Palm trees in St Georges Park.

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Port Port Elizabeth - Parks and Gardens

The Nelson Mandela Metro enjoys relatively moderate weather all year around and, therefore, boasts lush, healthy vegetation, even within the city centre and suburbs. For this reason, there are several venues in and around Port Elizabeth that allow for walks and picnics in gorgeous parks, gardens and reserves. We have outlined just a few.

Cape Recife Nature Reserve measures a total of 366 hectares and consists of a 9km walk along the pristine beaches of the Eastern Cape. Port Elizabeth is known the world over for having clean, safe beaches. The 9km walkway is along this spectacular shoreline, where soft, white sand is dampened by the warm waters of the salty Eastern Cape waters. This reserve offers access to the vegetation that naturally occurs on the sand dunes, as well as that in the rocks further away from the water’s edge.

Donkin Reserve - The stone pyramid in the centre of a PE suburb is set in the park-like surrounds of the Donkin Reserve, affectionately known as “The Donkin” to PE residents. This open park was inaugurated by Sir Rufane Donkin and, to this day, PE residents enjoy the tranquil surrounds and spectacular views of the ocean. Wide open, grassy areas allow for the ideal picnic spots, right in the centre of the Nelson Mandela Bay. Directly opposite the Donkin Reserve is the traditional old Edward Hotel. Here, comfortable rooms are complimented by superior buffets. This is also the venue for many large events or wedding receptions.

St George’s Park is the oldest park in PE, and a popular venue for couples on their wedding day. This is largely because of its lush, abundant vegetation, but the park also boasts quaint wooden bridges and a gazebo, as well as an old-world greenhouse. The gardens are peppered with fishponds, home to a number of brightly-coloured fish and water-dependent reeds and lilies. St George’s Park is also famous for the cricket grounds, where local and international games frequent the arena and get the PE crowds leaping out of their seats. Another feature of the park is the monthly “Art in the Park”, a convergence of arts and crafts stalls where folk can buy antiques, food, second-hand books, furniture, and even clothes, all set within the beautiful surrounds of the park. The children’s play area consists of swings, a life-size wooden ox wagon, and several other innovative activities. An Olympic-sized swimming pool with three diving boards is also available inside the park, adjacent to a warm kiddies’ pool. A tea garden is a welcome retreat during the warm South African summers.

Settler’s Valley runs through many Port Elizabeth suburbs, and is home to a diversity of small animals (such as meerkats, rock rabbits, tortoises and many birds) and plants. Pathways have been etched into the tall grasses, and these are perfect for a refreshing walk or cycle through the valley.

The natural beauty of Port Elizabeth is apparent, whether on the gorgeous coastline or in the lush suburbs. Parks and gardens are set amidst these idyllic conditions, and act as testimony to the rich environmental value of the area.