Searching for the perfect picnic spot for a day of fun in Port Elizabeth is not a tough task. A romantic picnic for two or a fun filled family picnic is the ideal activity to enjoy on a sunny day in the Bay. Choice of views, the environment and even possible accompanying activities are ample. Being able to picnic among the Big 5 or with views of the Southern Right Whale is a great privilege for residents and visitors to Nelson Mandela Bay. Being a destination with such a moderate climate it allows us to enjoy picnics on even sunny winter days as well. Picnics are an awesome activity that can be enjoyed no matter what the budget and provide much needed quality time with friends and family.
Fly a kite along the golden beaches in Nelson Mandela Bay
The beaches and the view of the ocean is a must experience in Port Elizabeth and provide ideal picnic areas to enjoy. Fly a kite along the 40km of golden a sandy beaches or enjoy viewing the Southern Right Whales and pods of dolphins from the shores of the Sacramento Trail. This is truly an experience that feeds ones soul and not only the picnic munchers tummy’s.
Explore the Sacramento Hiking trail with stunning views out into the ocean.
Schoenmakerskop has picturesque picnic areas and this is an ideal location for photography while enjoying a picnic while the rock pools surrounding the area provide loads of fun for the kids to splash around in and explore. Sardinia Bay is a very popular beach that has picnic facilities and is regarded as one of the best walking and horse riding beaches with miles of unspoiled coastline.
Along the coast of Nelson Mandela Bay picnic while watching the gentle giants of the ocean – whale watching
Compromising of 366 hectares, Cape Recife Nature Reserve is a really inspirational space to spend time in as well. There is a 9km hike to enjoy before settling down for all the tasty picnic snacks. Here one can really enjoy unspoilt beaches as well as natural dune vegetation. A popular time to visit the reserve is also around the time of sunset which allows photographers to capture exquisite images alongside the lighthouse that was built in 1851. This is a perfect romantic picnic spot for two but if the family do join you can all explore the bird hide to view a variety of bird species as well as the old military post situated there.
Cape Recife Nature and Lighthouse provides beautiful photographic opportunities
As for checking out a gentle giant or heard of buffalo while munching on a celery stick for the health concious or allowing that rib sauce to drip down your chin for the not so healthy while in amazement because a giraffe is checking out your cheese platter is just for real one of the best African experiences. How lucky are we to have picnics among wildlife? There are many areas that allow safe picnics among the Big 5 and these include Kwantu Game Reserve who through prior bookings will prepare you a gourmet picnic; also Kuzuko Lodge offers a magnificent day excursion that one can experience while utilising the Nelson Mandela Bay Pass and Addo Elephant Back Safari Lodge offers picnics with gentle giant visitors. The Nelson Mandela Bay Pass Card also allows entry for day visitors into Addo Elephant National Park and here you can enjoy a picnic and braai area overlooking the waterhole at the rest camp. This is true bush picnic in fresh country air, monkeys and all.
Picnic among the Big 5 at various private game lodges who will pack a scrumptious basket
Gourmet picnics should be on everyone’s bucket list to enjoy at least once. Thunzi Bush Lodge offers the experience through packaging the picnic basket for you whilst removing all the stress and fuss for the experience.The entire experience is taken care of for you to enjoy from laid out blankets, cushions, wine glasses, napkins and more. Not to mention the delightful treats you could find in the basket where you have a choice of cold meats, salads, meats, cheeses and more. The decadent sweet treats are a must and they range from apple crumble, milk tart and the ever popular yummy chocolate brownie.
Gourmet picnic baskets to accompany perfect picnic spots such as with the Thunizi Lodge picnic experience
Should you wish to pack your own gourmet picnic basket why not visit the Valley Market on the first Saturday of every month. Choose your picnic spread to pack into your basket at the market and then choose your ideal picnic spot to chill and enjoy your artisan treats and bakes. Perhaps make a day of it and give each family member a budget to make a purchase at the market. Once you reach the picnic spot then reveal the purchase to share in a picnic of surprise treats.
Valley Market provides great a shopping experience to stock up your picnic basket
Nature Reserves are always popular to explore, hike and follow up with a picnic. There are many reserves located in and around the city such as Settler’s Park, Van Staden’s Wild Flower Reserve, The Cape Recife Nature Reserve, Maitlands Nature Reserve, The Island Nature Reserve, Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area and Groendal Wilderness Area. These provide great opportunities to experience the local biomes, flaura and fauna. Nelson Mandela Bay is fortunate to have six of the major converging biomes.
Van Stadens is an ideal spot for nature enthusiasts
The Island Nature Reserve is a popular spot to combine picnics and hikes
The Biomes are:
The Savannah Biome, which includes the valley bushveld flora of the summer rainfall area,
The Fynbos Biome characterised by a winter rainfall,
The Grassland Biome, which includes Flora of higher altitudes,
The Succulent-Karoo Biome with its Flora flourishing under arid and semi-arid conditions,
The Thornfelt-Karoo Biome and the Indigenous Forest Biome.
The Donkin Reserve along Route 67 is great area for friends to converge.
Urban Regeneration is taking place in Nelson Mandela Bay allowing for many ideal picnic spots. For those who miss the feel of a concrete jungle accompanied by the benefits of small city fresh air and living, the Donkin Reserve is surrounded by artworks of Route 67 and is an ideal picnic spot even if it is for a quick midday lunch picnic during work. Route 67 is a great route to explore before or after the picnic and incorporates 67 pieces of art to view that symbolises the 67 years that Madiba dedicated to the struggle for freedom. It has also become a place of unity for locals where mass picnics in aid of a good causes take place. This is a great experience to participate and be part of right under the huge South African Flag. Another upgraded area is the Kings Beach Park and lake area. Here there is plenty to keep kids entertained from a play park area as well as a skate park and bicycle routes surrounding a stunning lake.
St Georges Park, the cities gem that caters for the entire family to enjoy
Another firm favourite among old and young is St Georges Park which is situated in the centre of the city providing peace and tranquillity among the green surroundings. Ideal for a day out just to laze with a newspaper or a good book. The park has a variety of facilities to enjoy and explore and these include the Pearson Conservatory, a play park for the children as well as sporting facilities. A fun time to visit St Georges Park is the last Sunday of every month when Art in the Park takes place. One is able to spend a good few hours going through a variety of stalls. For those that have not packed a picnic the food and beverage vendors will be happy to sell you some snacks to enjoy a convenient picnic with no fuss.
A picnic is an experience to be shared and enjoyed by all
We are definitely spoilt for choice as to picnic locations in the Bay. So many beautiful spots with unique experiences from wildlife sightings and beach picnics to lazy days or high impact activities to explore. The only challenge that remains to be explored for next time is what do you like in your picnic basket?