Happy Valley is one of the real Port Elizabeth institutions. We all went there as children and its great to be able to take our children there these days. For the decade or so Happy Valley has had a terrible reputation and very few people ever went there. Three or four years ago all the characters were fixed up again and this year the stolen electricity infrastructure has finally been replaced. The characters received a new coat of paint and two security guards are on duty in Happy Valley at all times. Happy Valley is finally "open for business" again. This is my favourite picture from our walk up the other morning.
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
One of the favourite scenes in Happy Valley is the one of Alice in Wonderland. Drama Princess decided to head down the rabbit hole, chomped on a biscuit and drank a potion before going to hang out with the Cheshire Cat.
Monday, December 29, 2014
This week is probably the busiest week there is for Port Elizabeth. Thousands of holiday makers descend on the city over the school holidays with the week between Christmas and New Year being the peak of peak season. As I have a special place in my heart for Happy Valley and the fact that a lot of effort was done to get Happy Valley back as close to its former glory as possible, I have decided to dedicate a mini series to it this week. So over the next few days I would like to post a couple of photos I took on a walk up the valley with the family one Sunday morning before the hordes hit us. The little girl riding the dolphin can be seen right by the entrance as you come up from Humewood Beach.
Sunday, December 28, 2014
Saturday, December 27, 2014
I wonder how many locals know what a trig beacon is or have ever spot the few scattered around town. Chris and Denise of ChrisDen has put together a nice little Geocaching series that takes one along the Wildside, through Summerstrand and to the back of the airport, discovering six different beacons before looking for the #7 bonus cache. I took the following about trig beacons from their listings. Drama Princess decided to monkey onto this one to get a better view of the coastline.
South Africa is fully covered by the National Control Survey System which is of high accuracy and which is marked by a network of trigonometric stations and town survey marks.
The integrated survey system consists of a network of approximately 62 000 control points throughout the country. There are approximately 29 000 white beacons on mountains, hilltops and prominent man-made structures; approximately 24 000 town survey marks of brass stud in a metal box in tarred streets located in 122 cities; and approximately 20 000 benchmarks brass studs set in a concrete base originally along railway lines and alongside roads and highways.
The purpose is to provide Surveyors with a network of known co-ordinates and elevation which are critical for accurate survey for everything from roads, houses, skyscrapers to pipelines and boundaries etc.
This survey system is gradually being replaced by more than 50 active GPS base stations to be known as TrigNet which provides post processing and real time GPS correction data.
The responsible government department has identifies 9 836 trigonometric beacons that will be maintained. These beacons were selected using the following criteria:
- Beacons requiring less than two hours climb
- Block/Platform in excess of 4 meters
- Beacons located on man made structures
- Wind pump tower and pipe beacons
- Tertiary beacons supplementing the above to ensure adequate horizontal control coverage around built up/development areas.
Friday, December 26, 2014
I went digging around YouTube for a Port Elizabeth Christmas related vid for this week's video and I came across this one posted on Alan Straton of MyPE's channel last year. It shows Gordon Wearne from Sunridge Park's magnificent multimedia Christmas Light Display along with music broadcasted on 102 FM. Visitors can then park in the road and listen to the music over their car radios while watching the lights. I'm not sure if Gordon has his lights up this year but even if not its well worth a watch.
Thursday, December 25, 2014
I would like to wish all Port Elizabeth Daily Photo's Christian followers a Merry Christmas. Hope the day is a blessed one with lots of family, friends, food and gifts. Peace!
Yes yes, I know. Why white Christmas trees when we are in Africa? I thought about it and you know why? Because we can. Hahahaha.... The picture was taken at the Christmas Shop at Moffat-on-Main. Have a wonderful day everybody!
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
The Transnet Humerail Diesel Depot is situated between Humerail and Humewood in the same valley that the narrow gauge line going west runs. It is here that a couple of dedicated people are painfully trying to restore the Apple Express with the hope that Transnet will repair the line and allow this iconic train to run again. The view in picture is just off Driftsands Road after a short walk along a path. Something I discovered while out looking for, yes you guessed it, a Geocache.
