South Africa Garden Route: Port Elizabeth
February 2, 2014|Posted in: South Africa
After a full week on safari it was time to start off on the Garden Route, with our first stop being Port Elizabeth (PE). For those of you that don’t know, the Garden Route is a beautifully scenic stretch of the south-eastern coast of South Africa. The route is known as it is for its ecologically diverse plant life and Port Elizabeth, which is more commonly known also as the Friendly City, is situated at the eastern end of the Garden Route.
After an hour’s drive from Kwantu Game Reserve, we arrived at the hostel in PE to settle into our new room. We then set out to get a taste of the real South Africa by visiting the Red Location museum set in the heart of PE’s New Brighton Township. Driving through a mixture of wooden and corrugated iron buildings and shacks through dusty roads, it was amazing to see how many people could be living in the conditions to which we would usually class back home as poverty. But this is normal life.
The museum itself is a magnificent building slap bang in the middle of the Townshop, and unlike most conventional museums, it was set out as a series of ‘memory boxes’ that exhibits the different lives of people who fought against the Apartheid regime. Each box was covered in the corrugated iron cladding that gave the Red Location its name.
It’s amazing to see how many influential figures of African history were born and raised in Townships such as New Brighton, and the struggle they went through to achieve their statuses.
After a rather emotionally charged afternoon we headed out to The Boardwalk, the waterfront complex complete with various shopping opportunities, restaurants and bars. The beach is beautifully sandy (although the sea was a little too cold to take a dip in). But the views of the crystal clear Indian Ocean are definitely a photo opportunity!
After taking in a few of the local sights, we sat down to a well-deserved drink before heading back nice and early to the hostel to get ready for the next day’s adventures.
There are a few things I would have loved to have done whilst in PE, but obviously due to time restrictions not everything is possible. For example, it is a great whale-watching destination, with humpback whales being sighted from June – August, as well as a ride range of water sports and diving opportunities!
Next stop: Jeffrey’s Bay!
Amy is the founder of thewanderlustadventures.com. Currently residing in Reading, UK with a love of adventure travel, writing and photography - she pretty much writes about whatever the hell she wants!