Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy Valley - a kids' paradise

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.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Drama Princess in Wonderland

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

Riding the Happy Valley dolphin

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

Don't forget to turn the water off

Somebody with a great sense of humor and the environment took a permanent marker to a public shower at Kings Beach.  Don't get me wrong, I don't condone illegal graffiti, but I bet he's (she?) a regular walker who has had to turn the tap off after people on more than one occasion.  I really like the "The universe thanks you" written to the side.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Caching the Trig Beacon Series

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

Christmas lights video

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

Merry Christmas

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

Free parking

 Free parking. Ideal for summer transport.  Spotted at the entrance to the Beach Hotel.  I don't know how many people take their bicycles to the hotel but I do find the sign very quirky.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Narrow gauge sheds

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

Photos with Father Christmas

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

Lovemore Heights Christmas Tree

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

Finding the Geocache on Bird Rock

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

Whale watching in Algoa Bay

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

Pebbles on Denville Beach

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

Kuzuko view

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

Grysbok Trail flowers

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

Beachfront sign - also a grass safe house

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

The Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens

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

Caching on the Grysbok Trail with Drama Princess

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

Airshow cockpit footage

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

Checking out the beachfront

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 Instapose reflection

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

North End view across Albany Road

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

The NMMU Nature Reserve and Grysbok Trail

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.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Coral Tree hides are tricky

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

A tribute to Madiba - Johnny Clegg's Asimbonanga

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

St Phillips church revisited

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

Mussels on the beachfront

The other day I asked the question, "How many of us still take our kids to explore rock pools around the Port Elizabeth coastline?"  Well, if you do you will encounter a lot of mussels on the rocks at low tide.  When I took the photo I had this grand idea to give you a lesson on our mussels and how many one is allowed to pick.  That was until I realized how many types of mussels there are. And here I thought a mussel was a mussel was a mussel.  Suddenly I feel like mussels in white wine sauce.  Do you enjoy mussels?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Kings Beach selfie frame

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

Kings Beach scales of grey

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.