Friday, December 31, 2010

Hi"lighted" stadium

2010 is coming to an end and what it years its been!  The highlight of the year must have been the 2010 FIFA World Cup of which Port Elizabeth was one of the host cities.  PE had the privilege to host 8 games in this stunning event and did so successfully.  So as a parting shot for the year I am posting a night photo of the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, as seen from Parsons Hill, which hosted those games.  See you all next year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

City lights

Port Elizabeth doesn't have a proper high point from where you can enjoy views across the city like in Cape Town.  I do love the view from up at Lovemore Heights though, especially at night when the city lights stretch away into the distance.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fun Fair

One of the main attractions on the beachfront during the summer season this year is Pleasure Land.  Pleasure Land was an institution on the Port Elizabeth beachfront up until a couple of years ago when the stopped coming for some reason.  Their place was taken by smaller operators, but it was never the same.  This year the organisers of the summer season activities brought back the original Pleasure Land which is situated for the first time right next to Beach Road and the Kings Beach Flea Market.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Between the railway lines

The narrow gauge railway line, used by the Apple Express, leading to the west of Port Elizabeth runs through the western suburbs of the city before heading out of town.  It passes about 300 meters from my house and I decided to venture onto the line for a photo or two.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Another plane load coming

We are currently right in the middle of the summer holidays and thus our peak holiday period.  This means that every plane flying into the Port Elizabeth Airport brings us more visitors and more visitors means more money for the tourism trade.  Pity tourists don't realise how wonderful a destination Port E:izabeth can be out of peak season, because we can really do with more visitors then as well.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Shopping for bargains

Some of the best bargains in town can be found in the Traduna Mall in the Port Elizabeth city centre.  Most of the shops belong to Somalis and other foreign nationals and the prices can't really be beaten anywhere else in town.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Opening Christmas gifts

The Rugrats opening their gifts on Christmas morning

I want to wish all the regular, not so regular, by chance and "find it through Google" visitors to Port Elizabeth Daily Photo a Merry Christmas.  I hope it was a blessed day and that everybody received the gifts that they asked for in their Dear Santa letters. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Peak season

It is peak summer holiday season and people are flocking to the Port Elizabeth beachfront

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mosaic lighthouse art

The upgrade on the Donkin Reserve is well advanced at the moment and as soon as most of it is completed I want to go and photograph and post all the upgrades and art pieces that has been added to the historic Donkin Reserve.  The Donkin Lighthouse upgrade was the first part of the project that was completed and an interesting feature that has been added to the lighthouse are these mosaic tiles around its base.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

SAMREC Penguin Release

A couple of weeks ago I was very fortunate to be at a SAMREC penguin release at Hobie Beach here in Port Elizabeth.  The South African Rehabilitation and Education Centre (SAMREC) is based at Cape Recife and their main aim is to save and rehabilitate the endangered African Penguins which are found on the islands in Algoa Bay.  Once the penguins have been rehabilitated they are released back into the bay to return to what is said to be the biggest breeding colony of African Penguins in the world.  Read more on the release here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Beachfront flea market

Every Sunday morning the beachfront promenade between the Kings Beach parking area and McArthurs Pool is turned into the Kings Beach Flea Market. Handmade wares share the space with foreigners selling sun glasses and cell phone chargers.  There may be lots of junk (junk being a relative word cause on Sunday my only purchase was a cell phone cover bought from a Nigerian) being sold in between the interesting stuff, but its still worth a hour or so walk enjoying the marvelous sunshine. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

After the rain

Over the last week we have had some good rains fall all over the country.  In and around Port Elizabeth it brought welcome relief although not nearly enough has fallen to break the drought.  There was enough rain though to get the Baakens River flowing a bit stronger at the 3rd Avenue Dip.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Around the fire

The summer holidays and Christmas season is upon us and this is the time of the year when friends and colleagues get together to spend some quality (and quantity) time together.  One of the best ways to do this is around a fire with a couple of drinks followed by some seriously good food.  Bliss!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Opening of the Season fireworks

Last night the annual Opening of the Season fireworks took place at Hobie Beach after it was postponed due to rainy weather the previous night.  I really didn't feel like taking on the crowds and traffic jams on the beachfront for a couple of pictures, so I decided to head up to Lovemore Heights to see if I can get a glimpse from there.  It wasn't the best vantage point as you could only see the high fireworks from there, but I wasn't alone.  There were quite a few people there with me who didn't want to do the crowd thing.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Swartkops Mouth

The mouth of the Swartkops River seen from the Bluewater Bay side.  The factory on the right is the Algorex carbon black plant while the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is visible on the left.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Looking up at Queen Vic

Looking up at the statue of Queen Victoria standing in front of the historic Public Library in the Port Elizabeth city centre.  The statue was unveiled in 1903, one year after the library's opening.

