A 48-Hour Itinerary for Out-of-Towners
If you had 48 hours to show out-of-towners the best of your backyard where would you take them in Nelson Mandela Bay? Would you encourage them to throw their cozzies in a suitcase and take them to one of the Bay’s Blue Flag beaches? Or maybe you’d share your favourite restaurants and coffee hang outs, take them to a market or introduce your visitors to our natural landscapes?
Where would you go? How would you #ShareTheBay?
Two out-of-town travel bloggers - Di Brown from Cape Town, also known as The Roaming Giraffe, and Tessa Buhrmann from Durban, also known as Responsible Traveller - recently visited Nelson Mandela Bay and had a variety of activities, sights and tasty treats in 48 hours; the rain might have meddled with their initial plans but it definitely didn’t put a damper on their Bay experience.
A 48-Hour Itinerary
Day ONE: History and Adventure
Route 67 consists of 67 public art pieces symbolising Nelson Mandela's 67 years of work dedicated to the freedom of South Africa and it also includes 67 steps leading up the second largest flag in Africa. This tour is a great opportunity for visitors as well as locals to learn more about the city.
The beautiful architecture and the way the Route weaves all aspects of PE’s history into a story – from the 1820 Settlers to the ’94 democratic elections and beyond. Such a wonderfully informative tour for both locals and visitors.
- Tessa Buhrmann
You can follow Tessa on Twitter, click here.
The R67 Walking Tour has so many unique factors, but what stood out for me was the inclusivity of the history of the city, and the way Port Elizabeth has embraced and integrated the legacy of Nelson Mandela in a non-political way.The R67 is dotted with inspiring quotes from Madiba and the final attractions of the route in the Donkin Reserve are a celebration of our democracy. The artwork seen along the route is a testament to our creative nature, and the metal sculpture of Nelson Mandela at the front of the voting line, arm raised in triumph, is a reminder of the kind of democracy we are striving for.
The frieze at the entrance to the Campanile is worth taking a close look at, and the poem inscribed underneath it is beautiful and thought provoking.
The inner city has some remarkable buildings, many in the process of being restored. I enjoyed them for the architecture as well as the stories, each one having a place in our history. I loved the street art under the highway, where the noise and hustle of fruit sellers, taxis, pedestrians and real life adds an extra dimension to the art.
You can follow Di on Twitter, click here.
Sundays River Sandboarding or Sandsledding
Sundays River is the perfect playground for families, adventure seekers and bird enthusiast. You can opt for a sandsledding adventure, go sandboarding (both activities include a boat cruise), go birdwatching, canoeing, fishing and even stay a night on a houseboat on the river!
If there is extra time…
Head back to the Bay for a Segway tour along the beachfront between Kings Beach and Summerstrand.
Where to go for dinner?
How about going to Italy but staying in Port Elizabeth? Remo’s is an Italian restaurant situated in Baakens Valley (read the blog post about this eatery) and this is what Di Brown had to say:
Remo’s Italian Restaurant is set in an awesome rejuvenated warehouse. The whole space is interesting, but the food at Remo’s was worth waiting for. I think they must have a real Italian mama in the kitchen.
You can follow The Roaming Giraffe on Facebook, click here.
Whether you are visiting Port Elizabeth for leisure or business, this quiet and tranquil guesthouse in Walmer, 39 on Church, will even turn your business into leisure and a whole lot of pleasure.
Our wonderful hosts Sarah and Ralph made us feel very welcome! 39 on Church has a relaxed feel where leisure and corporate guests can feel equally at ease.
You can follow Responsible Traveller on Facebook, click here.
Did you know that Sarah and Ralph are from one of our favourite local travel blogs? Chasing the Rainbow is a family travel blog filled with great ideas for families!
Day TWO: Wildlife and Adrenaline
Addo Elephant National Park
A visit to Port Elizabeth is not complete without a visit to South Africa’s third largest national park. Addo Elephant National Park is home to the big five (and the big seven) and is right on locals' doorstep, whether you live in Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage or Despatch.
Addo was amazing... the elephants were relaxed and we had fabulous sightings – zebra, buffalo, a variety of antelope and of course lots of ellies. And all this just a quick 30 minute drive from the city!
- Tessa Buhrman
Read the Responsible Traveller's blogs, here.
