The great thing about wanting to do a road trip in South Africa is that you’re really spoiled for choice. Last Easter Weekend, we decided to head down South Africa’s southern coast to Eastern’s Cape Port Elizabeth. We set off on ou journey in the early hours of the morning for what we planned to be a one day drive the N2 over nine hours with a short break in Knysna. Before I continue let me warn you that some of these pictures were taken with a phone and may not be that great.
The Garden Route that guides you to Port Elizabeth is the highlight of the drive as it shows some of the finest natural scenes that Cape Town has to offer. A true beauty is the Tsitsikamma river which you catch a good look at over the high-rise bridges. Tsitsikamma is a vast area so you’d need a full week to fully experience it; time that we didn’t have.
We reached our destination after the sun had set but by the next morning we started our vacation with a relaxing stroll down the Shark Rock Pier. From here you can get a good look at the Port Elizabeth harbour and the Humewood Six Pillars. Upon our visit, the wind really wasn’t holding up and with PE being a windy city it’s advised you keep a jacket at hand.
After the pier, we headed across the road to the Boardwalk which houses a cinema, a couple of restaurants and shops, a small theme park and a casino. Accompanying this is also the five-star Boardwalk Hotel which has been designed to look like a white castle. The Boardwalk is a quaint location with elements of a Disney fantasy setting accentuated by the large pond in the centre. Apart from shopping and eating, there’s not much you can do from an adult’s point of view. The theme park offerings are all centred towards kids.
The next day we decided to adventure out to Addo Elephant National Park; a popular wildlife destination that acts as a sanctuary for many animals. If you find yourself in the Port Elizabeth, the 30 minute drive to Addo is worth the journey. Entry will cost you R68 (for South Africans) with it you get a handy map of the park. While most cars will do fine along the gravel roads it’s advised that you take something with a bit of a ride height as there can be some unsuspecting rocks along the path.
Addo offers an array of amazing views and the opportunity to see some magnificent elephants among other animals up close. The lions on the other hand tend to keep their distance but that’s probably for the best so try to remember a set of binoculars if you want to get a good look at them.
At the centre of Addo there’s also a great picnic spot where you can get out of your car as the rest of the park doesn’t allow this for obvious reasons. The picnic spot can get a bit busy but there are plenty of tables for everyone.
The next day the weather was pretty good so we ventured out to Sardinia Bay Beach which has a pretty steep dune to crest before you get to the water so make sure your calf muscles are prepared. Sardinia Bay is truly a hidden gem with simple but beautiful views and, seeing that it’s based along the Indian Ocean, the water is welcomingly warm. Bear in mind that there is only one store close by that sells drinks and snacks so come well prepared with essentials.
During this weekend the weather can be difficult to gauge in PE so make sure you check the weather forecast before planning. Definitely remember to pack an umbrella as there are no shady spots to set up. There’s a lot of space on this shore and it’s generally quiet so you won’t have to arrive early just to secure a place to sit.
If it’s the food you’re looking for, there’s an area called Mount Croix which boasts a cluster of boutique restaurants in a French quarter fashion. There are a lot of eating places get through there but the one we visited for breakfast was Vovo Telo. The setting is quaint and playful with a cottage style theme but it is quite small so booking a table would be advised, especially if you are a big group. It also hosts a small bakery so if you want to enjoy some high tea, it’s suitable for that as well. Otherwise, the menu is simple and straightforward. The food was also pretty tasty and the pricing wasn’t really too bad.
There are more eating spots along the seaside as well such as the Company Social Brasserie located on Beach Road. The setting is very trendy and as the name suggests is a great place for social gatherings. Seeing that it’s situated on the beach, it’s a better location to visit during the summers. The menu is pretty extensive, which is usually a bad sign, but the food wasn’t too bad. It is more expensive than other restaurants, though.
We visited Suki Sushi and Asian cuisine as well which was a mouth-watering experience. I truly loved everything at this place, the sushi, the service and the creative décor.
PE restaurants close much earlier than Cape town ones so be sure to check ahead of schedule. Overall we had a good experience in Port Elizabeth. I feel like it’s underrated as it does have some beautiful locations but would love to see more investment being made in the Windy city. It’s also known as the friendly city and the people are for sure friendly! Even the PE people I have met in Cape town are really the friendliest!
I wish we had more than a weekend to explore Port Elizabeth as there is much more to see and do. But hopefully one day I will return and get to explore more of it. Have you been to Port Elizabeth?
What is a must do activity in Port Elizabeth for you? I would love to know for my next trip there.
Until next post,
xx Miss Dhanusha