Bayworld is one of the leading tourist attractions in South Africa. Located in the heart of the Port Elizabeth beachfront, it embraces a huge Oceanarium, a Snake Park, and a natural and cultural museum. The complex provides a feast of entertainment and education to nearly 500,000 visitors a year.
The cultural and natural history museum is the third oldest in South Africa.
Research is one of the fundamental activities of the Port Elizabeth museum and includes the study of marine mammals, the gannet-breeding colony on Bird Island, marine prey/predator relationships.
The original fish tank of 750,000 litres was built in 1959 on the beachfront of Port Elizabeth and housed dolphins until 1968 when the massive dolphin lake was unveiled. The original tank is now the home of turtles, sharks, rays and a variety of large fish.
The Snake Park was established in 1919 in Port Elizabeth and was the first in Africa. It was first opened in Bird Street with an open pit display and moved to the Humewood premises on the beachfront in 1959. The closing of the park in its 86th year of operation for the first phase development of the new facility at Bayworld paves the way for a 21st Century Snake Park to be incorporated within the future Bayworld.
The Snake Park houses a wide variety of exotic and snakes indigenous to South Africa from tiny adders to massive pythons, all housed securely behind glass in landscaped enclosures.
THE APPLE EXPRESS TRAIN IN THE EASTERN CAPE
This is the longest narrow gauge railway in the world, known as the Port Elizabeth –Avontuur line at 177 miles or in today’s terms 284 kilometres.
Visitors are welcome to spend a relaxed day on a historic train ride from Port Elizabeth’s Humewood Road station to the villages of Thornhill (33 miles) or Loerie (43 miles)as well as longer trips to Patensie (69 miles) or Assegaaibosch (100 miles) crossing numerous streams and rivers in this unspoiled terrain. Classic steam locomotives pull historic wooden coaches to accommodate the day and weekend trippers..
THE GREAT TRAIN RACE FROM PORT ELIZABETH TO LOERIE
The initial idea of the Great Train Race stemmed from a University Rag gimmic in 1964 when athletes pitted their strength against a steam train that traveled from Grahamstown to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The Great Train Race commenced with humble beginnings in 1980, as 16 relay teams challenged the famous Apple Express train to a duel from Port Elizabeth to Loerie, a distance of 72 kilometres. An eight man University of Port Elizabeth team won the inaugural event in a time of 3hrs. 42min. 45sec. and beat the train.
SHARK ROCK PIER ON PORT ELIZABETH BEACHFRONT
Shark Rock Pier on the beachfront at Humewood in Port Elizabeth was built by the municipality in 1990 and it has become a focal point for visitors and beach lovers. The original idea was to build a groyne to stop sand erosion and to build up the beach. The problem was that in summer time the strong South Easterly winds would cause all the sand to be washed away. The pier has been successful and the sand erosion has been curbed and Humewood Beach continues to be one of the most popular of Port Elizabeth’s beaches
ST GEORGES PARK IN PORT ELIZABETH
St Georges Park, Port Elizabeth: The oldest park in Port Elizabeth and the site of the second oldest cricket club in the country, St George’s Park lies in the heart of Port Elizabeth, a tribute to the past and present day moments away from the noise of the city.
Many a picnic party - umbrellas, baskets and chairs in tow - takes place here and the Mannville Open Air Theatre and the art galleries add an artistic dimension that makes it attractive to visitors. During hot spells in the city, the St George’s Park Swimming Baths, that include an Olympic sized swimming pool with a diving board and a children’s pool, make for an interesting diversion away from the glorious beaches of the friendly city.
THE BOARDWALK ON THE BEACHFRONT OF PORT ELIZABETH
The Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World was opened to the public in December 2000 and no expense was spared by the developers, Emfuleni, in this spectacular beachfront development. To begin with there are two new sea-facing hotels, The Courtyard Suite and Road Lodge and these overlook Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth.
The sprawling public gardens were inspired by the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen and 500 palm trees, 857 texture plants and 112,000 shrubs were used to create a pleasing atmosphere for visitors to relax near the cascading fountains. A local sculptor, Keith Calder, was commissioned by The Boardwalk to create the mermaid and the 2 dolphins that form the heart of the fountains. As well as the 400 surveillance cameras there are 5 kms of lights comprising 25,000 light globes. This mini city reminds one of Disneyland in Florida. The complex is open 24 hours a day with 1456 free parking bays.
SEAVIEW GAME PARK
Just 15 minutes from Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, on the old Seaview Road lies a unique game and lion park ideally situated right on the coast which boasts some 60 lions including 7 very rare white lions of which there are only some 400 in existence throughout the world.
The owners, Rusty and Janice Gibb, have spent ten hard years building the park up and expanding it so that the public can enjoy a feast of game viewing. Once inside the park, one can cruise the sand roads that meander through the Eastern Cape bush to enjoy the sights of giraffe grazing, zebra and wildebeest and impala cantering in the fields, monkeys jumping from tree to tree teasing the animals below. Watch out for those shy animals such as duiker, grysbok and Bushbuck peeking at you from the pristine coastal bush.
RED LOCATION MUSEUM: A TRIBUTE TO FREEDOM FIGHTERS
A multi award winning museum in New Brighton in Port Elizabeth marks the site of the historic Red Location, Nelson Mandela Bay’s oldest township and one of the city’s most important heritage sites.
AIRSHOWS IN PORT ELIZABETH
During the 1960’s and the 1970’s airshows were held at the Port Elizabeth Airport every few years. Spectators used to flock from all over the Eastern Cape to watch the displays. The aircraft used by the South African Airforce both for combat and transportation gave an amazing exhibition for the public. Some of the fighter planes included Mirage jets, Buccaneer low-level bombers and the Impala series of fighter jets. The Lockheed Hercules was the biggest transportation aircraft of its time and the old Harvard fighter planes were being used as trainer planes.
Approximately 400 shipwrecks are to be found in and around Algoa Bay.
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3 October 2012 7:51