Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Traditional healers on the beach

I had the privilege to accompany an Argentinian journalist around Port Elizabeth and the surrounding area for a couple of days showing off this beautiful part of the world I live in.  Walking along Shark Rock Pier at Hobie Beach we noticed a couple of traditional healers performing a ceremony next to the pier (see more pictures on The Firefly Photo Files).  After the ceremony we had a chat with them and the journalist asked if he could get a couple of pictures as it would make a very interesting addition to one of his stories.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

City Hall clock

The Port Elizabeth City Hall must be one of the most beautiful historic buildings in the city.  It was originally built between 1858 and 1862 with the clock tower being added in 1883.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Today's post is slightly tongue in cheek.  The association with Port Elizabeth is puerly the fact that these adverts seem to pop up all over the city and get stuck to bus stops, power boxes, freeway pillars and even on the back of stop signs.  The thing that caught my eye was the fact that the middle advert says "Abortions" and "Penis enlargement" followed by "Relationship problems".  I think those three sum up the problem right there.  The middle one leads to the first having to take place which probably causes the latter.  Ps, I took out the good doc's phone number just in case anybody on here got the idea to phone him regarding the middle one (or any of the other two for that matter).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Rivonia Trialists

I had to visit the Nangoza Jebe Hall (previously Centenary Hall) in New Brighton for a meeting the other day and took a couple of minutes to study and photograph this painting of the Rivonia Trialists in the foyer.  The Rivonia Trial during which ten leaders of the African National Congress were tried for 221 acts of sabotage took place between 1963 and 1964.  The trialists were arrested at Liliesleaf Farm in the Johannesburg suburb of Rivonia and the trial led to Nelson Mandela spending 27 years in prison.  A few of the trialists had links to Port Elizabeth and hence the mural in the Nangoza Jebe Hall.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Donkeys in pajamas

Did you know?
  • There are three types of zebra.  The most common of the three, the Burchell's zebra (Equus burchellii) is also called the plains zebra and the common zebra
  • The Burchell's zebra can be identifies by its brown "phantom" stripe on the white stripe
  • Each zebra has its own unique pattern of those distinctive stripes, just as humans have their own unique pattern of fingerprints
  • Stripes make a herd of zebras look confusing to a predator, especially when they're moving, and particularly at dawn and dusk.
  •  A zebra's teeth keep growing for its entire life, because constant grazing and chewing wears them down.
  • A baby zebra can stand up just 20 minutes after it's born. It can run when it's an hour old.

  • A zebra's night vision is believed to be as good as an owl's.
  • A herd of zebra are called a ... dazzle

Friday, November 25, 2011

Circle patterns

How often do we just wander blindly through life not noticing anything around us?  I wonder how many Port Elizabethans have ever spotted the circular paving patterns next to Hobie Beach. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Baby Bontebok

This time of year one gets to see lots of little baby animals running around the game reserves surrounding Port Elizabeth.  Kragga Kamma Game Park is probably one of the best options to visit if you want to take the family and show the babies to the kids.  I photographed these Bontebok moms with their babies at Kragga Kamma last week and just missed the first zebra born this season by a couple of days. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

View from Blue Waters Cafe

One of the best places to go for breakfast along the Port Elizabeth beachfront must be Blue Waters Cafe on the seaward side from the Boardwalk next to Shark Rock Pier.  Last weekend I visited the restaurant with a visitor from out of town and while we were waiting for our food popped out onto their balcony to snap a pic.  It was a cloudy and somewhat wet morning with no sign that summer is fast approaching, but it doesn't mean that the view changes (other for the fact there there is no blue sky).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"The Best in Town"

Although the Damselfly just put the shaver through my hair every now and then I may just consider Ntleki Barber Shop at Njoli Square next time I need a haircut.  Why?  Because they claim to be the best in town.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Spaza shop wall

Last week I had the opportunity to go on a township tour with Luvu Ndima of Jama Tours.  I haven't been on one for a while and going on this one gave me lots of photo opportunities.  What makes Luvu's tours stand out is that he doesn't just drive through the township showing you the sights through the vehicle windows.  We stopped numerous times to getting a closer look at things like an informal butcher, a corner "take away", a tavern with a buy and braai option, a barber shop and all the vendors around Njoli Square.  Here Luvo offered to pose in front of this very interesting spaza shop wall.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Stormy stadium skies

