12 Bucket List Things for 2018

  • 24 January 2018 | By Anje Rautenbach

If you are planning to make 2018 the year of exploring your own backyard then you are certainly in the right place as the Bay has a variety of activities and sights to satisfy your wanderlust.

Plus, exploring your own backyard also has its benefits:

  • If you’re a Bay local you don’t have to spend money on flights or long-distance travelling.
  • ​It is less expensive as you can plan and make your own meals in the comfort of your own kitchen.
  • You are not constricted to a certain time frame.
  • Bad weather only means you can try again the following weekend.
  • There’s no packing hassle.
  • Exploring a few hours here and there means that you don’t have to find a sitter for your fur kids (or, with some activities they can even tag along).
  • You’ll find new places you’ve never visited before.

But whether you are a Bay local, a South African or a visitor from abroad, you can be certain that the Bay will satisfy your wanderlust, your adrenalin-cravings, your foodie-dreams, your nightlife-expectations, your ocean-fantasies and your wildlife-hopes.

So grab a pen, paper and the calendar and get a head start on 2018. Plan ahead, work out your budget and start exploring!

12 Things to put on your Bay bucket list

January : Climb aboard a steam train

The Apple Express brought back many memories for South Africans when it let off steam again during the festive season after a 7-year hiatus; tickets sold like hotcakes and young and old enjoyed the rhythmic sway and nostalgic sound of the Apple Express. The train runs again on the 27th and 28th of January as well as the 3rd and 4th of February. Don’t miss out, buy your ticket www.appleexpresstrain.co.za.


February: Go Skate

How about an easy on the pocket activity for February? If you have a skateboard or some rollerblades (or skates), head down to the Kings Beach Skate Park where you and the kids can compete in a game of ‘Who is the coolest’ (if you are a parent it is highly advised to not fall off the skateboard otherwise your kid will deduct some cool points). Don’t let the lack of a skateboard stand in your way, the Oceanside Surf Store rents skateboards and rollerblades out for R60 p/hour.


March: Do a beer tour

The sun will still drive you to cooler things in March so why not do a beer tour? You will visit Dockside Brewery, Bridge Street Brewery and Beer Yard, meet the brew masters, enjoy a total of 11 tasters - specialties from each brewery - and end the tour off with a Pizza or Hamburger. If you have ever thoughts of brewing your own beer, this might just be the right start, so hop on. 

Wiht the Nelson Mandela Bay Pass you get a 17% discount, click here for more info.


April: Get your backpacks on

If you’re fit, ready for some dune climbing and looking for adventure, then maybe the Alexandria Hiking Trail is an adventure just for you. The trail is situated in the Woody Cape section of Addo Elephant National Park and covers a distance of 36 km over two days (circular trail). The first day is a long one covering 19.5 km, while the second day of 16.5 km takes you over the largest coastal dune field in the Southern Hemisphere.

For the 2-night, 2-day trail it is R476 (This includes the Conservation Fee for 2 days - R68 x 2 - and it will be waived if you have a Wild Card).

To find out more call 046 6530 601.


May: Go back in time

There is no shortage of museums in Nelson Mandela Bay and every year, on the 18th of May, the world celebrates International Museum Day to raise awareness of how important museums are in the development of society. In 2017, more than 36,000 museums participated in the event in some 157 countries and the theme chosen for 2018 is "Hyperconnected museums: New approaches, new publics".

Here are a few museums you can visit in the Bay:

South End Museum, 7 Castle Hill, Historical Museum, Cuyler Manor Museum, Despatch Museum, Drostdy Museum, Jewish Pioneer Memorial Museum, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum, Old Railway Station Museum, Prince Alfred's Guard Museum, Red Location Museum, South African Airforce Museum.


