Garden Route Trip Day 1: Port Elizabeth

By 19:00

Through Diwali festivities, daily visits to the temple and visiting practically everyone in Malabar, I managed to squeeze in a day of exploring PE.

We started out at the Donkin Reserve. It’s a little park to commemorate the history of PE and struggles of South Africa. We mostly walked through the park and checked out the little statues representing things from our past that shapes what South Africa is today. There’s also an old lighthouse on the premises. I’d never been inside a lighthouse so I was very keen to pay R5 to check it out. Bad idea! Lighthouses were designed for 10 year old boys, I think. To get to the top, you have to climb dozens of stairs which spiral and keep getting steeper and narrower. I also managed to bump my head on the way up. Once we got up there it was all worth it: 360 degree views of the city. You can see the entire Donkin reserve including where all the new artworks are still to be added. The view of the harbour from up there is stunning and there were tons of PE landmarks that my boyfriend pointed out to me. 

The lighthouse I climbed

Artsy stuff on Donkin Reserve

Apparently the biggest flag in the country

Beautiful artwork depicting our past

Loved these headline type billboards filled with quotes

A close-up of the billboard

A view of the Donkin Reserve from the lighthouse

A view of the harbour from the lighthouse

A cute little walking trail from town to the Donkin Reserve

Next was a trip to the South End Museum. I love to know about the history of a place when I visit it. This doesn’t give you an overview of how PE came in to being but it shed some light into how the Group Areas Act affected people of colour in PE. This museum is specific to PE but its representative of how the Act was effected everywhere in South Africa, the things people were involved in before they were forcible removed, how they were moved and how their lives mostly took a turn for the worse.

After that I desperately needed some cheering up. What better way to do that than to take a stroll on the beach. PE boasts blue flag beaches but they are freezing cold. This is still the Indian Ocean; what happened to their warm Benguela current? For those who don’t want to get wet, the promenade is stunning. There are tons to see and do.

Within walking distance of the beach is the Boardwalk Casino. I don’t enjoy idling time away in front of a slot machine but I did enjoy sitting at a cafe near the musical water feature. It’s pretty much like Brightwater Commons musical water fountains; only better! The fountains shoot water high into the air in various spirals and forms all in tune to some awesome music. It was a pity it was only 10 minutes though. I would have loved to enjoy a longer show.

Everyone in PE has given me the nod of approval so it seems like I’ll definitely be going back. Is there anything else in PE that you really enjoy? Leave a comment and let me know so I can try it out next time I’m there.

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