Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Prester John Cross

Behind the City Hall in the city centre stands a very unique monument.  The Prester John Memorial is the only monument in the world dedicated to the mythical King-priest who was rumoured to live somewhere in Africa.  While the Portuguese were looking for a sea way to the East around Africa, it was also their quest to find Prester John as a Christian ally in Africa as he was said to be a wise king living in a land with lots of game and riches.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Township fruit vendor

Fruit vendors can be found all over the townships selling their wares from the side of the road. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The lighthouse at Cape Recife

The Cape Recife Nature Reserve so has the potential to be Port Elizabeth's Cape Point Nature Reserve, just without the cliffs.  What I'm saying is that so few people really go to Cape Recife yet there is so much to do and experience.  Some of the options are visiting SAMREC, doing the Roseate Tern Hiking Trail, bird watching, fish, exploring the rock pools at low tide, walking along the beach, tons and tons of photo opportunities and for those who prefer it slipping off to Secrets nude beach.  The big land mark in reserve is the Cape Recife Lighthouse built in 1851.  Just a pity its not open to visitors at the moment.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Of angels and books

One of the, at a lack of a better word, features on the historic Public Library in the city centre with what looks like an angel on top and a book in the centre.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Graffiti at Barnacles

So how often did you mother rap you over the fingers for drawing on her walls when you were small.  Now imagine somewhere they encourage you to do so.  The walls in the Barnacles Restaurant in Seaview is covered in messages and names of visitors who have marked their visit on the walls of the restaurant with a bit of encouraged graffiti.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ubuntu mural

While on a township tour with a Argentinian journalist a little while ago we set off in search of a mural, painting or even just graffiti somewhere on a wall that depicted the fight against HIV / Aids.  We finally found one on the wall of the Ubuntu Educational Fund's old building in Zwide.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Donkin Reserve post box

One of the oldest post boxes in Port Elizabeth stands on the Donkin Reserve next to the old lighthouse keeper's cottage, now occupied by the NMBT visitor information centre.  The post box has the Royal Cipher "GR" on it, indicating that it was erected during the reign of King George V somewhere between 1910-1936.  The first roadside post boxes appeared in 1852 on the Channel Islands.  Since then all post boxes in the UK has been painted red and bear a Royal Cipher that consists of two letters to signify the monarch under whose reign they were manufactured.  As South Africa was a British Colony our early post boxes also bore the Royal Ciphers.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Our customers are important to us...

I had lunch at Cafe Capellini in the Walmer Park Shopping Centre the other day and noticed this set of "reminders" regarding customers under the stairs.  In this day and age where customer service is so important yet often lacking, this was a stark reminder how customers should actually be treated.  And just to add, the service was excellent.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

I have seen stunning photos of the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium with some of the best interior ones being taken from the top tow of seats right in the very corner.  So late last year during the IRB 7's I decided to venture up into the nose bleed section and get my own photo.  Mmmmm.... Quite clearly the stunning pics I've seen were taken with a SLR with wide angle lens.  Both of which I don't have.  So for now I have to be happy with the pic I got. Maybe one day...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Nanaga jams

The well known Nanaga Farmstall about 50 kilometers outside of Port Elizabeth may be famous for its pies, roosterkoek and pineapple juice, but there is so much more to see and purchase at the farm stall.  Amongst others they have a fantastic range of jams and jellies lined up on their shelves.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bon appetit

Sniffing about one of the township corner "take aways" that I posted about yesterday, I was invited inside the shack to have a look at the sit down area.  Nothing fancy.  Wooden benches with tables covered in plastic.  No fancy cutlery.  This guy was eating out of a tin bowl with a spoon.  I often think all white people should go on a township tour to see how the residents of the township really live.  Break down a couple of preconceived notions, but also see what it really looks like.  Experience the sights, sounds and smells.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Township meals

I just can't get enough of observing the township corner "take aways" with their pots cooking away.  These pots could contain chicken being fried or cooked, offal, sheep heads (smileys) or the inside of a cow's head.  The pots are traditional three legged cast iron pots which are very popular with both black and white South Africans to prepare food over the fire.  The gentleman in the green shirt is a customer waiting for his meal being dished up.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Life is one big buffet