Monday, December 22, 2014
All over shopping centres all around the city pictures are being taken of kids sitting on Father Christmas' lap whispering in his ear what they would like him to bring for them this Christmas. I popped in at the Christmas Shop at Moffat-on-Main the other day and watched photographer Leon Hugo take such pictures. The difference from a lot of other places is that the funds generated here go to charity. Drama Princess took a gap between photos to slip through and drop her letter to Father Christmas into the postbox behind the chair. She was a bit quick for me though so I had to settle for a picture of Leon taking pictures.
Sunday, December 21, 2014
The Grootendorst family living at the top of Melsetter Road in Lovemore Heights has gone all out this year to make the outside of their house a Christmas lights wonderland. They made a big occasion of switching it on a couple of weeks ago with the Eastern Cape Youth Choir singing, Father Christmas visiting and party packs given to all the kids. Literally hundreds of people came that night and has since stopped outside over weekends to show their kids. The lights are going to be on each evening this whole week leading up to Christmas so if you are in Port Elizabeth, do swing by and have a look.
Saturday, December 20, 2014
At the beginning of the year I took a swim out to Bird Rock on the beachfront with fellow Geocachers Erenei and Seekoei NMB with the idea of possibly placing a Geocache on the rock. Cachers like challenges and this would be a great challenge. Since placing it a couple of cachers have found it but after a rough winter I thought it was time to check up on it and do some maintenance if necessary. I was joined on the beach by GeorgeC12, Kitchenboss, Navimate Jnr and Shefetswe along with a bunch of cheerleaders on the beach. The sea decided to test us that day so it took is a little while to sum up conditions and decided how to approach this beachfront landmark.
The swim out was kinda against the stream but seeing that we decided to do it at low tide it meant that the swim wasn't anywhere as far as it would have been at high tide. Seeing that not of us are long distance swimmers (not that its a long distance but you get my drift - excuse the pun), it was a bunch of out of breath cachers that scrambled up the rocks a couple of minutes later.
After taking a breather the search was on. I immediately checked the spot I (think I) placed it in but came up empty handed. Darn! Its missing.
Luckily I brought a replacement container along and while the others signed the log I looked for a more secure spot to place it in. Hopefully I found it.
A little team photo after the swim before Navimate Jnr headed to casualties after slicing open his foot on a mussel shell below the low water mark next to Bird Rock. It's a terrain 5 rating after all. Part of the adventure though.
Friday, December 19, 2014
Alan Fogarty of Alan Tours offers a Big 7 tour that starts off with a whale watching excursion with Raggy Charters before heading to Addo to find the rest of the Big 5. Whales visit our shores mostly between April and November with Southern Right and Humpback whales being the big boys to look out for. I picked up this whale watching video on YouTube taken on one of Alan's tours.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Going to the beach in Port Elizabeth usually means heading to Kings Beach, Humewood, Hobie Beach or Sardinia Bay. There are many little beaches and corners in between like Denville Beach next to McArthur Pools. Denville is a popular spot for beginner surfers but not that frequently used by bathers as the surrounding beaches. Denville and Humewood Beach is separated by rocks and I photographed these pebbles on the beach as we were heading towards those rocks on a day of beach exploration.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
The Addo Elephant National Park is literally on Port Elizabeth's doorstep and is South Africa's third largest national park. Strange how some people still think its just about elephants. These days the park stretch all the way from the coast through the main game viewing area and over the Zuurberg into the Karoo. One of the private concession lodges in the park is Kuzuko Lodge. Kuzuko is situated just over the mountain and has a very different fauna and flora environment than the main section of the park. The lodge is situated on a hill with stunning views and is one of my favorite lodges. I just love sitting on the stoep in front of the room and enjoy the view. Even better at night with not a light in sight and millions of stars overhead.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Most people just associate Fynbos with proteas yet with over 9000 different species of plants in the biome there are many more flowers to be seen. A early morning walk on the Grysbok Trail in the NMMU Nature Reserve had me spot this clump of flowers which, at closer inspection, was actually made up of three different types of flowers. Just shows that one shouldn't go through life with your eyes closed as there are beauty to be found everywhere.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Don't you just love (or hate) it when people do something with all the good intentions in the world and then afterwards realize that they just didn't think it through properly. I spotted this sign at Kings Beach the other day and it clearly falls in that category. The sign is part of the Kings Beach Park development pointing out the skate park, play park, beach and other things. The sign has a backing with a glass front but the problem is the gap in between... It's here where the grass has found refuge from the law mowers and weed eaters. Couldn't help laugh out loud when I saw it.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
This weekend is a huge sporting weekend in Port Elizabeth. The Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens is taking place at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. The NMB 7's is part of the International Sevens World Series and the only leg taking place in Africa. I took the KidZ for day 1 yesterday and we had an awesome time. The weather was superb. The turnout was good (better than last year). The vibe was great and people were having a ball. Today is day 2 and at the time of posting this the BlitzBokke has already qualified for the semi-finals against Australia after beating England. Go Bokke!
