When one thinks of going on a vacation anywhere in South Africa, Port Elizabeth rarely makes it to the list… but I’m here to tell you why it should!
I’m not a morning person but when the itinerary requires you to be at the South African Tourism offices at 04h00, you make sure you’re there, bags and all. Plus, keeping time is never really a problem when excitement is on your side. After getting acquainted with our would-be friends from other media houses, we boarded the plane and made our way to the ‘windy city’, Port Elizabeth. Upon arrival we met Craig Duffeld, the man with a boisterous laugh from Mosaic Tourism, who for the rest of our stay would be our tour guide and friend.
Getting To Know Nelson Mandela Bay
Our first stop before checking in at the Protea Hotel was the Donkin Reserve for the launch of the Nelson Mandela Bay Travel App. So much can be said about this app! If you’re a tourist who likes information to be easily accessible without having to go through tons of pamphlets, the app allows you to visit and know more about all the tourist attractions in PE, while also including upcoming events, accommodation, emergency contacts and best of all, free Wi-Fi spots within the city. A visit to the Donkin Reserve is not complete without getting a view of the city from the top of the lighthouse. So yes, I huffed and puffed my way up the steep, spiralled staircase – to be rewarded with a breathtaking view.
Of course, when you hang around media people you are encouraged to love food. I am a foodie, so when it came to what to eat, PE didn’t disappoint. If we weren’t fancying it up with some cuisine from Fushin Sushi and Eastern Cuisine, we were getting our hands dirty with the best saucy ribs from Cubata.
Beer lovers can always take a #ShotLeft to the Beer Yard and get their taste buds working overtime to see which beer from their selected variety of the day talks to them. After enjoying a meal with your preferred drink at the Beer Yard, you get to leave your own unique writing on their wall, with the hope that you’ll find it there the next time you come around. As writers by profession, we weren’t about to let that opportunity pass us by!
Wind, The Game Spoiler
The only thing that really disappointed us throughout our visit to the Nelson Mandela Bay was the wind. Going in, we knew that the city can be windy, we just never expected it to be windy on the day we were geared up to go for sand boarding at Sundays River. Imagine our disappointment when we were told that we couldn’t do it because the strong wind would affect the water currents. They couldn’t risk taking us on the boat that would take us to the dunes, so all we were left with was driving along the dunes with heavy hearts.
For Friends We Made Along The Way
Other than that small glitch, Nelson Mandela Bay was a good host. We got there not knowing what to expect, but by the time we left, we had done more than just add names to our contact lists – we had made friends. Unfortunately, some have left this world, but through pictures and videos we took during our stay, we’ll definitely remember the marks they left in our heart.
This one goes out to the man who ensured that our stay in Nelson Mandela Bay was a comfortable and enjoyable one. The man with the boisterous laugh passed away tragically in December 2016. Rest in peace Craig Duffeld; you won’t be forgotten, and thank you for the little time we spent with you.
Images: BM Studios And Photography