Elephants need to eat about between 160 and 200kg of vegetation per day which means that they basically eat all day as they go.  For them, life is on long buffet.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Water monitor (aka Sundays River croc)

Some of the residents of Colchester jokingly refer to the water monitors living in the Sundays River as Sundays River Crocodiles.  The reason for this is because visitors spotting them swimming in the river often think that they are looking at a crocodile.  Crocodiles never occurred in the area naturally as it gets too cold for them during the winter.  Water monitors (or Water liguaans) can grow over 1,5 meters in length with their biggest defence being their tail which they can use like a whip.  The last time I went on a cruise with the Sundays River Ferry we saw two water monitors sunning themselves on jetties along the river.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Zebra at university

After yesterday's post on the Grysbok Nature Reserve tour, Peter Betts made a comment on my Facebook page regarding the reserve.  Peter, who has a deep found love for nature, lives right on the edge of the reserve in the suburb of Summerstrand and commented on how interesting a trip it is.  He highlighted something that I didn't mention which are the Khoisan shell middens in the reserve.  He also mentioned how he loves hearing the zebras calling in the reserve on a quiet evening.  I went to have a look at the pictures I took on the day of my visit and found one of a dazzle (that is the collective noun) of Zebra with a lone Red Hartebeest in the background.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Grysbok Reserve tour

Alan Fogarty of Alan Tours does a very informative tour of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University's Grysbok Nature Reserve.  Usually the tours are conducted in an open 4x4, but on the day we went the weather was a bit iffy and he took us in his closed vehicle.  We stopped a couple of times during the tour and Alan showed us the indigenous dune vegetation and fynbos as well as the plants that the Khoisan used for medicinal and other purposes.  The biggest surprise for me was the fact that I have driven past the reserve thousands of times and have never realised that its such a diverse area.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Grysbok Nature Reserve

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University's South Campus (previously the University of Port Elizabeth main campus) is very unique in that it is the only university campus in South Africa wholly situated inside a nature reserve.  The campus covers 830 ha and was declared a Private Nature Reserve in 1983.  The reserve is dominated by the St Francis Dune Thicket and fynbos vegetation.  The vegetation is highly threatened due to agricultural clearing and coastal development and the NMMU Nature Reserve, also called the Grysbok Nature Reserve, makes a significant contribution towards its conservation.  The Grysbok Trail through the reserve, with 4,8 km and 2,5 km options, was established in 1995 and is designed to act as an environmental education and recreation resource for the University and the broader community.  Visitors can also book a guided open vehicle drive through the reserve with Alan Tours, a local tour operator.

Information obtained from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University website.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Aya's garden

In yesterday's post I wrote about Aya's Ceramic Studio in New Brighton.  Visiting Aya's studio one immediately realises how artistic she is.  Her studio, house and garden is one big exhibition area for her art with ceramic pieces scattered and placed all over.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Aya's Ceramic Studio

A lot of artists like to settle somewhere close to the coast, in the mountains, a forest or a little town in the Karoo to draw inspiration from their environment to channel into their art.  Then there are people like Ayanda (Aya) Mji who lives in the heart of the New Brighton township of Port Elizabeth and who draws her inspiration from the African landscape around her.  She uses animals, birds and even her dreams to create some of the most interesting ceramic art you will find anywhere in the beautiful country of ours.  Aya owns the only ceramic studio in Port Elizabeth's townships from where she sells a large range of ceramic art works.  Aya's Ceramic Studio is situated in 90 Gunguluza Street close to the Red Location Museum in New Brighton.  Just in case somebody wants to contact her for more information, her contact number is 041 4543350.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The ferry on the Sundays River

One of my favorite attractions around Port Elizabeth is cruising the Sundays River with the team of Les Kingma and Maggie Mann of the Sundays River Ferry Company in Colchester.  Cannonville in fact, but not everybody know that there are two villages on the banks of the Sundats River.  But I digress.  Les first cruises up the river just past the Mackay Bridge before turning back and heading towards the river mouth.  When Maggie has an opportunity to be on board (in between running her guesthouse, Addo Gateway Lodge) she is a bundle of energy with a wealth of information about the river, the dunes and the birds along the banks.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Available here