Visit Skywatch for more pictures from around the world featuring the sky

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Equestrian champs

The South African Junior Equestrian Championships have been taking place at the Port Elizabeth Riding Club over the last week or so.  I've seen the sport on television, but it was the first time that I actually sat next to the ring (see how little I know of it, cause I'm sure the arena isn't called a ring) and saw the horses jump in real life.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kite flags

If I ever had to encounter a flag pole like this one somewhere on a deserted beach my first reaction would be to try and find the shipwreck survivors that put it up.  This particular one doesn't belong to any stranded souls but played some kind of role in this weekend's kite surfing at Bluewater Bay.  Probably ready, steady, GO!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Kite surfers

Over the weekend there was a national kite surfing competition that took place in blistering conditions at Bluewater Bay on the eastern side of Port Elizabeth.  It was a stunning site seeing all the kits bulging in the wind with the city in the background.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Courtyard Suites Hotel

The front view of the 4 star Courtyard Suites Hotel on the Port Elizabeth beachfront from its pool area.  The hotel is situated on a prime spot with fantastic views of Algoa Bay from all its rooms.  But I'm not here to market the hotel and I haven't stayed there so I can't do a review.  I just had to go meet somebody there and popped out to the pool to take a couple of pictures.

Another photo of the pool, but this time showing the view towards Algoa Bay

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Rocky beach

Summer is here and the beach is the place to be.  I apologise to all the Northern Hemisphere readers of the blog.  I'm not mocking you, its just that I will be spending a lot more time on the beachfront.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Window to the harbour

This narrow guage railway bridge (if I can call is that), crosses one of the old unused South End Roads below Beach Road close to the Humewood Station.  I was just curious to see it from up close and ventured down to it.  It made for a nice window towards the harbour. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Donkin Lighthouse

The old Hill Lighthouse, also known as the Donkin Lighthouse on the Donkin Reserve in Port Elizabeth.  The lighthouse was built in 1861 but was taken out of commission in the mid 1900's due to the fact that the lights of the city behind it made it impossible for ships to spot it's light.  A new light was erected out on the North End coastline to warn ships.

Visit Skywatch for more pictures featuring the sky

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fisherman and stadium

A fisherman fishing off the rocks between Hobie Beach and Pollok Beach.  In the background one of the Port Elizabeth Harbour is visible with the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium beyond.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Donating blood

Every now and then I do my bit and post what would probably be called a public service announcement.  So today I'm serving my public.  This is the time of year when a lot of South African's are starting to go away on their annual summer holidays which means that a lot of regular blood donars tend to skip a donation because they aren't home or is too busy to donate.  This leads to a situation where the South African National Blood Service runs very low on stock at a time when blood could potentially be in big demand due to the influx of visitors and the possibility of more accidents happening.  I donated blood for the 47th time last week (three more for my half century) and noticed the SANBS' summer blood campaign poster.  "Give someone a bloody good festive season"  You gotta love the word play in that one. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Carols in Settlers Park

On Saturday night the second annual Carols by Candlelight in Settlers Park took place.  The event was organised by the Wildlife and Environment Society of SA (WESSA) and Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism and forms part of the Baakens Valley Recovery Program.  Although the wind was blowing all day long, the spot where the carols took place was sheltered and you barely felt a breeze.  The program was lead by the Salvation Army Brass Band and the vocal talents of Niqui Cloete-Barrass and MC of the night, Anna Pouw of BayFM.  People came with blankets and camp chairs, picnic baskets and wine and kids ran wild. But not wild in a bad sense.  After dark everybody lit their candles, although they had to shelter the flames from the slight breeze  This is really an event that can grow to be one of the highlights on the city's event calender.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ore ship

An ore ship loading manganese ore at the Port Elizabeth harbour.  In the foreground is a couple of yachts at anchor next to the Algoa Bay Yacht Club.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Nativity Play

Its that time of the year when all little angels don their wings, wise men pick up their gifts, shepherds collect their sheep and mini Joseph and Mary head for the two chairs in the middle of the stage that represents Bethlehem.  Most pre-primary schools and Sunday schools stage a short nativity play this time of year at their end of year prize givings.  Everybody always tries something slightly different so that the kids don't feel like its always the same.  At our Sunday school last weekend the story was told from a donkey's perspective.  The young donkey was very sad cause he wished he was a magnificent horse, but his aunt told him how a donkey played a very big part in transporting the most precious gift ever given to us.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Its that time of the year when most of us actually dare to venture into the garden (often with a lot of persuasion from the wives) and do some work towards making the yard look a little bit prettier.  Port Elizabeth has a number of excellent nurseries where avid gardeners (and the rest of us) can get everything they need to spruce up around the house.  One of the bigger nurseries in town is Bloomingdales in Walmer where you will be able to find just about anything you want. Not just for the garden, but for the house as well.  Bloomingdales has a whole lifestyle village that was developed around the nursery which contains quite a number of little shops selling everything from interior decor to mohair to wines.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Braai time

