BIRD ISLAND NEAR PORT ELIZABETH IN THE EASTERN CAPE
68 kms from Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, lies the St. Croix Island Group. This group is made up of St. Croix Island and the two smaller islets of Brenton and Jahleel that are situated nearby. St. Croix has an area of 12 hectares and it is composed of Table Mountain Sandstone. It is about 165 million years old.
The Bird Island Group is located on the eastern edge of Algoa Bay and consists of Bird, Stag, Seal and Black Rocks. Bird Island, which covers an area of 10 hectares, is only 9 meters above sea level, has a lighthouse that has been manned since 1852.
ADDO ELEPHANT PARK IN THE EASTERN CAPE
Established in 1931 to save a handful of elephants, the Addo Elephant National park now conserves so much more-the unique biodiversity of the Eastern Cape region, inclding what was known as the “Big Five”but which is now known as the “Big 7”
The park is situated a half hour’s drive from the beachfront of Port Elizabeth and has expanded greatly to accommodate the ever-growing influx of tourists to South Africa who are keen to explore the Garden Route of South Africa and the diversity of wild life.
VAN STADENS BRIDGE NEAR PORT ELIZABETH : ONCE THE LONGEST BRIDGE IN SOUTH AFRICA
35 kms South of Port Elizabeth on the N2 freeway, lies The Van Staden’s Bridge. It was completed on 12 October 1971 and was the longest concrete arch bridge in South Africa and the sixth longest in the world at that time. It has a main span of 198 metres and is 125 metres above the gorge. The two halves of the bridge were constructed simultaneously from both sides. The bridge offers a fantastic view of the magnificent gorge, which is well worth a visit for visitors to the Eastern Cape on their way to the Garden Route.
Before the N2 freeway was constructed in the 1970’s, the main road from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town twisted and wound down the steep Van Staden’s Gorge offering breath-taking views of the mountains and the magnificent flora, which abounds.
SUPERTUBES: THE FINEST SURFING IN SOUTH AFRICA
In the Surfing fraternity, Supertubes has earned a reputation as the fastest breaking right hander in the world. Situated in the town of Jeffreys Bay, 70kms south of Port Elizabeth, at the gateway to the Garden Route, this has become the mecca for surfers worldwide. In the month of July each year the Billabong Pro contest is held at Supertubes Beach and attracts 10,000 spectators and worldwide TV coverage as the world’s top 44 surfers battle it out for prize money of over R3 million and precious points on the world surfing contest circuit. The near perfect waves break for up to a kilometre and peel down a rocky point at high speed in freezing cold water offering the thrill of a lifetime for surfing enthusiasts.
CAPE ST. FRANCIS LIGHTHOUSE
Cape St. Francis Bay lies about 100kms south of Port Elizabeth and has become a rich man’s dream village with its quaint white washed houses all with thatch or slate roofs. It has its own harbour which predominantly services the fleets of Squid boats. Ten kilometres away, lies a beautiful bay called Cape St. Francis Point. At the end of the rocky point stands a very old lighthouse, still in operation today to warn shipping along the Eastern Coast of South Africa.
Built in 1878, it has been declared a national monument.
A brand new centre for Penguin Rehabilitation has been constructed next to the lighthouse. The centre will service the area between Tsitsikamma and the Gamtoos River Mouth. Ajubatus Marine and Wildlife Rescue Services together with the Jeffreys Bay Penguin Rehabilitation Group have put in a lot of time and effort to make this dream a reality. There is also a coffee shop for tourists to the Eastern Cape and an educational centre.
JEFFREYS BAY IN THE EASTERN CAPE
The Founder Of Jeffreys Bay was Joseph Avent Jeffery who captained a trading ship along the East Coast of South Africa between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth in the mid 1800’s. Legend has it that on one of these trips, there was an outbreak of scurvy on board ship and Captain Jeffreys was forced to land in order to find fresh water and vegetables. He landed on what is today the main beach of Jeffreys Bay and subsequently moved there with his family. The village named in his honour - Jeffreys Bay.
In 1849 Joseph Avent Jeffery erected a wood and iron warehouse near the Kabeljouws River - this is recorded as being the first place of business to open on the shores near what is today Jeffreys Bay.
MODERN DAY JEFFREYS BAY: SURFING MECCA IN THE EASTERN CAPE
The legend of South Africa’s premier surfing kingdom began many years ago in the 1960’s when the little town first became a place of pilgrimage for surfers searching for the perfect wave.
By 2008 the little town has undergone an explosion of growth. International surfing contests offering R3,000,000 in prize money see the contestants pitting their skills against the world’s best surf stars. The ocean has always been the heart of Jeffreys Bay and always will be.
Once a sleepy seaside town, Jeffreys Bay now boasts the biggest shoppig mall between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town and the town is transformed into a maze of high-rise accommodation blocks and holiday homes for the rich.
Port Elizabeth’s weather is rated as the fourth best climate of any coastal city in the world.
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3 October 2012 7:51