The name Sacramento is synonymous with Schoenmakerskop. There is the Sacramento Trail, the Sacramento cannon and the Sacramento Restaurant. But what is the Sacramento. She was a Portuguese galleon that aground just off Schoenmakerskop outside Port Elizabeth on 30 June 1647 in foul weather. By the time she hit the rocky coastline, she had a badly damaged rudder and her sails were in tatters. 72 of the crew made it ashore and set off towards Lourenco Marques (now Maputo), 1400km away.
The Sacramento was heavily loaded with a cargo of bronze cannons cast in Macao and destined for Portugal. The cannon lay undisturbed on the ocean bed for 330 years until 40 of them were salvaged in 1977.
One of the original Sacramento guns stand at the west side of Schoenmakerskop pointing in the direction of where she met her fate.
Marine Drive along the Port Elizabeth beachfront and the Wildside all the way out to Schoenmakerskop probably has some of the best scenery in PE. Sea views, a rugged coastline, gullies to enjoy with kids, fishing spots, coastal fynbos, shipwrecks, whales and dolphins, hiking trails, nature reserves, picnic spots, camp sites, tons of photo opportunities and so much more.
It seems that it doesn’t matter where and what time of year you go for a hike along one of the trails around Port Elizabeth, there is always plants flowering. It’s one of the great things of especially fynbos which is found along a lot of the coastal trails around here. Something is always blooming, doesn’t matter the season. With level 3 lock down allowing hiking, there’s really no excuse not to get out over weekend to go and experience the beauty of our region, even if you just go and walk the first couple of hundred meters of the Sacramento Trail in Schoenmakerskop.
One of Port Elizabeth’s little gems that very few people seem to know of is Rheta’s Trail in Schoenmakerskop. Rheta’s Trail stretches behind the houses (from #24 to #40) in Schoenies on Marine Drive between and can be accessed between numbers 22 and 24. The trail is always open and was created by local resident Retha Taylor along with a couple of workers. The trail starts by the labyrinth on the eastern side and is more about what you’ll find along the way than the trail itself as it’s not really a hiking trail in the sense of the word due to its length. Or in this case “shortness”. Along the way there are literally hundreds of items that act as conversation pieces, some representing something significant in people’s lives and others just because. Or as we say in Afrikaans, “Sommer maar net.” Next time you’re in the area do drop by as I promise you you will love it.
Last year (2016) saw Schoenmakerskop, or as we refer to it, Schoenies, celebrate its centenary year. As part of the celebrations a Centenary Garden has been established in front of the Sacramento Restaurant.
The view of the coastline from the World War II Forward Observation Post at Schoenmakerskop. This historic building is now under threat due to a company wanting to mine the sand of the dune on which the FOP is located saying that it “isn’t a natural dune”. What a load of hogwash!
In early December a huge fire swept through the bush on the Wildside in the Schoenmakerskop area. One of the specific spots effected by the fire was the Fynbos Trail that starts next to Sappershoek in Schoenies. I am the cache owner of the PE series of Geocaches that is located along the Fynbos Trail and last Friday Chaos Boy and I headed down to do the trail and some much needed maintenance replacing the caches damaged by the fire.
The devastation of the fire is mind blowing but it is fantastic to see how green sprouts and flowers are appearing all over the burned out landscape.