 cm long.

The impala inhabits savanna grasslands and woodlands close to water sources. It is a mixed forager and switches between grazing and browsing depending on the season and habitat. Water is an essential requirement. Impala are fast runners and are known for their leaping ability, reaching heights up to 3 m (9.8 ft). They communicate using a variety of unique visual and vocal cues. There are three distinct social groups during the wet season: the female herds, the bachelor herds and the territorial males. The mating season is the three-week long period toward the end of the wet season in May. A single fawn is born after a gestational period of about six to seven months. The fawn remains with its mother for four to six months, after which it joins juvenile groups.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Addo roadblock

Nobody likes a road block, sitting bumper to bumper behind a slow moving object or having to waste time in a stop go situation.  That is unless you get all of these because of elephants in the Addo Elephant National Park.  I had a meeting in Addo and decided to leave two hours early and swing through the park to visit my favorite trunked pachyderms.  Entering the South Gate at Colchester, I decided to do one of the loops in the south section and encountered a whole herd ambling along in the road in front of me.  Best of all, the guy in the car in front of me wasn't one of those sighting hoggers that one often get and we took turns to be in front and take pictures, pulling over every few minutes to let the other one go in front again.  An elephant road block is the best road block.