What visitors say about the Bay
There's is nothing wrong with a bit of showing off, especially when it comes to Nelson Mandela Bay and all it offers to visitors and locals alike. It's quite something to watch, from the corner of your eye, how someone's mouth drops at the sight of our mighty dunes, our clean, pristine beaches, our gentle giants or the colourful floor of the Donkin Reserve. Becuase seeing your city through new eyes allows you to appreciate the spots and sights you adore, even more.
What visitors say about the Bay
We've checked in with a few visitors and asked them to share their first impressions of the Bay or a favourite memory. This is what they had to say:
Heather Mason, blogger, photographer and an American expat living in South Africa, dined at one of the Bay's most loved establishments:
"During a rainy long weekend in Port Elizabeth a few years ago, I was introduced to the Cubata Portuguese Grill, hiding under a dim street light at the end of an unassuming strip mall. Cubata is my kind of restaurant, with friendly owners, packed-full picnic tables, and rib-and-prawn platters larger than a small child. Loved it, and I'll definitely be back."
Kim Jayde Robinson, MTV presenter and fashion and travel blogger, discovered paradise:
"Leaving the big city and travelling to Nelson Mandela Bay for the first time was like discovering paradise. Especially Addo Elephant National Park and its new Nyathi Rest Camp; untouched by modern civilization, kilometers of wild, thick green bush and animals at every turn. Can’t wait to go back."
Follow Kim's adventures on her blog, www.kimjayde.wordpress.com
Dawn Jorgensen, travel writer and conscious traveller, shares her favourite memories:
"It’s only in the past few years that through further exploration I’ve grown to really appreciate the Bay area. The beachfront and promenade with jetty over the ocean always draws me first, as I’d never dream of visiting a coastal city without time paused at the sea with sand under my feet. From there SAMREC (now known as SANCCOB) is a must. I have such respect for the work they do as a Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre looking after injured, tired, oiled stranded marine bird life. Even though I’ve been there more than once, I always take a guided tour if I can, and allow enough time to linger with the penguins who always make me smile.
Lucky for me, local insight has pointed me to the Friendly Stranger that is housed in a cobblestone building that dates back to the 1820s and is believed to be one of the oldest in the city on Bridge Street, an area rejuvenated to become a creative hub and home to the impressive Bridge Street Brewery. There’s great street art around there too, which tops the experience for me."
Follow Dawn's adventures on her blog, www.theincidentaltourist.com.
Sandhira Chetty, YouTuber and South African expat, felt the heartbeat of the city:
"I remember when I went to the Donkin Reserve, it felt like the beating heart of the city. The mosaics, the artwork, the proud South African flag blowing in the wind, colourfully entwine to bring to life everything this country stands for."
Follow Sandhira's adventures on her YouTube channel: www.bit.ly/SandhiraChetty
Iga Motylska, journalist and photograhper, shared a few of her favourite Bay memories:
"Traipsing along Route 67 is one of my favourite memories of Nelson Mandela Bay, not only because it's a colourful experience that narrates South Africa's and the Eastern Cape's history through 67 public art works, but because it also showcases talented local artists. Donkin Reserve with its lighthouse mosaic, pyramid, giant flag and The Voting Queue is a must visit, even during a short stay in the Bay."
Follow Iga's adventures on her blog, www.eagerjourneys.com.
The Magnin family running the travel blog, Tazz Discovers, made a pit stop in Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage during their South African road trip:
"Our favourite memory was our trip with Raggy Charters to St Croix island and being escorted by the local dolphins."
Follow the Magnin family's adventures on their blog: www.tazzdiscovers.com.