After this year's event the contract to host the event is up for grabs again and I'm really hoping with all my heart that it will come back to Port Elizabeth. It really has become one of the city's flagship events and sending it to Cape Town will make it just another event hosted in the Mother City. PE really benefits a lot more from it with exposure, the economic spin-offs and just giving great entertainment to top notch sports hungry fans.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Last Sunday I hit the Grysbok Trail in the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Nature Reserve with Drama Princess for a bit of an early morning Geocaching outing. We signed in at 6:50am and set off down the trail at a brisk pace.
The Grysbok Trail really is a gem. One that I bet very few people know of. Not just do you get to see so many different fynbos species and flowers, but a herd of springbuck or zebra can easily cross your path on the way. We had a little duiker dart across the path right in front of us on two occasions during the morning. Best of all, its right in the heart of PE, easy to get to and safe.
There are 23 caches along the Grysbok Trail making for a great morning out combining Geocaching with getting fresh air and some exercise. The main reason we were on the trail that specific morning was that I joined a number of local and national cachers in being honoured with a dedicated cache placed by Navimate along the trail . My cache is called Water Mongoose and here I'm sharing my First to Find with Drama Princess.
Friday, December 12, 2014
A couple of weeks ago the very successful Baywest Port Elizabeth Airshow took place at the PE Airport. I came across this rad video on the Algoa FM channel featuring some GoPro action from inside the cockpit of one of the planes taking part in the airshow.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
This year our December summer holiday was supposed to be a mountain vacation and we were due to leave for four days in Matatiele on Tuesday before heading into the Southern Drakensberg for another 10 days there after. We had a very unexpected and sudden hiccup crop up this week and the Damselfly has to head into hospital for surgery. It means that we will be spending our vacation at home while she recuperates and I'm sure the beach will see the KidZ and I a couple of times over the next few weeks.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Drama Princess doing the "Instagram pose" on the beachfront during the Instawalk a couple of weeks ago. I really like the reflection in the pond along the Kings Beach promenade and she makes the perfect subject. Not that she needs any excuse to pose for a photograph.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
A couple of weeks ago I was in Richmond Hill one Saturday afternoon for a function. I had a couple of minutes before things started and took a drive over to the old Erica Building. This is the view across Albany Road towards North End and Algoa Bay. The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is just out of view on the left and you can see the Red Tide that was hanging around for a week or so along the coast line.
Monday, December 8, 2014
Over the weekend I spent some time on the Grysbok Trail in the NMMU Private Nature Reserve doing the series of Geocaches that's been placed there recently. I wonder how many people actually know of the trail.
The NMMU campus was declared a Private Nature Reserve in 1983 and covers 830 ha. The reserve is made up mainly of St Francis Dune Thicket vegetation which is characterised by clumps of thicket within Dune Fynbos. This fynbos vegetation is highly threatened because of agricultural clearing and coastal development so the NMMU Nature Reserve makes a significant contribution towards the conservation thereof. The Grysbok Trail was established in 1995 as an environmental education and recreation resource for the University and the broader community. There are two trail options that meanders through the reserve giving visitors the opportunity to observe the exciting fauna and flora of the area. Both the 3,2 km and the 2,5 km loops are fairly flat terrain and very easy to do. Private visitors are welcome but for safety purposes you need to sign the Visitors' Book at the fence stile at the start of the trail. Trained guides are available to lead visitors on the trail but need to be booked in advance. One of the things I really enjoy is spotting springbuck and zebra along the way. If you keep your eyes open you also see a lot of different birds, insects and flowers as well.
