The entrance to the Bay World complex in Port Elizabeth.



Port Elizabeth - Bayworld

Bayworld is almost certainly one of Port Elizabeth’s favourite institutions. Affectionately referred to as “The Oceanarium” by many of the locals, Bayworld was constructed in the 1950’s and remains firm in the memory of many generations. This venue combines a fun family experience with an informative look into the history and lives of the South African fauna, flora and culture.

Visitors are encouraged to visit the seal pool, where a colony of Cape Fur seals and a Sub Antarctic seal share their home with a comedic group of penguins. There are several penguin pairs that breed each year.

There is also the 900 000 litre fish tank, home to many exotic breeds of fish, including an impressive Ragged Tooth shark and several smaller breeds of shark. A tropical tank is opposite this large tank, and boasts an array of brightly-coloured fish, starfish, octopi, turtles and seahorses.

The Museum caters for all ages, and all members of the family. The life-sized dinosaur towers over its audience, while Bushmen stare back at eager eyes. Clothes design through the 20th Century is a charming look into yesteryear, and the routes taken by spice traders reveals much of the South African history. Other displays include Xhosa beadwork, natural science, archaeology, and geology. Over the years, the Museum has remained a famous venue for school outings due to this wide array of displays and themes.

Favourite exhibits include the 15m skeleton of the last Southern Right whale (harpooned in Nelson Mandela Bay), a replica of the Dias Cross, and a 5m bronze cannon from 1640, recovered from a shipwreck near Port Elizabeth.

Snakes and crocodiles unknowingly share their recently-reopened premises at The Snake Park with meerkats, a particularly cute species that occurs naturally in most areas of South Africa. Other neighbours include geckos, lizards, tortoises and terrapins. A tour of the Tropical House is an enlightening peek into the natural environment of an authentic jungle or forest, and flamingoes, crocodiles, and owls all add to the experience.

Special interest tours can be arranged on prior enquiry with management.

Amenities at Bayworld cater for the physically challenged visitors, and most areas of the Oceanarium and Snake Park are also accessible via wheelchairs. These amenities include the Starfish Café, which serves breakfast, salads, and light lunches, as well as an indulgent choice of desserts. Alternatively, a tuck shop is also available for visitors. Guests are assured of their car’s safety during their visit to Bayworld.

The displays and resident animals have gradually grown to being one of the most extensive and, as such, offer fantastic opportunities for adults and children alike to enjoy one of the most historically and culturally extensive experiences for corporate guests, leisure travellers or, indeed, local Port Elizabeth residents.

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