15 Things Nelson Mandela Bay is home to…

  • 09 March 2017 | By Anje Rautenbach

Nelson Mandela Bay consists of mainly three areas all in close proximity to one another: Despatch, a small town home to two South African rugby legends, the historic town of Uitenhage with its mega-Volkswagen-factory and of course Port Elizabeth, the vibrant city dancing to its own modern pulse of seaside pleasures, historic treasures and reserves.

But with an area of nearly 2000 km² surely there must be a few interesting things hiding behind the borders of the Bay.

Have you ever wondered what originated in Nelson Mandela Bay or where a celebrity’s roots are from or what our Bay is famous for?

Let’s have a look!

1) Nelson Mandela Bay is home to local and world-renowned celebrities and politicians.

A lot of famous celebrities, sportsmen and South African politicians were either born in the Bay or started their careers here; Arnold Vosloo, Zolani Mahola, Danie Gerber, Rassie Erasmus, Govan Mbeki, Shaun Pollock, Nikki Williams and Siya Kolisi to name a few.

2) Nelson Mandela Bay is home to the biggest South African flag.

Ever wondered just exactly how big the flag is at the Donkin Reserve that towers over the city? The flag is the same size as a tennis court!



Chasing The Rainbow(@therainbowsa)님의 공유 게시물님,

3) Nelson Mandela Bay is home to the largest flag pole in South Africa.

The flag pole is 60 meters tall.

4) Nelson Mandela Bay is home to 3 blue flag beaches.

Clean and safe beaches, lifeguards on duty and continuous conservation efforts are just some of the reasons why three of the Bay’s beaches are proudly crowned with the blue flag status.

5) Nelson Mandela Bay is home to the Big 7.

Elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, leopard, southern right whale and great white shark.

6) Nelson Mandela Bay is home to not the most wind

Even though the Bay is nicknamed the “Windy City”, it is not the windiest city (contrary to popular belief) along South Africa’s coast.

7) Nelson Mandela Bay is home to (probably) South Africa’s most famous lion.

Sylvester the lion hailed from Karoo National Park (with family members in the Eastern Cape) and after escaping the Western Cape twice he found a forever home at Kuzuko Lodge, part of the great Addo region.


(This photo shows Sylvester in his boma, where he was kept with another male lion as part of their transitioning stage into their new home. He has since then been released out of his boma and is now taking the lead at Kuzuko Lodge).

8) Nelson Mandela Bay is home to (probably) South Africa’s most famous elephant.

Have you ever heard the story of Hapoor or have you ever seen the big elephant head at Addo Elephant National Park’s education centre?

The story goes...

"Hapoor was the dominant bull in the park for 24 years. The waterhole in the south western section of the game viewing area is named after him. 'Hap' means 'nick' in Afrikaans, while 'oor' means 'ear' and it is believed the distinctive nick in his ear was caused by a hunter's bullet. Hapoor retained a deep hatred of humans throughout his life. On more than one occasion park staff were forced to flee to safety when Hapoor made his appearance. His dominance stretched from 1944 to 1968. During the latter part of the 1960's a few younger bulls reached maturity and challenged Hapoor. These upstarts were unsuccessful until one bull named Lanky finally deposed Hapoor in 1968. Hapoor was driven from the heard and became a loner. Later that year he succeeded in climbing the park's 'Armstrong Fence', which for nearly 20 years had been elephant-proof. His freedom was to be short lived as due to his aggressive nature, it was determined he would have to be shot." (Extract from SANParks' website.)

9) Nelson Mandela Bay is home to (probably) South Africa’s most famous tortoise.

A long time ago Addo Elephant National Park had a giant mountain tortoise named, Domkrag.

The story goes...

"'Domkrag' is the Afrikaans word for a 'jack', and this tortoise had a peculiar habit of walking underneath cars and lifting them up with enormous strength. Domkrag came to a sad end when he fell into an aardvark hole and couldn't get himself out. His shell is still on display in the Interpretive Centre." (Extract from SANParks' website.)

10) Nelson Mandela Bay is home to the largest car factory in Africa

Volkswagen, situated between Despatch and Uitenhage, is the largest car factory in Africa. Visitors can get a feel for what goes on behind the scenes and go on a factory tour and also visit the museum. 

12) Nelson Mandela Bay is home to the longest double zipline in Africa.

Adrenaline Addo has the longest “double zipline” in Africa, boasting a length of about 500m.



13) Nelson Mandela Bay is home to one of the oldest coffee roasters in South Africa.

Ever wondered why the folks from the Bay are so serious about their coffee? Mastertons Coffee and Tea Specialists is the oldest roaster in the Eastern Cape and one of the first in South Africa as well.

14) Nelson Mandela Bay is home to a large mohair industry.

Many consider the Bay as the mohair capital of the world.

The story goes...

"More than 20 000 people are employed in the industry, 50% of the world's mohair is produced in the Eastern Cape (most of which flows through PE on its way to world markets) and there are a number of mohair farms and factories in the area that are open to visitors." (Extract from Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism's blog).

15) Nelson Mandela Bay is home to the most bottlenose dolphins.

The Bay is considered as a the capital of bottlenose dolphins and a study showed that...

"The largest population estimate to date for this species along the South African coast, suggesting that the bottlenose dolphins inhabiting the Algoa Bay region represent part of a substantially larger population that ranges along a considerable length of the South African coast." (Extract from press release). Read more...


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