Whether you’re a South African looking for your next local destination to explore, a foreigner planning a trip of a lifetime to South Africa or even a local looking to enjoy your city – Nelson Mandela Bay has something for everyone and makes the perfect backdrop to forge memories that are sure to last a lifetime. Here are 5 reasons to put Nelson Mandela Bay on your list of places to visit.
Nelson Mandela Bay has a rich and interesting history. Founded in 1820, to house British Settlers, Port Elizabeth was named after the late wife of Sir Rufane Shaw Donkin, the founder of the Port. The city has since grown and evolved and in 2001, Port Elizabeth and the neighbouring towns, Uitenhage and Despatch were amalgamated into the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, named after the iconic Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
Nelson Mandela Bay has a host of museums that showcase the Bay’s rich heritage. Some must visits include South End Museum that showcases the history of the South End suburb – how people of all races lived together and how their world was ripped apart as a result of Apartheid. The Volkswagen Auto Pavillion in Uitenhage – Nelson Mandela Bay has deep roots in motor industry. The museum is interactive and likely to keep both adults and children equally entertained.
If museums aren’t for you, you could opt for a Route 67 City Tour, which consists of 67 public art works symbolising Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of political life and his work dedicated to the struggle for freedom in South Africa. The route starts at the Campanile, which is an attraction all on it’s own. Feel free to climb the 204 steps of the 50m high building to the observation room that offers a gorgeous view of the harbour and surroundings. If you lucky enough, you may hear the 23 bells ring out during song time.
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If you love adventure then Nelson Mandela Bay is definitely for you. The City has loads to offer – mountain biking trails, hiking, water sports and fantastic weather to enjoy it all. There is also a wildlife reserve – Kragga Kamma Game Park that is home to vast herds of African game, including White Rhino, Buffalo, Cheetah, Giraffe, Zebra, Nyala, Bontebok, Lechwe and many more species.
Because of the city’s close proximity to Addo and Jeffery’s Bay, it makes for the perfect home base for day trips to the surrounding areas. A visit to Addo Elephant Park and perhaps a stop at Addo Adrenalin to enjoy South Africa’s highest, longest and fastest double zip line; or a trip to Sunday’s River to go Sand boarding. If you’re a surfer, you’re more than welcome to enjoy one of Port Elizabeth’s many beaches, but you may want to pay the Iconic Jeffery’s Bay a visit while you’re here.
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The Bay is home to Ironman South Africa. The annual event is one of our most beloved, so it’s only natural that Nelson Mandela Bay has so much to offer when it comes to the adventure seeker.
When it comes to food, you really are spoilt for choice. Nelson Mandela Bay has a host of coffee shops, bakeries and restaurants that are sure to leave you with a fully belly and a happy heart.
There are also a fleet of much loved food trucks that can be found at any of Nelson Mandela Bay’s many markets, but probably the best place to find them would be Food Truck Funday.
Nelson Mandela Bay is very proud to be home to South Africa’s oldest coffee roaster, Mastertons – a trip to Nelson Mandela Bay is not complete untill you have paid them a visit and caught a whiff of their freshly roasted coffee beans.
While wine seems to be the order of the day in the Western Cape, in Nelson Mandela Bay, it’s all about the beer. With microbreweries such as Richmond Hill Brewing Co, Bridge Street Brewery and Dockside Brewery, it is no wonder the Bay just can’t get enough of it all. Not a fan of beer? Why not try Rhino Rum from Brickmakers Distilling Co. instead?
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The Wonder of Nature
The Bay is blessed with exquisite beaches and has been named the Bottlenose Capital of the World. You can often see these special dolphins from the shore, but an even better experience is to see them from a Raggy Charter or Stampede boat. The Bay also has the beautiful Baakens Valley that passes through virtually the whole city.
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Port Elizabeth is fondly known as the “Friendly City” and once you’ve spent some time here, you’ll understand why. The people of Nelson Mandela Bay are warm and inviting. Rest assured that Port Elizabethans will go above and beyond to make your stay a memorable one.
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Have you travelled to Nelson Mandela Bay before? Did you love it as much as we do? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.
For more scrumptious foodie friendly ideas have a look at all the things to do and see in and around the Bay or pick up a Nelson Mandela Bay Pass Card and treat yourself and your loved ones to a Port Elizabeth Beer Tour or a gourmet picnic at Thunzi Bush Lodge, but if you have a pass, why not do both.