On Thursday it was announced that the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium right here in Port Elizabeth will be hosting the third rugby test between the Springboks and England on 23 June 2012.  Stunning news for the city, especially after the very successful Tri-Nations match that was hosted here in August.  Port Elizabeth has showed SA Rugby that we can do it and do it with style.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Library gate

I had a chance to walk around the Market Square area last Sunday morning without all the cars and people about that is the norm during the week.  Unfortunately for me it was dark and cloudy, so I didn't take as many pictures as I wanted to.  One of those I did get was the very interesting gate in front of the main entrance to the historic Public Library.  In actual fact there are three of these next to each other.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Development on the horizon

Although there is still over a year to go until the opening of the new hotel and conference centre at the Boardwalk complex on the Port Elizabeth beachfront, the construction is quickly starting to take shape and becoming visible from all around.  Standing on Shark Rock Pier next to Hobie Beach one could only see the three cranes up to recently, but now the new building are sticking out as well.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Boardwalk in bloom

The flower beds at the Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment Centre is stunning at the moment and with the blue skies and palm trees its putting me in a holiday mood.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Did you bring us any carrots?

The donkeys at the East Cape Horse Care Unit loves it when members of the public comes to visit, cause most of the time they would bring along a bag of carrots to feed the donkeys with.  And how can one say no to a couple of handsome boys like these asking so nicely?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Campanile Clockwork

Huffing and puffing my way to the top of the Campanile I noticed a couple of technicians working on the tower's clockwork.  It gave me an excuse to catch my breath while having a chat and also gave me an opportunity to take out my camera for a pic.  The clock's been standing for a while and the one guy said that the reason was that it's been running fast.  I was hoping that they have found and fixed the problem.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Beachfront, boats and blegh

Looking through the windows from the top of the Campanile there are a number of different sights to be seen.  Looking south the Port Elizabeth beachfront is visible in the background and the Port Elizabeth Harbour in the foreground with rows and rows of fishing boats tied up by the quay.  The problem is in the middle with the petrol tank farm and manganese ore heaps being the blight next to the beachfront.  But from all indications they will (hopefully) be moved to the Coega Harbour within the next few years. *holding thumbs*  

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Loading ship

Last week I decided to go and check out Bayworld's new mini display on one of the landings going up the Campanile.  Seeing that I was halfway up the tower's 204 steps already, I decided to stretch my legs some more and head all the way to the top.  Looking out the east view window the Port Elizabeth Harbour looked a little empty that day with only one ship berthed at the container quay. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Under the Humewood Bridge

Humewood Beach in Port Elizabeth is the oldest Blue Flag Beach in South Africa and has just been re-awarded its Blue Flag status for the coming summer season. Humewood's main parking area is just behind the City Lodge Hotel and the easiest way to get to the beach is beneath the Humewood Bridge which goes under Marine Drive.  Although the beaches are still quite, the blue flag is already flying and the life guards with all their equipment is on standby for anything that may happen.

Friday, November 11, 2011

PAG Memorial for Remembrance Day

Today, 11/11/2011, is Remembrance Day, also known as Poppy Day and Veterans Day.  It is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth countries since the end of World War I to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty.  Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November to recall the official end of World War I on that date in 1918 with hostilities formally ended "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month" of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.  Without thinking I posted the War Memorial cross I was keeping for today on Wednesday, but decided to post another war memorial which can be found in St Georges Park in Port Elizabeth.  The Prince Alfred's Guard Memorial was erected in remembrance of men from the Guard that have died in a number of wars which are inscribed on the memorial.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Boardwalk development

One of the single biggest leisure developments ever in Port Elizabeth is busy taking place at the Boardwalk complex on the beachfront as we speak.  The Boardwalk, as part of their new casino license agreement, is busy building a brand new 2400 seater international standard conference centre along with a 5 star hotel (a one billion rand investment) which will officially open in December 2012.  I think most people in the city, specially those working in the tourism and meetings industries, can't wait to see the finished product.  For now we have to be happy with peeking through the windows in the construction barrier like curious children though.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

War Memorial cross

Its always an exciting moment when I discover something in Port Elizabeth that I didn't know about before.  This was the case the other day when I noticed this foliage in the shape of a cross in St Georges Park just behind the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Gallery

The plaque reads:  In memory of all those South African men and women who lost their lives in the various wars.  Not for themselves but for others. 

