It’s a blue sky day in Port Elizabeth and I just could not help slipping out the office for a quick walk. Need some more Vitamin Sea and an injection of inSunlin.
Looking down from the start of the Sacramento Trail in Schoenmakerskop towards Sardinia Bay (the sand dunes in the distance) about 4 kilometers away. The 8km round trip is probably Port Elizabeth’s best known and most popular hiking trail.
A little while ago I had the fantastic opportunity to go on a cruise on Algoa Bay with Raggy Charters and it felt like we hit the jackpot that day. Whales, dolphins, bait balls, penguins, and the cherry on top, a killer whale.
The cruise was the first opportunity for me to see St Croix Island up close. St Croix Island is home to the largest breeding colony of African penguins in the world. At one stage there were 60 000 individuals on the island, but the population in our bay has dropped down to about 22,000 due to various reasons. The island houses roughly half of the entire world’s population. The African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) is only found on the southern African coastline and is also called a jackass penguin due to it’s loud, donkey-like bray. Their conservation status is listed as Endangered.
St Croix Island along with Bird Island across the Bay were both utilised for food and supplies since the first Portuguese explorers rounded the Cape in 1488. Both islands were targeted for bird meat by ships passing the bay and it was soon discovered that African penguin eggs were actually a highly tasty treat and became a delicacy. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries egg collecting was so extensive that penguin numbers dropped to a shocking one thousand individuals in 1937. Guano (penguin dung) was also collected from both islands to be used as fertiliser and gun powder until 1955 on St Croix and until as late as 1989 on Bird Island. This was extremely disruptive to the birds but more importantly, it robbed them of important nesting material.
Today the African Penguin is a protected species
Source – Algoa Bay Hope Spot – NMBT website
Aaaaahhhhhh, sunrise. Probably the best time of day. Pity its so early in summer and so cold in winter otherwise you would have seen a lot more sunrise photos from me.
Although the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro is named after South Africa’s first post Apartheid president and a world icon, the city does not have a proper Madiba statue for visitors and tourists to visit. Because of this the Route 67 Madiba figure on the Donkin Reserve has become a must stop for especially international visitors
A lot of the figures in the Voting Line art piece on the Donkin Reserve are based on real people. One of the things I like is the fact that you notice different personal or clothing features on the figures every time you visit.
Last week I took a group of students on a walking tour around the Donkin Reserve and Route 67 and just realised again how much history Port Elizabeth has. The Donkin Reserve is a combination of history and public art and lining up the mosaic with the pyramid and lighthouse like this shows how easily you can incorporate the two.
I’m really enjoying the trail behind Schoenmakerskop lately. It’s nice and flat, open all around, yet fairly sheltered from the prevailing south-easterly wind.
I’ve been doing a lot of walking on the jeep track trails behind Schoenmakerskop lately and climbed the one koppie on Sunday afternoon to get a better view of the coastline, the village and surrounding scenery.
Driving up Heatherbank Road between Charlo and Lorraine, one could easily make a head move and think you are driving past a farm and not necessarily still in the middle of the city.