Summer is here and with it the opportunity to participate in one of South Africa's favorite pastimes. Its BRAAI time! "Braai" is the Afrikaans word for barbecue and "vleis" is meat.  Braaivleis is best done on open coals and not on a gas braai, although it is accepted as a lesser alternative.  With the summer holidays around the corner and South Africans heading to the coast (or bush... or mountains... or desert...) there will be lots of braai'ing done by the time January comes around.  My braai on Saturday consisted of fillet steak, bbq flavoured chicken drumsticks, boerewors (farmer's sausage - not that such an English word exist) and the foil under the grid contained mushrooms for the cheese and mushroom steak sauce.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

St Georges Park Swimming Pool

The St Georges Park Swimming Pool next to the St Georges Park Cricket Stadium was opened on 12 November 1937.  The opening of the pool was celebrated with a performance of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night Dream" and was said to be one of the most beautiful and modern baths in South Africa at the time.  The complex has a Olympic sized swimming pool, a kiddies pool and a grand stand with seating for 1080 people.  The well knows South African playwright Athol Fugard's play "Master Harold and the Boys" takes place in the tea room at the swimming pool. Unfortunately the tea room has been closed for many years now.  Even more unfortunate is the fact the the swimming pool is currently closed due to the water restrictions that we have in the city due to the drought in the catchment areas.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jetty Street

People arriving in Port Elizabeth by ship in the old days disembarked at the old jetty and had to travel up Jetty Street into the town.  The statue of Queen Victoria was positioned in front of the Public Library to look down Jetty Street and welcome visitors to the town.  In the 1970's when the Settlers Freeway was constructed it literally cut the harbour off from the town centre area and Jetty Street was closed up when the bus station was built. The municipality is currently busy with a project developing a precinct between Strand Street and the Donkin Reserve which will include several art pieces.  Part of the project was opening up a section of the covered area above the old Jetty Street and building steps up to Market Square and although Jetty Street as such would never exist again, it will always be remembered as such.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Looking up at City Hall

The Port Elizabeth City Hall on Market Square in the city centre must be one of the most beautiful buildings in Port Elizabeth.  Constructed between 1858 and 1862 with the clock tower being added on in 1883, the building just received a paint job and is looking stunning. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

South End Wild Fig Tree

The South End Wild Fig Tree stands about 100 meters from the South End Museum. The tree stands next to the then Chase Street.  In the days of the old South End before the Groups Areas Act meant the removal of the people from the area the kids used to climb the tree while the older people sat in it's shade.  When the people were removed and the buildings in the area demolished, the fear was that the tree would also be chopped down or pushed over by a bulldoser.  Luckily this didn't happen.  It is thought that the tree is over 100 years old.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Baakens River

The Baakens River flowing through Settlers Park. The picture was taken from the park's How Avenue parking area. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Full house

Full house at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium for the EP Kings' last game of the season a couple of weeks ago.  It was the second leg promotion / relegation game against the Pumas and unfortunately the Kings didn't win which means another year in the first division.  On the up side. Most of the teams in the premier division can't garner this type of support for key matches, so its a feather in the supporters' hats. EP Rugby is on the rise.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Addo elephant

One of my favorite parts of being a tourist guide used to be sitting in Addo Elephant National Park and watching the elephants do whatever... Coming down to the water, eating, walking along, standing around, ripping a bush apart, little ones playing, big ones stamping out there authority, whatever... At one stage I used to go to Addo up to 5 or 6 times a week and I never got tired of seeing these huge animals. Pity I didn't have a digital camera in those days, otherwise I would have had tons of awesome pictures to post on here. I think its time to visit my pachyderm friends again.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Museum parking

The South End Museum has struggled with parking space at the museum since they opened.  They recently secured funding to have a parking area developed on the corner between the museum and the busy Beach Road / Walmer Boulevard intersection.  The centre piece of the parking area is a granite "soccer ball" which was one of the legacy projects that was part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fig Tree roots

In and around St Georges Park there are several old Wild Fig Trees that has bees been around for more than 100 years.  This specific one in the park has a spectacular root system. I, for one, am glad that it doesn't stand next to my house.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Manganese ore dumps

