Port Elizabeth, come rain or shine
By Julia Holmes
Whether your Saturday morning is defined by sunlight beaming through the curtains, or the gloom of gale force winds and a heavy downpour, we’ve got your Port Elizabeth ‘four seasons in one day’ family-fun covered.
The ideal opportunity to admire spring and the beauty that arises! Pack a basket of treats, a soccer ball to kick around, a stress-free board game, sunblock and voilà your Saturday afternoon is sorted! Potentially the most underrated of all past-times, a spring picnic is well within the budget of a romantic date, celebratory occasion or family day out. Breathtaking scenery is on the cards, and can be found at: Victoria Park, the beachfront (if you don’t mind your sarmies getting a little sandy), the newly renovated King’s Beach Park, St Georges Park (the oldest park within Port Elizabeth – and very safe!), or, if time and funds approve, a day trip to Addo Elephant National Park. One picnic area in particular, Jack’s Picnic Spot (named after a much-loved Rhino from this area of the park) is situated in the Botanical Reserve of the park, a remote location providing visitors with the spot to picnic and braai between 8am-5pm each day.
The pristine 40km coastline of Algoa Bay allows for bountiful seaside shenanigans, encompassing fun for all! Sunbathing, swimming, diving, surfing, and long strolls are enjoyed by many, with Hobie Beach, Pollock ‘Pipe’ Beach, Sardinia Bay, and the Blue Flag King’s Beach ranking amongst the finest. Further refreshment can be found at Supertubes Splash Waterworld and McArthur Pool and Leisure Centre, with MacArthur’s opening in the scorching months of October-April. Complementing a day in the sun is the variety of food and beverage offerings, available at hotspots such as Something Good Roadhouse, Barney’s Tavern, Blue Water’s Cafe, and Gio Cafe, to name but a few!
Markets & Outdoor Restaurants
The market trend has caught on big time in Port Elizabeth and we couldn’t be happier! Showcasing local culinary talent and a hub of creativity, patrons are spoilt for choice along the lines of unique, quality-driven food, crafts, and entertainment. Giving life to terms such as ‘organic’, ‘fresh’, ‘artisan’ and ‘country-style’, attending a market is a guaranteed winner for a Saturday afternoon! Entrance is usually priced at R0-R10, with the funds raised, at the forerunning Valley Market, for example, donated to a charitable cause. Child friendly markets scattered across Port Elizabeth include: The Valley Market, Wedgewood Family Market, Sylvan Belle Country Market and the Cape Recife Artisan Market. For a further taste of market details, and imagery, it is strongly advised to follow their respective Facebook pages.
Crossways Country Kitchen and Grass Roof Restaurant have built reputable reputations for their outdoor, family dining experiences. By combining wholesome ingredients, fresh air, and adoring landscapes, optimism is bound to flow! Crossways Country Kitchen is a fan of an active lifestyle, hosting the mountain bike division of the Makro Cycle Tour, and Rhino Run, and the farm stall aspect of Grass Roof is a definite source for all your unique foodie secrets!
Health & Fitness
For those with a little more ‘vooma’ on the weekends, PE is THE place for exercising amid inspirational surroundings. Indulge in a run along the beachfront, become a Park Run member, venture on a Lady Slipper Hike, explore the Sacramento Trail, or mountain bike through the Hopewell Nature Conservation Estate.
Get involved! Itching for an urban challenge alongside a historical feast? The self-guided 5km Donkin Heritage Trail will exceed your cravings, incorporating 51 historical points of interest within Central. Download the map here!
Recreation in Port Elizabeth is not solely weather dependent. For those days that scream “couch and DVD”, endless entertainment is on offer at both the Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World, and the ‘seriously fun’ Bay West Mall. In terms of the Boardwalk, a Kids Fun Pack can purchased from Sweets from Heaven at the cost of R70, including: A 2D movie at NuMetro, kiddies meal at Wimpy, a chocolate at Sweets from Heaven,2 Free games of ten pin bowling at The Lighthouse and 20% off donuts at Mini Orbits. The Magic Company, adventure golf and go-karting are further Boardwalk highlights, and can be equally enjoyable for both kids and adults. Alongside providing a world-class retail experience, Bay West ‘More’ Mall has created a “Fun Factory”, incorporating a Nitro Circus, and a list of ‘firsts’ for Port Elizabeth, such as an ice rink, Cine prestige, and IMAX theatre. To gain an understanding of Port Elizabeth from a more cultural perspective, an extensive range of indoor based museums are up for exploration! No 7 Castle Hill Museum, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum, The St Croix Motor Museum, South African Air Force, Prince Alfred Guard Museum, and Bay World are popular, recommended choices.
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