Hiking to the Lower Van Stadens Dam outside Port Elizabeth

The history of Port Elizabeth's water supply starts way back when Frames Reservoir was built on the Shark River in present-day Happy Valley back in 1864. As the demand for water increased, the need for a bigger dam was identified and the Van Stadens Water Scheme was initiated. I'm always amazed how people say there is nothing to do in Port Elizabeth and how everything is too expensive. Did you know that you can take a short hike to see…

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Darlington Dam

A few months ago we spent a weekend on a friend's farm near Darlington Dam and he took us for a quick drive to see what the dam looked like. Unfortunately we didn't get to go to the dam wall itself, so my picture is of the runoff below the wall. Darlington Dam, also referred to as Lake Mentz is located off the main road between Kirkwood and Jansenville and was completed in 1922. The primary reason for the dam being…

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How about visiting the Kouga Dam?

When was the last time you've been in the Gamtoos Valley?  Perhaps I should ask, have you ever been for a drive up to the Kouga Dam?  If the answer to both of these questions are "never" or "not recently" then there is no time like the present.  After all the rain we have had recently the Kouga Dam is currently overflowing and well worth a visit.  The Kouga Dam is located about 21 kilometers west of Patensie and was opened in 1969.  It…

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Gamtoos Series 2 – water canals

This is post #2 in the Gamtoos series featuring the Gamtoos River Valley west of Port Elizabeth.  The valley is referred to as the food basket of the Eastern Cape due to the amount of fruit and vegetables being grown here.  These farms all get their water from the Kouga Dam.  Water is taken from the Kouga Dam to the Loerie Dam (on its way to consumers in Port Elizabeth) via a main canal while irrigation water for the farms in…

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Gamtoos Series 1 – Kouga Dam

I'm going through a very busy period at work having just come back from World Travel Market Africa in Cape Town and off to Durban for Indaba in a couple of days.  Because of it I'm running low on photos and rather than skipping days I decided to keep the daily photo concept going and recycle some pictures from The Firefly Photo Files over to PE Daily Photo.  So lets go on a little PE Daily Photo holiday and discover the nearby Gamtoos…

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Discovering PE’s oldest dam – Frames Dam

Its always nice to discover something or somewhere new.  In this case it was something old.  A quick geocache outing during lunch time took me into the Shark River Valley in Humewood and to the old Frames Reservoir.  In the mid 1800's the fledgling town of Port Elizabeth was having water problems.  As a stop-gap measure, a Mr Pinchin and Mr Clement Wall Frames, nephew of William Brooksby Frames, negotiated with the Town Council to supply water to the lower parts…

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The lake on Lakeside Road

After all the rain we had in Port Elizabeth the lake on Lakeside Road flooded its banks and closed the road for quite some time.  I took a drive past there the other day to see how high it still was but it seems to have dropped back to its normal level.  The lake is the biggest natural fresh water lake in Port Elizabeth.  Just one problem.  I can't really find what the lake's proper name is other than the area being…

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Bulk River valley

In yesterday's post I wrote about the Bulk River and Sand River that flows into the Elands River west of Port Elizabeth.  The Sand River Dam is fairly close to the Elands River Road while the Bulk River Dam can just be glimpsed from the road.  In the picture is the Bulk River with the dam barely visible higher up the valley.

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Sand River Dam

Port Elizabeth's earliest water supply came from the Shark River at Happy Valley and the Donkin Stream next to the Donkin Reserve.  As the city started to grow in its early days of development the demand for water far exceeded this meager supply.  After a competition held by the Port Elizabeth city council in 1862 to find proposals to supply the city with water, a weir and small dam was built in the Van Stadens River.  This was later followed by…

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