So many things blew my mind about Addo Elephant National Park. It is so accessible in distance, cost and convenience. Day trips are affordable and easily managed, the facilities are well thought out and in excellent condition and the staff are friendly and welcoming. And there are a lot of elephants. Like a lot. Somehow we managed to stay a few car lengths ahead of the rain for most of the day and we had encounters with ellies from a distance as a head popped up over the bush, a huge herd with babies walking to the waterhole, and a couple of thrilling close encounters as an elephant or two crossed the road or just stopped right in front of us. We also saw plenty of zebra, warthog, dung beetles and red hartebeest.
- Di Brown
Read the blogs of The Roaming Giraffe, here.
Adventure and adrenaline is waiting at Adrenalin Addo; you can go on the giant swing or experience the thrill of Africa's longest double zipline and if those activities are not your cup of tea you can opt for a peaceful canoe paddle instead.
If there is extra time...
Nanaga Farm Stall because anytime is the right time for a roosterkoek or pie.
The farm stall we visited on our way back from Addo has pies, preserves, gifts, sweets, all things good, beautifully laid out and a courtyard in the middle where you can sit and rest before going back in to explore / eat / buy more. Outside in the parking lot is a fruit seller. Do not drive past without stopping. He gave us fruit to sample and the organic pears were like nothing I have ever tasted before. I even brought a few back to Cape Town.
- Di Brown
Where to go for dinner?
Go east and visit Fushin Sushi & Eastern Cuisine in Richmond Hill.
Fushin Sushi & Eastern Cuisine was a treat – for someone that isn’t wild about sushi I loved that there were a number of other great options, like the Tempura Bar (I loved the sweet potato, brinjal and butternut coated in a light tempura batter) and the spicy baked scallops on the starter menu... delish!
- Tessa Buhrmann
The Plantation is nestled in Port Elizabeth's indigenous forest and an award-winning wedding venue with an elegant environment, to-die-for food, beautiful guest rooms and the beach of Sardinia Bay is just down the road.
What an incredible forest setting at The Plantation – the gorgeous room and the amazing breakfast, especially the flapjacks, were a definite highlight!
The Plantation is definitely not just a wedding venue... hands up if you want some of that pancakes too!
The Plantation. The Plantation ticked all the wow boxes for me as it has its own forest and the ocean is so close you can smell it. This place is really special. Forest paths that are like green tunnels link the secluded cottages with the spacious function venue and the wedding chapel. As you walk along the leaf covered paths that foresty smell wafts up into your nose and activates the healing, feel good factor in your brain. The whole area begs to be explored and the rooms are a dream, with every creature comfort you could imagine. Add to this the friendliness of owners, Ralph and Sarah, and you feel like you are staying with friends.The biggest wow is the breakfast, served to you in bed, or in my case, at a table under the tree outside my house. A miniature flapjack stack layered with strawberries, fresh fruit, juice and Mastertons “local is lekka” coffee followed by a full English breakfast. I was full for the day.
The beach at Sardinia Bay is a very short drive from the Plantation and the dunes, rock and tidal pools and endless stretches of pristine beach are my idea of heaven.
Visitors are ususally pleasantly surprised by what the city offers and we don’t blame them.
One thing took me completely by surprise while visiting Nelson Mandela Bay is its ‘coolness’ – a city with a cool, ‘small town’ vibe... easy to get around, friendly people & little surprises around every corner, like Stanley Street, where we dined at the fabulous Fushin restaurant, the Baakens Valley with its eateries and artsy shops and of course beautiful beaches like Sardinia Bay where you can walk for miles.
- Tessa Buhrmann
We'll take the cool compliment with a smile on our Friendly City faces!
One thing took me completely by surprise while visiting Nelson Mandela Bay was the wide variety of attractions, activities and natural beauty.
- Di Brown
Gimme more, more of the Bay!
We asked Di and Tessa what they would do when they visit again.
Di Brown had a whole long list of things she wants to do when visiting Nelson Mandela Bay next time...
- Go back to Addo and stay overnight
- Do a Segway tour along the beachfront
- Explore the Blue Flag Beaches
- Visit Mastertons coffee to see and smell the bean roasting, hear the whole story of the oldest coffee roastery in South Africa and taste and buy more coffee.
- Go back to Sardinia Bay for sunrise and stay until after sunset and
- Meet more friendly locals.
And Tessa definitely wants to stay longer during her next visit; she hopes to visit when it is not raining so that she can make the most of the beautiful beaches and outdoor spaces.
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