South Africa's Eastern Cape

Summerstrand on the beachfront

Summerstrand is a popular suburb on the beachfront of Port Elizabeth in Nelson Mandela Bay. It was once an elite neighbourhood, home only to the affluent of the Friendly City. Now, however, it is the address of a melting pot of people from all over the world; particularly students, being located so close to the Nelson Mandela Municipality University (NMMU). At any given time, the suburb is abuzz with the local and international young and trendy.

 

The homes of Summerstrand are unique. Many of them have earned ‘mansion’ status, and their architecture is made all the more unique by their designers’ aiming to make the most of the views of the beach. Glass, Perspex and windows that occupy almost every possible angle characterise these houses, many of which have been converted into guesthouses and Bed & Breakfast establishments.

 

The beaches will certainly lure just about any tourist, as it does the locals. Beaches within the suburb include Pollock Beach and Hobie Beach, which are both extremely popular. The Indian Ocean waters are far warmer than those of the Atlantic Ocean, making the swimming conditions in Port Elizabeth ideal, even when the weather begins to cool down for autumn. Surfers love the varied surfing conditions of these beaches, as they are suitable for pros and novices alike.

 

Summerstrand

 

Summerstrand is also known for being the home of the Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment Centre. This complex boasts a huge variety of restaurants, ranging from family hotspots (like Wimpy, Steers, Dulcé Café and The Spur) to more formal options (like Squires). There is an African market that sells a range of mementoes, clothing, shoes, accessories, and goods for the home. There are also adventure shops, boutiques, jewellers and more at The Boardwalk. The casino is sizeable and provides the full range of tables and machines for the dedicated gambler or those just wanting to have a little fun. It is tastefully decorated, reflecting the glitz and glamour of a Vegas hotspot without negotiating on class and style. The bowling alley remains a firm favourite of the Boardwalk, as do the pool tables right next door.

 

The Summerstrand Village Shopping Centre is a small, but inclusive, mall that is conveniently situated for locals and visitors alike. Banks, a Pick ‘n Pay, post office, chemist, coffee shop, restaurant, take-away outlets, boutiques and more all ensure that this is a one-stop-shop for those in the area.

 

Hobie Beach is not only popular for its idyllic water and white sand. There is also a grassy picnic spot, rock pools in which little ones can play more safely, and a complex of restaurants, bars and an ice cream shop. Whether you are looking for a tasty treat from KFC, a reasonably priced meal from Angelo’s or a more sophisticated meal at Blue Waters Café, all of these options promise gorgeous views of the sea as well as of Shark Rock Pier, which takes one right into the ocean for magnificent views. Barney’s is a popular bar, with a deck overlooking the ocean and a laid-back atmosphere.

 

The famous Cape Recife Lighthouse is right on the outskirts of Summerstrand. This lighthouse is over 130 years old and is part of a larger reserve. The walk through the reserve is simply beautiful. Look out for bottlenose dolphins (especially in the morning and late afternoon) as well as whales during the period of July to December.

Save

Port Elizabeth Game Reserves

Game Reserves

Port Elizabeth is the main city of Nelson Mandela Bay and the Eastern Cape. It is a coastal town that is also known as the Friendly City and, when visitors have been here and met the locals, there is no confusion as to why it has earned this name. Although Port Elizabeth has always been one of the quieter cities of South Africa, it continues to grow as a very popular tourist destination, particularly over the summer holidays when the hotels in Port Elizabeth are filled to capacity and its spectacular beaches are littered with bronzed bodies and families playing on the white sand.

 

Another of Port Elizabeth’s main tourist attractions is the wildlife to which it and its surrounds are home. There are a number of game reserves and parks in and around Nelson Mandela Bay that continue to welcome tourists from all over the world. In these, animals like elephants, lions, leopards, giraffes and zebras are commonly found. This entire region is malaria free, making it ideal for families with little ones.

 

Some of the most popular game reserves in the area include … Read more

The Sukume Museum in Port Elizabeth

The Sukume Museum and Xhosa Culture Centre is an unassuming little treasure nestled behind the massive Walmer Township of Port Elizabeth. It may be small and basic, but that does not mean that what is inside is not fascinating and fun for young and old alike. In fact, the humble exterior belies the intriguing experience beyond the doors.

 

The purpose of this facility is primarily to uplift the local community, giving people (especially mothers) the opportunity to improve their own lives, gain training and educate their children. The attached primary school is, therefore, of utmost importance to the local families, many of whom cannot afford school fees. Therefore, the goods that are available at this museum (arts, crafts, clothing and accessories) have all been made by these children’s mothers, and the proceeds go towards the education of the little ones. Read more

Walking Hogsback

Hogsback is a tiny village in the mountains of the Eastern Cape, known for its distinctive magical quality. In fact, many restaurants, guesthouses providing accommodation in Hogsback and homes are littered with artwork of fairies, dragons and other mystical creatures, giving the entire area a somewhat ethereal quality.

