Loads of waterside action awaits Nelson Mandela Bay residents at this year’s PEople’s Port Festival to be hosted by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) at the Port Elizabeth harbour on 1 and 2 December 2018.
Port Manager, Rajesh Dana, said: “Throughout the weekend, there will be an array of unique ocean-focused experiences available for festivalgoers to enjoy. The festival is free to attend and will allow the community to witness port operations and marine wonders up close. It’s not just about our cargo and equipment but about the role of the port in supporting a number of other industries connected to our oceans, such as tourism and leisure, ship repair, angling and fisheries, and many more.”
One of the leading tourist attractions in Nelson Mandela Bay, Bayworld Oceanarium, will once again have an exciting interactive area for the whole family to experience the spectacle of coastal and marine life.
Also returning this year is the unique and thrilling sharks feature which will include virtual reality shark cage diving, a ‘sharks of the movies’ poster display wall and display items including a 3-metre-long robotic shark and prehistoric shark jaw, as well as fun elements such as a shark-themed photo board and a baby shark dance area.
Dana said this year’s PEople’s Port Festival would strive to be a plastic-free event in order to address the scourge of plastic pollution which continues to be a threat to our ocean life. Global experts have estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans.
Ship and port bus tours will be on offer throughout the festival weekend. The South African Navy has confirmed it will have at least one vessel available for free tours and demonstrations. The public will also be able to board a Transnet tug and can look forward to port operations displays, ferry rides, yachting and ‘tug boat ballet’ demonstrations. Two of the port’s newest tugs, MVEZO and QUNU, were named in honour of the late former President Nelson Mandela, whose centenary is being celebrated under the PEople’s Port Festival 2018 theme.
Maritime industry role players such as the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the South African Navy will be participating in the festival’s Oceans Economy Careers Exhibition, which will allow youngsters and parents the opportunity to learn more about career, study and bursary opportunities in the maritime industry.
TNPA has confirmed a cruise vessel will be in port that weekend and has secured the iconic SA Agulhas training ship and former polar research vessel for school tours in November in the lead-up to the festival and for public viewing at the festival.
The NSRI will host sea rescue demonstrations and there will be a selection of watersport activities on offer.
The event promises a wide range of family-friendly port experiences for the Nelson Mandela Bay community. TNPA’s port festivals aim to deliver on the port landlord’s important underlying strategic focus of raising awareness of the ports, including the career and business opportunities they represent.
Entrance to the PEople’s Port Festival will be via Baakens Street and the Campanile entrance. There will be plenty of free parking available, with hop-on-hop-off buses running between the parking areas and the festival activities, thanks to the generous support of Blunden’s Coach Tours.
Gates open at 10am to 10pm on Saturday 1 December and 10am – 4pm on Sunday 2 December.
Festival entry and most of the activities are free, with only a few requiring a nominal ticket purchase directly from these vendors. The festival area will be a pedestrian only zone and shuttles will be available from the designated parking areas.
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