Mandy -Lee Miller, writer and brand consultant, came to the Bay as a speaker at a blogger meet-up and confessed, "I want to pack up my whole life, move to the Bay and become a food blogger":
"I adore the people. I don't think I've ever met so many NICE humans. Everybody always had something positive to say and I have never come across so many people with such pride and love for their home. The food changed my perceptions for all time on what food SHOULD be like. I don't think I had any bad food when I was there. If I had money, I would get on a plane at least once a week just to go eat ribs at Cubata. And I desperately want to bring my daughter to Addo (and eat the steak at that Cattle Baron). Again though with the people! The owner of Cubata was everything a restauranteur should be; his food was so overtly his passion and you could TASTE that. I had a driver from East Cape Tours while I was there; he was incredible, every time we went anywhere he took a different route so I could explore. I loved his stories of his family and their life in Nelson Mandela Bay; I was also incredibly spoilt with Lungelo, the tour guide. That man knows every single thing about the Bay, I swear! And he just LOVES it. It was impossible not to fall in love with everybody and everything there. And The Plantation (wedding and conference venue); my word, that place is like a secret paradise and I still dream about that bed. And of course the architecture, every building there just breathes. Sigh. Now I want to come back immediately..."
Follow Mandy's adventures on her blog, www.pregnantincapetown.co.za.
Lydia Afonso, a travel blogger from Johannesburg, visited for a day and the city took her by surprise:
"My husband and I flew to Port Elizabeth for one day to surprise a friend with a visit. We were barely out of the airport and we were in love. Clean, friendly, beautiful beaches and spectacular sunsets. We can’t wait to go back to explore more."
Follow Lydia's adventures on her blog, www.greenlydia.co.za.
Nadine, former Bay local and blogger, shares some childhood memories:
"As a kid, I loved going to the old Something Good Roadhouse for a soft serve ice cream (with a flake) and footlong hotdog; good thing you can still do that today at the new Something Good! I also remember spending hours on Humewood or Kings Beach, building sandcastles, riding the waves and eating lots of ice cream and homemade sarmies. Sun, sand, sea and the salty air made for perfect summer memories with my family. As a teenager, I loved going to Sardinia Bay for beach braais with friends, eating yummy German hotdogs from the Wurst Wagon and ending the day watching the sun set over the ocean; perfect summer days! Art in the Park in St George's Park was a great way to spend a Sunday morning. Browsing the market stalls and having tea and scones at the Tea Garden and of course, Addo National Park. Going on a day trip with my family to Addo Elephant National Park was a real treat! I was always super excited to spot the ellies and this is where I fell in love with these gentle giants. Watching wide-eyed as they ambled down to the main watering hole near the restaurant was a highlight for me. I go back each time I'm in PE and so happy to share this special experience with my son."
Follow Nadine's adventures on her blog, www.livingitupct.com.
Lauren Melnick, digital nomad and blogger, grabbed her Nelson Mandela Bay Pass with both hands and headed to Addo Elephant National Park:
"The first time I saw a real life elephant was at Addo National Park. I had been backpacking around South Africa for just under a month, and a visit here had been high up on my bucket list, but I was not prepared for what came next. While sitting happily in the car, snapping away as a huge herd of elephants splashed themselves with mud a bull elephant started coming closer and closer. At one point I thought he was about to put his trunk in the window and steal my camera! It was simultaneously a terrifying and exciting close encounter with a wild animal that I will never forget."
Follow Lauren's adventures on her blog, www.wanderlustmovement.org.
The British duo - Yaya and Lloyd - behind the blog, Hand Luggage Only, discovered a whole lotta adventure in the Bay:
"Fortunately, we had the most amazing opportunity to head to South Africa’s Eastern Cape with one action-packed trip. One of the larger National Parks in South Africa, Addo National Park is the best place to discover the truly majestic animals that call this country home."
Follow Yaya and Lloyd's adventures on their blog, www.handluggageonly.co.uk.
Show and tell...
Last year, a few locals bloggers shared ideas and itineraries of what to do in and around Port Elizabeth; with kids, without kids or even by yourself (click here to read what they all said). Showing friends and family a few of your favourite spots, views and restaurants in the Bay allows you discover and rediscover the place we call home, and, if your memory of the Bay's history fails you and you want expert advice and guidance, you can always knock on the door of one of Nelson Mandela Bay's passionate local tour guides.
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