In the July 2022 issue of Firefly the Travel Guy’s Encounter our Eastern Cape Travel Letter
Go ghost hunting in the museums of Somerset East
Enjoy the outdoors at Norm Hudlin outside Port Elizabeth
Explore Kenton-on-Sea’s beaches and rock formations
Surf Supertubes in Jeffreys Bay
Stay at Arch Cabins Self Catering in Storms River Village
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The museum ghosts of Somerset East
The Karoo Heartland town of Somerset East has two main museums in the Somerset East (Old Parsonage) Museum and the Walter Battiss Art Museum (the old Officers’ Mess). There are several ghost stories connected to both of these.
Over the years, several visitors to the Somerset East Museum have reported seeing a tall man in a black suit sitting behind the desk in the study. There have been incidents of visitors seeing the light bulb over the desk in the study switching on and off when they enter the room. A previous long time employee of the museum as well as some visitors have, on a few occasions, heard heavy footsteps slowly descending the staircase or in the upstairs rooms.
Visitors to the museum have also reported seeing a little boy in Victorian dress standing in a corner, or running, with a very sad expression. There is a grave under the floor of the room where he has been seen, where the infant son of a Pastor is buried.
Museum staff at the Walter Battiss Art Museum feel certain that there is still a soldier in the museum with different people having experienced a “male” presence in various rooms of the Museum. It is said that on some nights, one can still hear the English officers throwing their glasses into the fireplace. One man who lived in the building as a small boy said that the “Black Ghost” threw a horseshoe at this mother. Passers by, on dark nights, have reported seeing a man standing at the upstairs window. Perhaps, if one listened carefully, one could hear the rattle of the spurs of the officers, as they went up and down the old staircase!.
Enjoy the outdoors at Norm Hudlin outside Port Elizabeth
Norm-Hudlin on Kragga Kamma Road in Port Elizabeth has become one of the city’s most popular outdoor family destinations. It started out as purpose-built mountain bike routes zigzagging amid established primary sand forest vegetation, with a variety of gravel roads in the immediate area also open to explore. The trails are clearly marked with approximately 6km and 16km of single-track and are suitable for all ages and skill levels. If you’re keen to push the envelope, there will be more than enough in the route to keep you gripped, but the riding is fine for the rest of the family at a slower pace. The best thing is that you can enjoy the outdoors in a safe and secure environment. There is also a kiddies trail close to the clubhouse where young riders can test their skills.
But Norm Hudlin has evolved way past only being a mountain biking trail. Walkers, trail runners, rock climbers, dog walkers and outdoor lovers descend on Norm Hudlin every week. The trail hosts a Park Run every Saturday, there are picnic areas, they host various markets and it’s the home of Gnomesville PE.
The Cowshed Coffee Kiosk is open from Tuesday to Friday from 9am to 5pm and on the weekends from 8am to 3pm.
Kenton-on-Sea’s beaches and rock formations
Kenton-on-Sea on Route 72 along the Sunshine Coast has a number of beautiful beaches located between the mouths of the Kariega and Bushmans Rivers. A walk at low tide between the two river mouths will reveal beautiful beaches, sandstone caves, hidden rock pools, chimneys and sheltered bays.
Mermaid’s Pool is a popular spot to take the littlies for a swim. At mid to low tide, the sea washes out to reveal a long stretch of water between the rocks that is a couple of feet deep, which is great to play in. As the tide gets lower, Mermaid’s Pool appears as a small, protected swimming area. The sand in the pool comes and goes, but the pool is perfectly suited to little feet when the bottom is sandy.
The most interesting formation along the coast is Carriage Rock with it’s arch big enough to walk through at low tide.
Shelly Bay, one of South Africa’s “secret” beaches. This hidden gem is enclosed by a semi-circle of high rock. The bay shelters you from the rest of the world and most winds. A wonderful place to spend the day with the family, body surf or play in the waves, explore the interesting rocks or chill on the sand and soak up the sun.
Surfing at Supertubes in Jbay
Jeffreys Bay is unmistakably South Africa’s surfing mecca and the jewel in its crown is Supertubes. Supertubes is the top right hand point break in the world and on a good day can be surfed for over a kilometer. The surf spot works best on low tide with a strong offshore (south wester) to keep the face open, with the wave being best in the 4 to 8 foot category. On the better days the wave breaks from the top of the point and winds all the way along the reef, past the car park to an awesome barrel section. The best swells hit Jeffreys Bay between May and September – wintertime – when the Southwest spot is exposed to the Roaring Forties. The Jbay Open surfing competition is part of the World Men’s Surfing Tour and brings some of the world’s best surfers to the town in July each year.
Storms River Arch Cabins
Spacious accommodation beyond believe
Your accommodation while on holiday doesn’t have to be a broom closet cramped “at least we only sleep there” space. On the contrary, Storms River Village in the Tsitsikamma’s newest establishment is Arch Cabins Self-Catering. The twin Arch Cabins are huge and spacious and each sleeps eight people in three bedrooms plus an extra sleeping nook. The main upstairs bedroom is en-suite while the downstairs rooms share their bathroom. The humongous open plan living space have a fully equipped kitchen, lounge and dining areas.
Outside there’s a under cover raised firepit, lots of seating and hammocks so while the adults are enjoying a few drinks around the braai, the kids can keep themselves busy with the vintage arcade games on the big screen tv. Arch Cabins is literally upping the standard of self catering accommodation in the Tsitsikamma.