This township entrepreneur's shop (sic) is situated at Njoli Square in Kwazakhele.  I asked one of my colleagues to help me out with a bit of translation for the Xhosa words I didn't know.  She wasn't sure what Ntintile means but her assumption is that it's the guy's surname and that Rainbow Ntintile would be the name of the shop.  The rest of the sign says: "Chips (that you know), biscuits (that you know as well), isonka (bread), bread (wonder why he put it twice) sikhona apha (available here).  In other words, this is the place to buy yours bread, chips and biscuits.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Playing with cheetah

Kragga Kamma Game Park offers visitors the awesome opportunity to interact with their two tame cheetahs.  The two brothers live right next door to the park's restaurant and although fully grown adults they are as tame as kittens.  And kittens they are.  People have the idea that big cats must be in some way different from our every day house cats, but they aren't.  As soon as you start scratching between their ears they start to purr like kittens and they just absolutely love it.  So does the visitors who go in with them.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Stanley Street at night

Over the last couple of years Richmond Hill has developed into one of the premier restaurant districts in Port Elizabeth with a number of very good restaurants, coffee shops and deli's opening up all over the area.  In the evenings, specially over weekends, places like Stanley Street is a hive of activity with patrons dining both inside and out (depending on the weather).

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sweet and fruit vendor

Unemployment in the townships may be high, but there are many township residents who don't just sit back and complain about it.  They rather do something and show they entrepreneurial spirit by starting their own small businesses.  Even if its something as simple as selling fruit and sweets on the street.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Storm over Algoa Bay

I visited Cape Recife Nature Reserve a little while ago and there was a bit of a storm brewing over Algoa Bay.  It made for a nice contrast between the dark clouds and blue sky and a bit of late afternoon light.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Where to find the animals?

One of the easiest ways to find out where the animals in Addo Elephant Natinal Park can be found is by having a look at the game viewing road map in the main rest camp of the park.  Visitors to the park can mark on the map where they have seen the "main" animals and although its not always reliable its a good indication where to head to once you drive into the park.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Rooftop veggie garden

The Ubuntu centre in Zwide was opened in 2010 and is an over R40 million investment into one of the poorest communities in South Africa. The centre belongs to the Ubuntu Education Fund which is one of the most successful and internationally renowned NGO’s in the Eastern Cape and provides health and educational services right in the township.  Due to a lack of space but still in need of fresh vegetables to feed the kids with, the centre has established a rooftop vegetable garden which means that they would always have fresh produce right there on the premises.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Waiting at the waterhole

The Addo Elephant National Park's main restcamp has a water hole just below the parking area where visitors can sit and relax while watching the elephants and other animals come down to drink. Most tourists entering the park normally head straight to the lookout to see if they can glimpse their first elephant, but sometimes it's just nice to sit down, relax and take in the surroundings.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Queen Vic and the library tower

The statue of Queen Victoria was erected in front of the Public Library in the city centre in 1903 in commemoration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee (1897).  The library building itself was erected in 1902.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Aloe along the Lower Guinea Fowl Trail

This time of the year most people head down to the beach during the holidays, but what if you're not into crowds, screaming kids, girls in bikini's who will never go in the water and are just there to catch the boys' eyes or just sand between your toes?  Why not do one of the many short hiking trails that can be found around the city?  The Lower Guinea Fowl Trail is one of the main very good trail there is to do and stretches from the 3rd Avenue Dip to Settlers Park over 7,5 kilometres.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hallo 2012

Well, well, well, another year is history and a new one has started.  I hope you didn't party too hard last night and please don't tell me you've already broken those New Year's resolutions.  Come what may, 2012 is here.  I just want to take this opportunity to wish all the PEDP readers a Happy New Year.  May 2012 bring you lots of happiness, pleasure and prosperity.  Now go take something for that hangover headache and enjoy the rest of the day.