There’s many things that I have shared on this blog, or maybe over shared.
Definitely over shared.
But something you may not know about me yet, is that my Dad grew up in Port Elizabeth. That said, the place doesn’t hold any more value to me than that. A name from a history that is technically not my own. We’d never taken trips there as a family when we were growing up to see it with him. And although Seth and I ventured there for a day when we were last in Jeffrey’s Bay many moons ago, it didn’t cement it in my mind as a place we had to visit.
However, fellow blogger and family adventure lover Sarah from Chasing The Rainbow offered to host us for a couple nights at their amazing accommodation. The Plantation is an absolutely stunning wedding venue that makes me want to get married again! And because we can’t say no to gracious hospitality or the chance to explore a new place, we said thank you very much and joined them.
Look, I wouldn’t put Seth or myself into the box of extroverts, like ever. So meeting new people and connecting is stressful. It just is. Wondering whether your kids are going to act like total chops in front of everyone or if you’re going to say something stupid to make them wonder why they bothered. But we felt right at home with Sarah and her family and it was really great sharing a meal with them and swoping stories about travelling the country. Although it was more like listening to stories as we had only been on the road a couple weeks and didn’t have much to share. It was so lovely to hear their tips and make mental notes of all the places to see and things to avoid.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism also gifted us with some really cool merch and Nelson Mandela Bay Passes. Did you know that you could get those? Yup. I know a few people who are actually from the area that didn’t know you could get them. Anyway, there are a few different options but the cool thing is that it gives you access to a range of different experiences for free or a greatly discounted price.
We dedicated our entire day to exploring the city and using our passes. Our first stop was Holmleigh Farmyard where you got free access to the animals, feed for the animals and a free brekkie. Yes please! It was so worth the trip – we fed pigs and steered clear of ostriches that just freak us out a little, Seth more so than anyone else. The kids ran around like crazy and played on every piece of jungle gym there was.
After that we had to head into the CBD area to take a picture at the infamous pier. Apparently this is one of the places that you have to check off your list. So we took a picture at the end, marvelling at the people in their wet suits swimming around the bottom. Then we took one from the beach to give you more of an idea of what it looks like from the side. For some strange reason, I don’t have the second one loaded on my PC, so you’re just going to have to check it out on our Instagram.
Day 18 – Port Elizabeth 1. Today was Madibas birthday, so how fitting that we were in @nelsonmandelabay to celebrate? It’s almost like we planned it (but we totally didn’t because that would take like, forethought and planning which we haven’t had time for yet). 2. We started the morning out at Holmleigh Farmyard and used our Nelson Mandela Bay pass to get us in for free, plus free animal food and a breakfast each. Winning! 3. Then we headed down to the Shark Rock Pier because you haven’t actually been to PE without a stop there ? 4. In all the pictures of PE I always see the Nelson Mandela voting line sculpture and so we went on a quest to find it. We also found a lighthouse and climbed to the top. It was amazing! Such a spectacular view. Imagine it at sunset ?? and only R10 for adults and R5 for kids. (But they let us in for free because of Mandela Day ?) 5. We used our pass again to go to Valley Crag Indoor Climbing and got a day free pass there. It was awesome. I’ve never done anything like this before and it was really worth a visit to test out your skills and make you realize how unfit you are. Plus when you are there, check the warehouse next to it!! So many beautiful shops filled with hand crafted things. Man, I was so tempted to buy everything, it was just right up our alley in terms of the vibe and everything. 6. In time for supper we grabbed some food to head down to the dunes at Sardinia Bay to watch the sunset – but we missed it. So we headed home and had some story time instead. 7. Realised today that my Dad actually grew up in PE, so even though we’ve never really been here with him, it’s part of my roots! 8. For those of you who are around and potentially want to meet up, I’m having coffee with some friends at 9am tomorrow. DM me directly for details if you want to join us. 9. It’s been so much more difficult to keep up with my blog than I thought it would be. When I open my laptop, I do real work, so I know I have a lot of posts to write. I’m hoping that Addo will give us a bit of space and time out to do those kinds of things. I know you probs don’t care, but in case you’re wondering or feeling like I’ve abandoned it, don’t worry.
