Monday, June 17, 2013

Port Elizabeth

Our last 4 nights in South Africa were spent in Port Elizabeth. Cassie and her sister stayed with their aunt while Mag and I stayed with her nephew in his beautiful gated home,with 24 hour security driving around the area. Mag 's sister and brother-in-law flew here to surprise her.


The weather has turned much cooler and rainy on the second day but the other days were filled with lovely warm sunshine (not bad for winter weather). The rain has given me a chance to catch up on my blogs as her nephew has wireless - yahoooooooooo!

Port Elizabeth is one of the largest cities in South Africa, situated in the Eastern Cape Province, 770 km (478 mi) east of Cape Town. The city, often shortened to PE and nicknamed "The Friendly City" or "The Windy City", stretches for 16 km along Algoa Bay, and is one of the major seaports in South Africa.

Port Elizabeth was founded as a town in 1820 to house British settlers as a way of strengthening the border region between the Cape Colony and the Xhosa. It now forms part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality which has a population of over 1.3 million.

The docks here are commercial and industrial so there is only one small promenade compared to those in Cape Town and Durban. Once here we realized this is really not much of a tourist area especially if you have already done a safari. There are however lots of outdoor opportunities for hiking, biking or golf.

We did manage to go out and explore a bit along the coast outside of Port Elizabeth and even found a place place called The Plantation, upon exploring it we found it is a lovely secluded wedding venue rated the best wedding venue in South Africa. Driving a bit further we found a lovely secluded place to enjoy a spot of tea. Then we drove to Sardinia Bay and climbed the sand dunes to dip our feet in the Indian Ocean which was surprisingly warm (at least compared to the pacific and Atlantic oceans).

Wedding venue

Enjoying Tea
After climbing sand dunes - ocean view
Looking up at sand dune from ocean side

Now you must remember I am staying with Irish Catholics, so Sunday morning it was off to church. This was like no church I have ever visited. Everyone was dressed very casual and the first half hour was a rock band playing Christian songs. The second half hour was a preacher but he did not talk at or down to the congregation but actually was very entertaining and humorous at times. It was nice to see so many young people in attendance and after the service there were free cappuccinos! Then it was off to the waterfront to enjoy brunch and a walk along the promenade.

Enjoying brunch beside the ocean

We also walked through the casino complex with its hotels, stores and restaurants - very lovely.

My car outside the casino!

Today i am leaving South Africa and heading to England to visit my auntie Joan for a few days before I go on to Portugal. I never intended to spend this long in South Africa but that is another story you will have to ask me about! If you plan to visit South Africa I would recommend the six day safari in Kruger National Park, spend no time in Johannesburg, spend 4 nights in Cape Town and another 4 nights on the garden route traveling from Cape Town to Plettenberg Bay and then back to Cape Town - a good taste of South Africa.

Enjoying breakfast outside on our last morning



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