One of the major eyesores and talking points along the Port Elizabeth beachfront is the Manganese ore terminal between Kings Beach and the Port Elizabeth Harbour.  Not just does it look ugly, but the dust of the ore gets blown over the Humewood area when the wind blows from the north east.  There are hopes that the ore terminal along with the tank farm next to it will be moved to the Coega Industrial Port.  The manganese gets mined in the Northern Cape and transported by train to Port Elizabeth from where it gets exported.  The bulk facility storage bins on the harbour has a capacity of 350,000 tonnes of manganese ore.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sunny day on Kings Beach

A sunny day on Kings Beach

After the kind of weather we have had this week there can be no doubt anymore that summer has slipped in the door and shoo'd winter away.  Another one of the signs is that when I slip down to the beachfront during lunch time the beaches aren't all empty anymore. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Marina Salt

There are several salt pans on the eastern side of Port Elizabeth around the Swartkops and Chatty Rivers.  It is thought that during prehistoric times the sea pushed up to the these salt pans via the Swartkops and Chatty Rivers at high tide and left the seawater behind at low tide.  This water evaporated and left behind salt crystals on the bottom of the pan. The local Khoisan inhabitants of this area used to gather the salt in these pans during the period 1799 under the guidance of British missionaries, Drs. Philip and Van der Kemp.  Today a lot of these salt pans are still worked to produce Marina Sea Salt.  This sight can be seen next to the Swartkops Road between Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Walmer Town Hall gate

The sprawling suburb of Walmer had  it's origins as a farm that was later sub-divided.  Initially called ‘Muller town’, it was renamed to Walmer after the Duke of Wellington, who died at Walmer Castle in Kent.  Walmer used to be a separate town from Port Elizabeth and had its own municipality, but with the growth of PE Walmer got included in the Port Elizabeth Municipality on 1 January 1967.  Walmer is generally referred to as the garden or leafy suburb with many beautiful parks, large gardens and tree lined streets.  Aside from this it has a commercial area where the library, police station, a number of businesses and the old Walmer Town Hall is situated.  On the corner of Main Road and 8th Avenue the original gate to the Walmer Town Hall can be found.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Walmer War Memorial

Last Thursday, 11 November, was Remembrance Day, also known as Poppy Day, Armistice Day or Veterans Day.  It is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth countries to remember the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and civilians in times of war, specifically since the First World War.  Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November to recall the official end of World War I on that date in 1918, as the major hostilities of World War I were formally ended "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month" of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.  Every year a parade and service takes place at the Walmer Cenotaph on the weekend after the 11th, but as I was sitting in church on Sunday morning I realised that I had totally forgotten about it.  I would have liked to show you some pictures of it, but instead will post a picture of the Walmer Cenotaph which is situated in front of the old Walmer Town Hall.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Despatch Museum

One of the things that Despatch is well known for is the amount of top sports personalities that have originated from the town.  Despatch is synonymous with names such as Danie Gerber, Adri Geldenhuys, Rudi Koertzen and Charl Matthys to name only a few.  Its for this reason that a big part of the Despatch Museum has been dedicated to the top sport men from the town and numerous sporting memorabilia has pride of places on its wall. Amongst them six rugby Springbok blazers.  The museum also boasts a mini model of the Algoasaurus, which was discovered in Despatch in 1903. The original dinosaur bones and a full size model is currently on display at Bayworld.  Alongside it are also examples of the original bricks produced in the town and transported to Port Elizabeth in the late 1800's and early 1900's for use in construction.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Van Stadens Gorge

The Van Stadens River is the western boundary of the Nelson Mandela Bay metropolitan area.  Crossing the gorge about 35 km west of Port Elizabeth is a magnificent arch bridge that was completed in 1971.  The bridge is 125 meter high, 340 meter long and was built similtaniously from both sides.  It replaced the old bridge which can only be reached by driving through the Van Stadens Pass.  Driving down the Garden Route towards Cape Town from Port Elizabeth, this is the first of a serious of large arch bridges. The others are the Storms River Bridge, Bloukrans Bridge, Groot River Bridge and Bobbejaan River Bridge, all in the Tsitsikamma.  The Van Stadens River was named after Marthinus van Staaden who farmed in the area in the mid 1700's. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sukume Museum

The Sukume Human Dignity Centre next to the Walmer Township (Gqebera) consist of a creche, feeding scheme and hand craft project to assist people from the nearby township.  The centre recently started a small museum to help visitors understand the township and the culture of the Xhosa people.  They still have a lot of different plans for the centre and the museum, but as they do it out of their own pockets its a slow and ongoing project.