June: Make time for adventure

It might be winter, but the sun is still out in the Bay and we definitely take pride in the fact that we have more good weather days than bad weather days. Be adventurous this winter season and go horse riding or fat bike riding on the beach, hop on a Segway and scoot around our promenade, get high on Addo Adrenalin’s giant swing and double zipline, go sandboarding, hike one of the Bay’s hiking trails, climb the walls at Valley Crag Indoor Climbing Centre or try your hand at beekeeping and go on a bee tour.


July: Have a staycation

You’ve reached the middle of the year but there are still a few months to go before you can take your well-deserved December break. Why not go on a staycation and treat yourself to a night or two that’s within the borders of Nelson Mandela Bay but will make you feel as if you’ve been whisked away on a vacation?

Here are some ideas:

Have a zebra on your stoep at Kragga Kamma Game Park (rates starting at R750 for two).
Enjoy the forest and head to Thunzi Bush Lodge (rates starting at R1195 for two).
Experience luxury at Nyathi Rest Camp in Addo Elephant National Park (rates starting at R1930 for two).
Two for the price of one – river and beach – at Van Stadens Resort (rates starting at R590 for two).
Wake up to the view of the ocean at Murphys (rates starting at R1100 for two).
Have a romantic forest getaway at The Plantation (rates starting at R1350 for two).
Seclude yourself in traditional luxuries and the warmth of a country home at Broughton Country Estate (rates starting at R1200 for two).
Stay over at two Bay favourites: Pine Lodge (rates starting at R645 for two) and Willows Resort (rates starting at R470 for two).
Go wild and head to Elandsrivier’s Sand River Getaway where there are backpacker dorms and tented rooms (rates starting at R200 per person per night). 


August: Go whale watching

Nelson Mandela Bay is the bottlenose dolphin capital of the world, but it also boasts excellent whale sightings.

Raggy Charters says: "In South Africa whale season begins in June when we see humpback whales moving along the coast as they head up the East coast of Africa towards their breeding grounds. Humpback whales can be seen in Algoa Bay between June and early January, reaching peaks in July/August and again in November/December when they make their return journey, with calves in tow. Southern right whales can be seen from July to October as they enter the safety of the bay to give birth. Southern right whales are usually seen very close inshore and often nearby to the harbour. They are the most frequently observed whales along the South African coast." 

Cost is R1400 per person and you can get a discount with your Nelson Mandela Bay Pass.


September: Do a game drive on horseback

September is not only tourism month in South Africa but also the month in which South African National Parks announces their SANParks week (a week in which South Africans get free entry into the parks).  Head to Addo Elephant National Park for a self-guided game drive or – if you are looking for something with a bit more oomph – go on a game drive on horseback.

Cost is R500 (morning) and R540 (afternoon) per person.


October: Celebrate Marine Month

During the month of October South Africa celebrates Marine Month to create awareness of our marine and coastal environments and to share the benefits that our ocean brings to our nation. Our oceans play a pivotal role in our daily lives and protecting it – along with all its creatures – is of utmost importance. As the weather is changing into its summer clothes in October, head to a Blue Flag beach, appreciate the ocean and go snorkel, scuba or surf, and visit SANCCOB, the marine rehabilitation and education centre in Cape Recife Nature Reserve. Remember to keep our beaches clean!


November: Explore Uitenhage

Uitenhage, which forms part of Nelson Mandela Bay, is no stranger when it comes to history, festivities, unique coffee shops and futuristic technology.

Here are a few things you can do in the town of Uitenhage:

Visit the VW Autopavilion and go on a factory tour.
Hike at Groendal Nature Reserve.
Have some fun at Paintball Heaven.
Visit museums such as the Old Railway Museum, Drostdy Museum and Cuyler Manor.
Go to the Science and Technology Centre.
Catch a performance at Barkly Street Theater.


December: Cool off

And just like that another year is on its side. By now summer will be in full swing. Be sure to catch the opening of the season mid-December as well as all the activities planned around this event. Cool off at McArthur Pool and Leisure Centre, grab a milkshake, go the beaches, tidal pools and markets and just take it easy. You deserve it!

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