It’s winter. And while winter can sometimes grip us by our scarfs in Nelson Mandela Bay, more than often we have days filled with sunshine that resemble summer; days that stand with their arms wide open holding up a sign saying, “Hey you, go explore!”
There’s so much to do within the borders of Nelson Mandela Bay, all right on your doorstep – whether you live in Port Elizabeth, Despatch or Uitenhage – so why not make weekend plans and head to the Sundays River?
The Sundays River – South Africa’s fastest flowing river – is situated in Colchester, about 40 km from Port Elizabeth’s city centre and is a haven of tranquility if you want to escape the city life, have an adventure and be surrounded by nature, beautiful views and huge sand dunes.
Boat cruises on the Sundays River is a relaxing and memorable way to explore the river, its dunes and birdlife, up close and personal. Sundays River Adventures as well as Sundays River Ferry (Addo Cruises) offer cruises, from 90 minutes to 3 hours, and you even have the option of on-board catering or you can bring your own picnic basket.
Wax on, wax off and join Sundays River Adventures for a 3-hour sandboarding adventure that will take you to the top of some of the highest and biggest dunes in the Eastern Cape, only to slide down it again while being strapped into a sandboard. It’s a thrill!
Sundays River Ferry (Addo Cruises) offers the perfect outdoor activity… sand sledding! They say, “Sand sledding is sand boarding with a difference” and it can be enjoyed throughout the year, by young and old, no experience necessary. This is guaranteed fun and no wonder the ASS Boards used for sand sledding are up for sale, you go down the dune once and get hooked forever.
Are you an avid birder? Well bring your binoculars along because more than 400 species have been recorded in the area of the Sundays River and the bordering Addo Elephant National Park! Bird watching can be done while on a river cruise or just by walking along the river banks and being in the area.
Bring the rods and the bait! The Sundays River is known to produce very big Cob, Spotted Grunter and Leerie; you can either fish from a boat, a canoe, a jetty or from the shore.
Hiking Mountain Biking
Pack in your hiking boots or your mountain bike as you explore the Colchester area on the nature walks and trails of Pearson Park Resort; the resort has a road that runs along the river bank all the way to the river mouth and it offers easy access to the beach.
Why not hire a quad bike and explore one of the local bush trails with a guided tour by Sundays River Mouth Quad Bike Adventures? There are various routes, clearly marked and mapped out.
Grab an oar and paddle! Canoes available for rent from Pearson Park Resort.
Want to dip your toes in the water and have some fun in the sun? Sundays River Adventures offer water skiing, wakeboarding and tubing for those ready for a daring adventure.
Pack a picnic basket, and have a braai on the banks of the Sundays River at Pearson Park Resort.
Pearson Park Resort has 150 shady stands for caravans and tents (48 sites have electricity) and there’s also a children’s playground, a jungle gym, sand pit, a game room with darts, pool table and table tennis and a volley ball court (with entertainment for kids during the high season). Camping rates start at R295 for the first two and there’s also huts available that can sleep 2 to 6 people. Day visitors also welcome.
Nukakamma Canoe Trail
The Nukakamma overnight canoe trail is the only Green Flag status canoe trail in South Africa and offer adventurers three options to choose from, ranging from a total of 26 km to more than 47 km with an overnight hut, hundreds of bird species and the possibility of catching a jumping mullet by simply just being on the river in your canoe.
Grab a bite
Get something to eat at A Taste of Africa, a restaurant and coffee shop in Colchester offering delicious meals, great coffee and a selection of homemade goodies. Just five minutes from Colchester you’ll find Nanaga Farm Stall where you can stock up on pies and roosterkoek.
Less than 5 km from Colchester is the Mathyolweni Gate and entrance of Addo Elephant National Park if you feel like combining your river adventures with a bit of wildlife. The park also offers picnic facilities (at the main rest camp area and within the game viewing area) and a restaurant.