 

Set amongst the mountains, forests and deep valleys of the inland, Hogsback offers spectacular views at just about every turn. These are best enjoyed on walks and hikes through the surrounding countryside. Breathe in the fresh, crisp air and cool down in one of the mountain streams or waterfalls, while immersing yourself in the unspoilt tranquillity and beauty of this scenic escape.

 

There are a number of defined trails in and around the village of Hogsback. Some of the most popular include …

 

Hogsback Trails

 

Read more

The Top Tourists Attractions of the Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape Province of South Africa boasts some of the most beautiful natural attractions in the country, thanks to its maintaining a relatively unspoilt characteristic. These include magnificent stretches of coastline and safe swimming beaches. The landscape showcases mountains, valleys, forests and plains, all of which are home to a unique combination of fauna and flora.

 

The climate of this part of South Africa is particularly temperate. Summers are hot and slightly humid, while winters are cool, but mild. Summer highs seldom exceed 32 degrees Celsius, while winter daytime lows usually hover around 15 to 18 degrees along the coast. Inland, however, winter snows are occasionally experienced, and summers can become significantly warmer. Read more

Top 6 Reasons to visit the Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape Province of South Africa has so many fun and exciting things to do and see. Here are our top six reasons to visit this unforgettable province:

 

Elephant in Addo

 

1.    Natural Wealth

The Eastern Cape has been blessed with breath-taking stretches of coastline, dense forests, rolling hills, and unspoilt grasslands that stretch as far as the eye can see. Many of these are occupied by wildlife that ranges from the Big 5 (lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos and rhinos) to the tiniest of birds and insects. These can be enjoyed in the countryside surrounding the major towns or in formal nature reserves. Read more

Hopewell Cycling Trails in Port Elizabeth

Hopewell trails

Port Elizabeth is fast becoming one of the best cycling cities in the country, with a number of fabulous trails in and around the major urban areas of the Friendly City. Due to the varied terrain, these trails present a combination of hills, steep ravines, rocky sections and easy-riding stretches that show off the stunning landscape and Eastern Cape vegetation. This province is also known for its temperate weather conditions; with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters.

 

Hopewell Conservation Estate is a nature reserve and a housing estate situated along old Cape Road in Greenbushes (near St Albans). This means that it is only a few minutes from the city centre, while still being nestled within the unspoilt serenity of the bushveld. It has been designed to be the homely retreat for busy professionals and community leaders that appreciate the beauty and tranquillity of the Eastern Cape countryside. Read more

Wolwefontein Village

port elizabeth

Wolwefontein is a village in the Eastern Cape that has retained much of its old-fashioned charm. It is situated along the R75, on the border of the scrubby Karoo. It is between Uitenhage (in Nelson Mandela Bay) and Jansenville.

 

Nearby towns and popular tourist attractions include:

Dessie’s

Dessie Gourmet Burger

Although having been around for some time, Dessie’s has continued to evolve; delighting the senses and giving the patrons of Port Elizabeth something really special every time they visit. The  secret to their success is, undoubtedly, the fresh flavours, the enormous variety on the menu, the distinctly healthy options available and the setting in which diners are made to feel comfortable, serene and a little pampered.

 

The first Dessie’s was established at the Bloomingdales Centre between ninth and tenth avenues, Walmer. A bubbling water feature, lush garden and open, airy restaurant area makes this an irresistible spot for a languorous breakfast, business lunch or a glass of wine with old friends. The service is efficient and friendly, which always makes coming here that much more enjoyable. This restaurant is large and vibrant, but retains an elegant charm with old-fashioned features. Read more

The Friendly N6

Tiffindell Ski Resort

Known as the Friendly N6, this motorway transports visitors to another world – one of untouched beauty and out-of-the-way intrigue. There are a number of towns, natural gems and fun activities along the way, many of which immerse the N6 travellers into the real wonders of South Africa.

 

Outdoor activities are particularly popular along this route, since it is so varied and spectacular. The most popular of these include fly-fishing in cold trout streams, hiking, abseiling, horse riding, cycling, and even skiing at Tiffindell (the only ski resort in all of Southern Africa). Those who appreciate culture cannot miss the historical towns of Aliwal North, Rhodes and Lady Grey. Aliwal North is also home to hot springs, which are just what the doctor ordered for tired travellers escaping the chaos of city living. Lady Grey also boasts fossil trails that tell the story of humankind generations back. Read more

Back to Top