Sunday, December 7, 2014
Saturday, December 6, 2014
We all know what a Coral Tree looks like. Perhaps not off the top of your head when you hear the name, but you'll definitively know what I'm talking about if I call it a Lucky Bean Tree. Coral Trees are very distinctive in that they loose their leaves in autumn and have brilliant orange flowers before the leaves come back in spring. Something you won't know though is that there are geocaches hidden in at least three Coral Trees around town with all three being fairly tricky hides. Here Chaos Boy is in search of one of these Coral Tree caches.
Friday, December 5, 2014
Today is the 1 year anniversary of the death of our beloved Nelson Mandela. As Port Elizabeth forms part of the Nelson Mandela Bay metro I decided to make today's Friday Video a tribute to Madiba. I picked up this one of Johnny Clegg doing Asimbonanga along with a group of kids specially for today.
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Back in the early days of PE Daily Photo before I took over from Sue and Max, the St Philips Anglican Church in Richmond Hill got featured on a fairly regular basis, specially around sunrise or sunset. That's because Sue and Max live just up the road from it. I on the other hand live on the other side of town and don't get to visit Richmond Hill that often. Last weekend I had to attend a function at another church just down the road and I couldn't resist snapping a pic of the church from this angle. Long time followers of the blog might just recognize it. Now to get out of bed early enough to go and take a dawn picture of it.....
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
One of the features as part of the Kings Beach Park development is a beach chair selfie frame which Drama Princess just had to try out while on last weekend's Instawalk in the area.
Monday, December 1, 2014
The municipality (or I think it was the municipality) recently erected new lifeguard huts on the city's main beaches. On last weekend's Instawalk in the Kings Beach area I snapped this pic on a cloudy and gloomy morning showing the lifeguard huts ready and waiting for summer and the influx of holiday makers visiting the city during December and January.
Sunday, November 30, 2014
I found this piece of graffiti at the Kings Beach Skate Park last weekend. The first thing that I noticed was that it was done with what looked like pastels and not paint. Interesting. The main thing though is the message and even though this one is aimed at skateboarders, I think its an universal one. DO MORE OF WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY. A motto I have decided I want to implement more in my own life. Life is short and one has to do what makes one happy. I am very fortunate that I have a job I love and really enjoy. A job that allows me to actually do what makes me happy. My hobbies of taking photos, blogging and Geocaching also makes me happy so if I can do more of what makes me happy, why not?
Saturday, November 29, 2014
Today is the second Geocaching Saturday post and for the second time it features a cache placed by GeorgeC12. George have been posting some great caches lately and really deserves every favourite point he gets awarded. In this cache I went in search of Feathered Friend Lucy. Lucy is a parrot and she clearly didn't have her wings clipped as I found her way up in an massive Wild Fig Tree. Drama Princess spotted it immediately and it was up to me to retrieve the log sheet for us to sign. Luckily my hippo up a tree impersonation days are about 19kg behind me so I quickly made my way up and I quickly had the log in hand. Brought it back down for us both to complete the paperwork and I went back up to replace it in its place. Another great cache and another smiley on my map.
Friday, November 28, 2014
Everybody knows that the Sardine Run moves up the east coast of South Africa every year with awesome sightings off the Wild Coast and thousands of sardines coming so close inshore at KwaZulu Natal that people can scoop them up with buckets. Very few know that the sardines gather off the coast of Port Elizabeth before they start their trek up the coast. It is here where Rainer Schimpf takes divers and television crews from all over the world to experience this natural marvel. Check out this amazing footage of a sardine bait ball being smashed by dolphins, sharks, gannets, penguins and a huge brydes whale taken off PE on Saturday 29 March 2014. Enjoy!