I always knew of the Cenotaph outside the entrance to the park, the Prince Alfred Guard Memorial and a third war memorial which I just realised that I haven't taken a photo of before (Note to self: Go take photo of war memorial plaque at St Georges).  This means that St Georges Park has four war memorials... that I know of. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Traditional welcome

The beating of drums... women dancing... a praise singer singing... all part of a traditional welcome to Africa and something that tourists just love to see.  In fact, tourists just can't walk past them without taking pictures or even joining in and bobbing to the rhythm.  A rhythm which is very addictive by the way.  Last week we welcomed 56 Belgium travel agents for a four day visit to Port Elizabeth and the Eastern Cape and the guys from African Drumbeat welcomed them to the welcome function at the Beach Hotel in style.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Kids Expo drumming

Over the weekend the annual Kids and Baby Expo took place at the Moffet-on-Main Lifestyle Centre here in Port Elizabeth.  The expo's exhibitors covered just about everything that you would need for babies and toddlers as well as a lot of activities to keep the kiddies busy while at the expo.  I manned a tourism information stand at the show and across from me there was drumming for kids in the form of a story.  Every time the story started the kids just flocked in to participate.  Needless to say I was just about able to tell the whole story by the end of the show.  Ad to the drums the painball stall (where they did target shooting) next door and the constant noise of the inflatable soccer field's fan on the other side and I had a splitting head ace at the end of each day.  But thoroughly worth it in the end.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Lion King

Port Elizabeth is surrounded by some of the best private game reserves in South Africa, not forgetting Addo Elephant National Park right on our doorstep.  The majority of these game reserve have free range lions and its always a highlight on any game drive to encounter these magnificent and proud animals.  Kalahari is one of two male lions in the Kuzuko section of the Addo Elephant National Park.  He was one of the first six lions brought to Addo from the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park when it was decided to reintroduce lions to the park a couple of years ago.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Happy Valley lilies

I don't think there is anybody who have grown up in Port Elizabeth that didn't visit Happy Valley as a child.  With the summer season apon us I was curious to see what kind of shape it is in and decided to take a walk up the valley.  It was a stunning early summers day and I couldn't help but to sit down next to the stream for a couple of minutes to take in my surroundings.

Friday, November 4, 2011

From the top of the Duckpond

The cricket season is on its way here in South Africa with the 1 Day Cup domestic competition that just started and the Australians touring the country.  St Georges Park here in Port Elizabeth just hosted an ODI match between the Proteas and the Aussies and is now getting ready for the domestic series.  I went to a function on the top floor of the Duckpond Pavilion the other day and couldn't help but to marvel at the magnificent view of the oldest test cricket stadium in South Africa. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Into the sunrise

One of the best parts of an afternoon / evening game drive at a game reserve is stopping to enjoy a drink while the sun is setting, yet not many people would associate a game drive with a sunrise.  Visiting Kuzuko Lodge north of Port Elizabeth recently we set off on our morning game drive just before sunrise and turned right into the sun just as it was hanging above the horizon.  So where a cowboy would ride off into a sunset, we drove into the sunrise on our way to find rhino, elephant and cheetah.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Old Road signs

I don't know why but for some reason this road sign is my favorite road sign in the world.  It stands just north of the Zuurberg Pass on the old road inland.  From this point you can head north towards Somerset East on the R335, west towards Jansenville on the R400 or east to get to the main road (N10) between Port Elizabeth and Cradock.  South will take you past Ann's Villa and over the old Zuurberg Pass towards Port Elizabeth. Just a pity it wasn't a nice blue sky day when I passed it the other day.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The old road north

In years gone by (and now I'm not just talking about a few moons ago, but more like a 100 years ago) the main road from Port Elizabeth heading north (today called the R335) crossed over the mountains via the old Zuurberg Pass  before heading further north through Somerset East and Cradock.  This picture was taken of the dirt road, now mostly used by the farming community and people heading towards Kuzuko Lodge and Darlington Dam, just on the northern side of the Zuurberg Mountains.