By Amelia Meyer
Port Elizabeth Hiking
Port Elizabeth, part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, is ideally situated for a number of sporting activities; with a long coastline, towering sand dunes, and fairly low mountain ranges all around. This topography makes for fabulous hiking; whether it is a slow amble along the coastal trails or a more challenging hike over rocky faces.
Some of the best known and loved trails are:
The Otter Trail
This is recognised as being one of the top hiking trails in the country. It is a 5-day trail covering 42.5 kilometres, beginning at Storms River Mouth and ending in Nature’s Valley. This hike is suitable for seasoned hikers, and not beginners. Along this trail, beautiful ocean vistas, waterfalls and rocky outcrops make the challenge of the hike worthwhile.
The Sacramento Trail
This trail is 8 kilometres long and winds through the stunning Sardinia Bay Nature Reserve. It is ideal for families, groups and individuals wanting to experience the excitement of hiking without committing to an overnight stay or life without the little luxuries of hot water and cellphone reception.
The Trail of the Roseate Tern
This trail is situated within the Cape Recife Nature Reserve, which covers a total of 370 hectares. It is a relatively easy trail, running along the beach and extending for only 9 kilometres. As its name implies, there is a prolific birdlife to be spotted, as well as outstanding vegetation, providing a gorgeous backdrop.
The Lower Guinea-Fowl Trail
This 7.5 kilometre long trail runs through the valley that bisects the city of Port Elizabeth, making it easy to access and convenient for day-trippers. It extends from the Third Avenue Dip in Glen Hurd to Settlers Park.
The Upper Guinea-Fowl Trail
Also starting at the Third Avenue Dip in Glen Hurd, this trail extends in the opposite direction into Sunridge Park. It is 6 kilometres long.
The Aloe Trail
There are two options on the Aloe Trail – a short hike of 2 kilometres and a long one that is 7 kilometres. This trail starts in Tippers Creek Road between Amsterdamhoek and Bluewater Bay, and takes the hiker along the escarpment.
The Bushbuck Day Walk
This 23.3 kilometre hike takes two days to complete, and only goes in one direction (transportation back is made available upon your completion of the hike, though). It is characterised by the natural splendour of both the dense forests and the exquisite coastline.
The Doringkloof Hike
This trail is actually just outside Port Elizabeth, within the Zuurberg Mountain Range. It is only 4.5 kilometres long and takes the hiker through enchanting mountains, streams and forests as they walk alongside awesome waterfalls.
The following items are essential on any hike:
•Mosquito / insect repellent
•Plenty of clean drinking water
•Sunscreen and sunglasses
•Warm and cool clothing options
•A First Aid kit
•A map and compass
•A cellular phone (or another way to contact people in case of an accident)
•A sharp, sturdy knife
Here is a local Port Elizabeth Hiking Club, Voetsac Hiking Club contact details:
R Holmes – e mail – firstname.lastname@example.org or phone land line 041 365 0996 or
cell 082 374 9227
Here is a link to the Nelson Mandela Bay Touism web site where you can download maps for hiking trails: http://www.nmbt.co.za/downloads.html