Next on the list was the iconic Madiba voting statue, the mosaic tiled area, pyramid and the lighthouse. It was Madiba day when we were there (almost like we planned it!) and so there was a centenary flag that had been launched that morning. We should have paid to go up the lighthouse but because it was Madiba day they let us in for free which was pretty rad. A really cool view from the top!
Then we went to try and find somewhere to do laundry. This was more difficult that I anticipated. We eventually found one who wanted to be paid immediately. No problem, except we had no cash and they don’t take cards. We had to find an ATM, so we drove around aimlessly for a bit until we found one. As Seth was walking back to the car he was offered some coke. We laughed about it for ages. I’m not entirely sure why, but we found it quite funny.
After that it was time to put my arms and fear of heights to the test. I don’t think any of us have ever seriously tried rock climbing. Especially not free from ropes rock climbing but we headed to the the rock climbing gym to do just that. It was so much fun even though I have to say that I am so very unfit that my arms were shaking so badly near the end that I couldn’t even lift myself up anymore. The kids did so well, like little spidermen.
Seth was frustratingly good at it. So we made him do a difficult one which he did with an ease that made it even more frustrating that I couldn’t even get to the top of some of them. Aside from his height which is definitely an advantage, it’s obviously because he is totally ripped. I shouldn’t complain about that, so I won’t haha.
We tried to get back to Sardinia bay before the sun set but we just missed it, so we settled in to the accommodation and had hot chocolate instead. It was great!
The next morning I went out for coffee with some of my favourite Port Elizabeth bloggers! Ella from Just Ella Bella, Luchae from My Spreadsheet Brain, Odette from Confidently Insecure, Zaahida from Zaahida Joel and Sarah from Chasing The Rainbow. We went to Heritage Cafe and now that I’m sitting here writing this in the mountains of Lesotho with no decent coffee in sight, I am dreaming of going back here for a decent cuppa. It’s situated in an area that reminded me so much of the Bo Kaap back home. Really pretty. So pretty I wish I had my DSLR with me but at this point of the trip that was still to much to mentally tackle having to do.
It was so great to catch up with them and chat about blogs, life, parenting and the general insecurities that have us sharing from behind screens.
From there it was time to head to Addo Elephant Park. This was one of the places that I was so looking forward to visiting and it exceeded my expectations! More next time.
Day 19 – Port Elizabeth to Addo Elephant Park 1. Guys if there’s one thing you need to know, it’s that there is far more to do in PE than you think. We could easily have spent another week there acting like locals and visiting the best spots (we missed Sardinia Bay and that in an of itself makes me want to go back). #sharethebay 2. If you want to get married, have a conference or just want a break away in a fantastic location you need to go to The Plantation. @therainbowsa hosts this fantastic family run business AND they run an amazing family centered travel blog. You should totally check them out!! 3. I spent the morning at Heritage Cafe with some of my favourite PE bloggers – @odettejhr @luchae @justellabella @therainbowsa @zaahidajoel. A great spot to check out in an area that reminds me so much of the Bo Kaap! Plus lekker to catch up with everyone in person for a change! 4. The van got packed and we moved on to Addo. Wow it is absolutely incredible here. We had little monkeys chilling with us and this is our first ever game park experience. It’s the place I’ve been most excited to visit. 5. Tomorrow we’re going to do some school/work then head out for some drives. I’m so excited I could pop!! 6. What would we do without audio books!? We’ve been listening to Harry Potter and it has been life changing. I don’t have to strain my voice and read for an hour, plus my kids LOVE it. They are so calm and chill while they listen to it. It’s amazing. Any other Audible books to recommend? (for kids specifically) 7. I only included that picture of Riya because sometimes that’s exactly what we have to do. Fake a smile when actually all we want to do is hide in a corner in a ball. But it’s been great. I’m really starting to enjoy being on the road. Walking around the park today really gave me that feeling of being hugely blessed. 8. Making time to blog tonight so hit me with any questions you want me to chat about? 9. We’ve been traveling with the van and my little Figo and I’m so glad that we have the extra car. In fact I thank God for it every day. It gives us so much more access than we would have had in the van only. Yay for actually nailing something!