Thursday, November 27, 2014
I wonder how many people still go and explore rock pools at low tide. We used to spend school holidays with my grandparents in Paradise Beach near Jeffreys Bay and the beach was our playing field. At low tide you would find us in the rock pools searching, exploring and discovering. Kinda makes me feel guilty for not taking the KidZ to the beach more often. The rock pools in the picture is just on the Humewood Beach side of McArthur Pools.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Most people know where Adult World is on Russell Road. Not because they've been there but because there is a big sign outside. Just above it is a billboard that has been taken up by Mambo's Plastic Warehouse. The two together though makes for a very odd combination. What is seen can never been unseen......
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
I'm quite active on social media but only started dabbling in Instagram recently after getting rid of my Blackberry. On Sunday morning I joined my first official Instawalk. An Instawalk (or Instameet) is a gathering of Instagrammers who meet somewhere and spend an hour or two taking photos together. South African Tourism brought two of South Africa's biggest Instagrammers, @garethpon and @alessiolr, down to PE for the Donkin Downhill Dash and they had an Instawalk from the Kings Beach skate park before heading back to Jozi later in the day. Everybody got nice and creative with reflections in the little pond along the walkway. If you want to follow me on Instagram, I amon there as @FireflyAfrica. <--- obviously="" p="">--->
Monday, November 24, 2014
I have posted so many times about SAMREC and what an awesome job they do on the conservation side as well as educating people young and old about the plight of the African Penguin and other marine animals. When I took this picture I wanted to tell you about the tour you can do at SAMREC where they tell visitors more about penguins, visit the "must touch" room, the penguin hospital and finally the pool, but then I realised that the picture got photo bombed... by a stuffed seal. Go figure.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
An "aloe sunset" over the Indian Ocean from the African Flame Estate along Seaview Road
Saturday, November 22, 2014
I got a request this week via e-mail to share some more of my Geocaching adventures on my blogs. I'm so fanatical about the caching that I could probably do a whole blog about it, but I decided not to go totally overboard with it. Instead I'll share a Geocaching picture once a week. I'll kick it off with a picture I took at one of the more interesting cache locations I've visited recently. Fellow cacher GeorgeC12 has placed a number of very good caches lately and one of them is one called Gollum. Being a huge Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fan I just had to do it. Drama Princess decided to join me on the hunt and we headed off to the cache location. Not to give too much away, but the Gollum in Lord of the Rings lived underground... and so did this one. Growing up Indiana Jones was one of my idols, still is really, so Geocaching allows the explorer in me to emerge. Caches like this even more so. Needless to say, the search was successful, the log signed and the picture above got taken.
Friday, November 21, 2014
In only three weeks' time the top Rugby 7's players from all over the world will descend on Port Elizabeth for the South African leg of the IRB (now called World Rugby) Sevens Rugby World Series. This is the fourth year the event is held in Port Elizabeth and it has become one of the city's premier showcase events. This year we need everybody to come out and support not just the defending champion BlitzBokke but also the event as the contract to host it is up for grabs again after this year. Enjoy this fun advert and see you at the 7's.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
I have been so busy at work lately that I have slowly ran out of photos to post which means that I will really have to make a plan in the next week or so to stock up a little. Even though I'm not quite out yet, I'm featuring one by a guest photographer today. I spotted this picture of the sun setting over the Swartkops Estuary with the old power station in the background on Johan Gerber's Facebook and immediately dropped him a message to ask if I could use it. Johan has given his permission so here it is gracing the pages of PE Daily Photo today.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
I don't get to go to the harbor that often. It doesn't help that security is tight to get it so when I do its because of something that is on at the Algoa Bay Yacht Club. This was the case a week or so ago when I was invited to a function at the Yacht Club by Raggy Charters. I would still love to go out with them one day, but this was a more special occasion to celebrate a couple of awards that they have won lately. Waiting for all the guests to arrive I snapped one or two pics, amongst them this one showing some of the members' yachts moored along the club's walkway.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Early morning and late afternoon visitors to SAMREC in Cape Recife will be lucky enough to see how the penguins are fed as part of their tour. The guide explained the whole feeding process to us. As it turns out its not just a case of stuffing a couple of fish down their throats. Every fish that is given to a penguin is recorded and placed on their personal files. Some of the little guys have to still get medication as well with tablets hidden inside certain fish so the records are checked and each one only gets what he is supposed to get. After eating its time to head over to the pool for a morning swim after spending the night in their sleeping enclosure.
