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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Van Stadens Narrow Gauge Bridge

A couple of weeks ago we walked to the Lower Van Stadens Dam and got a side view of the narrow-gauge bridge over the gorge from the northern side. The Van Stadens rail bridge is the second highest railway bridge in South Africa and the highest narrow-gauge bridge in the world. Construction on the bridge was completed in 1905 and the bridge is 156m long, 77m high and contains 1 112 cubic meters of concrete and 574 tons of steel.This…

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PE Opera House stained glass window

The Port Elizabeth Opera House, now called the Nelson Mandela Bay Theatre Complex, was opened in December 1892 and is the oldest-running Victorian era opera house in Africa and the southern hemisphere. Significant upgrades and additions were done in 1926, 1934, 1985 and lately in 2016. As part of the latest revamp the framed mirror on the steps in the foyer were replaced with a stunning feature stained glass window by David Manning portraying the only three Africans on the continent…

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Read more about the article Port Elizabeth Then and Now – The Willows Holiday Resort
Willows in 1938 before the resort was built

Port Elizabeth Then and Now – The Willows Holiday Resort

Camping at Willows in 1938 long before the rondawels were built. The Willows Holiday Resort along Port Elizabeth's southern coastline close to Schoenmakerskop has been a popular weekend and holiday destination for a very long time. In the early days people came here, pitched their tents and enjoyed the surroundings with very little else around. Willows in the 1960s Willows Resort after it was constructed in the 1950's consisted of rondawels with communal bathrooms that had “long drop toilets” and…

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The Van Staden’s River gorge road bridges

Van Standen's Groge with the arch bridge crossing it The Van Staden's River west of Port Elizabeth is the boundary of the Nelson Mandela Bay metro and a major landmark in the area. Most people cross the gorge on the N2 in a couple of seconds using the arch bridge while others take their time and drive through the old pass. But where does the name Van Staden's come from and when were the different bridges built? The arch bridge,…

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Watching sunset

The Sardinia Bay dunes are probably the best place in Port Elizabeth to enjoy the sunset. My phone takes stunning photos, I've just realised that it doesn't do so when I zoom. But I just had to get this shot of this guy standing on the dune as the sun was heading for the horizon.

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The Van Stadens Bridge

Last Saturday we went for a walk at the Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve and followed the River Walk up to the point where you walk under the Van Stadens Bridge. It truly is a sight from below, but I think I'll keep that photo for a second post. The bridge was completed on 12 October 1971 and stretches 198m across the gorge and is 125m at its highest point. The bridge was designed by Italian engineers and the two halves of…

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Gnomesville PE

Norm Hudlin on Kragga Kamma Road was created to offer mountain bikers a variety of easy routes in a safe environment. Quickly it also became a popular spot for a jog or a walk and lately it is the hub for families enjoying the painted rocks phenomena. Norm Hudlin is now also home to Gnomesville PE, which was a long time dream of local resident Graham Chrich, or plainoldgraham as his Geocaching friend know him. Graham got to visit a…

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St George’s Park Ox wagon

I'm sure most Port Elizabethans who grew up here would have played in the playpark at St George's Park at one stage or another as a kid and would remember the oxen and wagon. I remember playing on it and so do my kids. After taking a walk around Art in the Park on Sunday, Miggie couldn't wait to hop on just for the fun of it.

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A stroll around Art in the Park

Art in the Park truly has been a part of Port Elizabeth's being for much longer than I can even remember. 35 years ago I can remember my mom having a stall at Art in the Park and how we spent the whole day playing around St Georges Park and going through the stalls. The stalls stretched all the way from the entrance at the art museum past the pool to the first big trees and then down to the…

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