You might moan a bit when you live there. Tssk. You may have hankered to be elsewhere, in greener pastures or more fashionable fields. But it’s only when you are an uncomfortable travel distance away from Port Elizabeth that you realize you took a few things for granted and overlooked a couple of gems that were right under your nose. Here are seven things I’m now sadly too far away to plan for a weekend.
- Addo Elephant National Park. The big five at affordable rates? Sorry, that’s not five anymore, it’s the big seven, as the park runs down to the beach where (over and above the leopard, lion, elephant, rhino and buffalo, you will find the southern right whale and the great white shark.) I am sorry we only went once or twice. What I would do now for an hours drive to a big five game park.
- The National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. I went once. To the ballet. I saw my breath in the icy cold theatre, but it was lovely. I hate craft markets but I could have booked for events. I have no idea why I didn’t go again.
- The J-Bay Open. Okay, I went once and the waves weren’t working so they didn’t run the contest that day. And another time we went when our daughter had just learned to walk and I ran up and down those boardwalks trying to catch her. But the other 25 bazillion years that I lived there? I’m not sure.
- Nieu Bethesda. I desperately want to go there and experience Helen Martin’s Owl House (there’s only so much a YouTube tour can show you.) I want to go the brewery and the bookstore. (It’s called Dustcovers Bookshop. In the meantime, follow them on Instagram HERE They post very cool pics.) I also want to see the water furrows and the art and the Compassberg. And now it’s a seven hour drive instead of three. ganora.co.za
- The Alexandria Hiking Trail. I hiked the Tstiskamma, Outeniqua and the Otter Trails when I lived nearby, but never the one in the largest duneveld in the Southern Hemisphere.
- Surf lessons It would be bliss to learn to surf in the kind waves of Algoa Bay. Cape Town is cold and sharky and the waves break pretty far out. I dabbled a little in the waves at Kings Beach, but I often have beautiful dreams of Stand Up Paddling in the lovely gentle waters of the bay. 1000lonelyplaces.com
- Baviaanskloof This 200km valley lies at a lower altitude to the Karoo in the north, so is lush and green, but is also a little remote and cut off from the world. (read: relaxing) No cellphone reception, no banks, no fuel (a little like Nieu Bethesda) Sadly, I’ve never ever been there. I know. My loss. There are trail runs, places of historical interest, hikes, four by four trails, and the most beautiful wilderness panoramas. What was I thinking?
Do you have anything to add to the list? If you do live there, take advantage! Let me know your favorites weekend getaways in the Eastern Cape.
If you don’t live there, perhaps you have also moved away? You, like me, will have to start planning that road trip.