Monday, November 17, 2014
Sunday, November 16, 2014
The Donkin Reserve has always been an iconic site in Port Elizabeth. It has links to the early history of the town and how it got its name plus who doesn't know the famous lighthouse and pyramid combination on the square. With the development of Route 67 and its public art pieces on and around the Donkin Reserve, it has now truly cemented itself as one of Port Elizabeth's "must see" iconic attractions. The Donkin isn't just about history anymore. Now its an mix of history and art, stories and symbolism along with the best view site in town, the top of the Donkin Lighthouse.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Port Elizabeth is the only city in South Africa with two commercial harbours that can accommodate big ships. The Port Elizabeth Harbour has been around since the 1930's while the Coega deep water harbour has been in operation for about a decade now. Although the two isn't as busy as Durban Harbour which is the busiest in Africa and the 10th busiest in the world (or something like that), we have a fair amount of ship traffic in the bay. This shot was taken from the top of the Donkin Lighthouse showing a ship sailing towards the PE Harbour.
Friday, November 14, 2014
Over the years South African Tourism has used some stunning videos to promote South Africa. Earlier this year they launched their newest promotional video and its probably one of the best ones yet. I know its not specifically Port Elizabeth related, but I would like to recommend that you watch it. The theme is "Reconsider South Africa and how you look at it". Enjoy.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
One of the things that irritate me most are people who goes around pretending to be so passionate about Port Elizabeth but uses every opportunity they get to ridicule, belittle and critisise it around every corner. One of the only things that irritate me even more than that are those people who always say there is nothing to do or see in the city. And when you combine the two above... Gosh, don't let me start.
Over the last month or two there have been two occasions where somebody mentioned Happy Valley on a PE related Facebook page which I really enjoy. Problem is people just used the opportunity to jump on their high horses and slated Happy Valley calling it a crime nest, a place where you only go if you want to loose your life, a disgrace to the city, broken and not cared for and more. What did I do? I jumped to its defense. Why? Because unlike those people who haven't been there in probably over a decade and slating it, I've been there recently. At this stage I have to add that even though I had been there and had the proof, there were still some people who told me I don't know what I was talking about and that I was living in a dream world.
So this is what I found. Happy Valley is still stunning. The municipality is tending the gardens, mowing the lawns and keep the place very tidy. There is security near the entrance of Happy Valley and they do walk around to check things. They will also be happy to take a walk up the valley with you if you feel like you would like to have an escort and ask them nicely. The characters have all been redone in the last few years with touch-ups recently. I think I saw two damaged characters (poor Timone lost an arm) plus Dogmatix took a walk and is hanging out with the Three Little Pigs. Unfortunately you find people all over the world who will vandalise things and its not always possible to fix it immediately. I didn't feel unsafe and was comfortable walking alone. I know there were incidents in Happy Valley a number of years ago but nothing has happened in the last few years. Just like you can get hit by a car walking across the road if you don't exercise precaution (as in looking left and right) I would still recommend going with other people and being observant and conscious about what is going on around you.
The only snag they have at the moment is the lighting. The electric system was stolen a year or so ago but everything was on course to be ready for this coming season when it was vandalized and spotlights stolen again a few weeks back. I spoke to the Beach Office this morning to get the latest update and was told that the front section (the two lawns) will have lights and that the new Happy Valley sign is going up in the next week or so. They are looking at alternatives to get the back lit up at this stage. Walking up Happy Valley on a warm summers evening with the kids has always been a Port Elizabeth institution but even if you won't be able to do so at night this coming season, it shouldn't stop you from doing so during the day.
Long live Happy Valley!
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
I went for a stroll through the South End Museum a week or two ago and realized just again how under utilized and appreciated places like this is with general folk out there. It's at times like this that I wonder how many of those who often complain that there is nothing to do and nowhere to go in Port Elizabeth have actually been here.
One of the display rooms in the museum is dedicated to music and musicians from the area and I really enjoyed this "band" which is part of the display.