Sunset at Sardinia Bay

The dune at Sardinia Bay is probably the best and most popular spot in Port Elizabeth to enjoy a beautiful sunset. We haven’t been for ages and I got tired of seeing other people post photos of it on Facebook, so on Tuesday afternoon I made a suggestion to go when I got home from work and was still putting down my bag when I heard the door close as everybody headed for the car.

Common Dolphins in Algoa Bay

Cruising Algoa Bay with Raggy Charters is like a luxury lucky packet. You kinda know what you could find, but when you do it like wow in overdrive. As a tourism marketer promoting the Eastern Cape I have spoken about Raggy Charters and promoted what Algoa Bay has to offer for years with so many invites to join them on a cruise. Something just always came up until I got to finally join them on a cruise a little while ago. Our first big wow of the cruise was a pod of Common Dolphins cashing a sardine bait ball. We followed the pod cameras clicking and at times it felt like the boat was going full tilt to keep up.

Common Dolphins (Delphinus Capensis) is the most widespread and abundant of all the dolphin species, and can be found in pods of up to 2 000. They are highly efficient at capturing small shoaling fish such as anchovies, pilchards and krill. Swimming at speeds of up to 60km/h they hunt down their prey and encircle them driving the shoal towards the surface and continuously tightening the circle around them.

And if you’re lucky, you get a shot like this…

Penguins and dolphins at St Croix

Port Elizabeth and Algoa Bay are promoted as the Bottlenose Dolphin capital of the world while St Croix Island has the biggest population of African Penguins in the world. I was lucky to get both species in one photo at St Croix on an outing with Raggy Charters a little while ago.

Bottlenose Capital of the World – It is estimated that a population of over 28 000 individual Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins make use of Algoa Bay and the surrounding ocean making it the biggest concentration of bottlenose dolphins in the world. The bottlenose dolphins occur in groups of between 10 and 400 individuals.

For more information – Bottlenose Dolphion Capital of the World

African Penguins – About 60% of the total global population of the endangered African Penguins live in Algoa Bay, 21 000 on St Croix, and 5 700 on Bird Island. Strange enough there isn’t a mainland population in the Eastern Cape and they only occur on the islands.

For more information – African Penguins

Van Stadens bird hide

Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve’s bird hide

The 600 ha Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve is located about 35km west of Port Elizabeth. The reserve stretches from the Van Stadens mountain to the coast and its main purpose is to protect the area’s unique indigenous Fynbos vegetation. It’s always worth popping into the reserve because there’s always some type of protea in bloom. But Van Stadens isn’t just about vegetation and views of the Van Stadens gorge, it also boasts a birding list with 149 bird species and one of the best spots for twitchers to hang out and keep an eye out for our feathered friends is the reserve’s bird hide. The hide is the proud handy work of the Friends of Van Stadens, a group of volunteers who have helped out with the running of the Van Stadens Wild Flower Reserve since 2007.

Scuba diving party in Port Elizabeth

Parties are getting more and more sophisticated.  Back in our days it was kids coming over and eating cake and sweets while watching a video and playing.  These days parents are pulling out all the stops to make a child’s birthday party a memorable one and with two kids, a boy and a girl, we’ve been to everything. Movies, ice skating, trampoline park, pool parties, supertube, survival parties and more.  But Drama Princess had a first the other day.  A scuba diving party hosted at ProDive here in Port Elizabeth. 

The kids had a swim in the dive pool while waiting for everybody to arrive before the full safety briefing by one of ProDive’s qualified dive masters.

They were then given their diving gear…

… with the dive master kitting them each out individually to make sure everything is in order.

Then it was time to get in the water and the fun to start.

Miggie showing off her scuba look.

Some of the kids “got it” immediately…

… while Miggie’s mind told her she has to come up every time she wanted to breathe in.  The dive master brought her back to the shallow side and spent a few moments with her to put her mind at ease and to help her get used to breathing underwater. 
Then there was no stopping her.

I wondered beforehand if Miggie would enjoy a scuba party and if she would even go under water.  Any uncertainty was cleared up very quickly and the kids at the party absolutely loved it and would have spent all day in there if they could.  I did my diving qualification many years ago and haven’t dived for a while, but I remember the feeling and I can imagine while the kids loved it.  It’s really something different and if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary for your child’s next party, then you should really consider doing this. 

Russell Road Cemetery

The Russell Road Cemetery is another of Port Elizabeth’s historic grave yards dating back to the early days of Port Elizabeth.  As the town grew the increased demands on the St Mary’s Cemetery next to the Baakens River became too much and a solution had to be found, not just for another cemetery but also to accommodate the different religious affiliations.  Small pieces of land was allocated to the various Christian denominations on the town margins in the late 1830’s and 1840’s with the Wesleyan Methodists, Catholics and Congregationalists each getting their own burial grounds to the north west of the settlement in what became known as Burial Kloof.  This kloof, a rocky area which created a natural stream when it rained, is the kloof down which Russell Road runs today.  Back then the three cemeteries were adjacent to one another and were separated by walls with each church having their own entrance.
Today there isn’t much left in the Russell Road Cemetery.  The cemetery became very run down many years ago, and most of the graves were badly vandalised.  In an effort to preserve as much of the remaining stones as they can, the municipality laid them flat and cemented them to the ground.
One grave stands out from the rest.  The white grave in the centre of the cemetery belongs to James Langley Dalton who was a survivor of the Battle of Rorkes Drift and the recipient of a Victoria Cross. Unfortunately Dalton dies while visiting a friend in Port Elizabeth and was buried in this cemetery.

Promoting the Boardwalk AND Port Elizabeth

I was looking for a video to post for today’s Video Friday post and found this stunning video by Sun International promoting the Boardwalk Hotel and Casino complex.  More importantly, they are promoting Port Elizabeth along with the Boardwalk.  Whoever commissioned this video and worked on the project gets that everybody has to be a destination marketer as much as a product marketer as visitors first select a destination before they choose at which establishment they want to stay.  Well done Sun International on a brilliant video.

Discover Freedom destination video

For a big period of the time that I worked for Nelson Mandela Bay the tagline used by the organisation was “Discover Freedom”.  It was a play on words using the link of Nelson Mandela’s name and freedom from Apartheid but also referred to the freedom the city offers visitors to choose what they want to do without saying “you have to do this or that”, our wide open spaces, wildlife and many attractions.  When I started working there in 2007 this was the destination marketing video that we were using and to be honest, I still enjoy it.