Port Elizabeth: a weekend guide


By John Edwards

Photography by Michael Jung/Shutterstock

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Novembro, 2016

Com praias premiadas e um estilo de vida tipicamente descontraído, a cidade da África do Sul conhecida como "cidade amigável" não podia ser mais amigável. No entanto, Port Elizabeth, ou PE como é conhecida pelos habitantes locais, está a passar por um período de renovação urbana e várias áreas históricas tornaram-se nos novos lugares do momento. Não tem mais dias de férias? Não há problema. Aqui ficam dicas de como passar 48 horas fantásticas na cidade.

sexta-feira

Evening – Make your escape

British Airways’ scheduled flight leaves Johannesburg at 18:00 and arrives in Port Elizabeth at 19:40. Hire a car and you’ll be in the beachfront areas of Humewood and Summerstrand just five minutes after leaving the airport. The Boardwalk Hotel is where you want to check in – it’s centrally located and with a host of restaurants, bars and shops, it’s a destination in its own right. Close by, Radisson Blu is another excellent base – think ocean vistas from every room.

Pollock (or ‘Pipe’ as it’s known) is a surfing hotspot – and it’s where the young and beautiful like to strut their stuff

20:00 – Seafood, sea views

The beachfront’s restaurants and bars buzz at the weekend, so be sure to book ahead to bag a table view. The Blue Waters Café is perennially popular – order the fresh linefish and finish up with a guilty treat (the Lindt phyllo truffles are legendary). The adjoining Barney’s Tavern has a live band on hand and rocks until the early hours. Pop in for a nightcap, but don’t make it a late one – there’s a busy weekend in store for you.

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  • Shark Rock Pier off Port Elizabeth’s boardwalk on Hobie Beach is a favourite meeting – and people-watching spot – for locals. © Hongqi Zhang/123rf

    Just keep swimming

    The multitude of small reefs just a short swim from the pier make the area a popular place for scuba divers. Grab your gear and keep your eyes peeled for yellow-bellied rock cod, rays, sandsharks and catfish.

    Explore Port Elizabeth
  • Fresh and zingy Asian-inspired tapas at Port Elizabeth’s go-to restaurant, Fushin

    Experimente...

    Fushin serve up traditional Japanese style Kobe cooking with a blend of Fushin Style Tempura and Asian Tapas. Open every day, from 12:00 to 22:00, reservations are recommended.

    Faça uma reserva
  • Port Elizabeth known as the ‘bottlenose dolphin capital of the world’ – so regular sightings of pods in the bay are guaranteed © George Clerk/Getty Images

    Sea life

    Thanks to a unique permit, Raggy Charters can get closer to whales and dolphins than any other company (50m compared with 300m), and boasts a whale sighting success rate of 90 per cent.

    Go Whale watching

sábado

08:00 – Make a run for it

Join the locals on PE’s promenade and get the blood pumping with a ‘parkrun’ – a wildly popular five kilometre (and free) fun run on Saturday mornings, starting at Hobie Beach. You may see dolphins gliding through the waves close to shore. Afterwards, refuel at Something Good Roadhouse, a recently refurbished 1950s Port Elizabeth landmark overlooking Pollock Beach. Order the ‘Millers’ poached eggs with avocado, smoked salmon and cream cheese, and enjoy some people-watching. Pollock (or ‘Pipe’ as it’s known) is a surfing hotspot – and it’s where the young and beautiful like to strut their stuff.

10:00 – Surf’s up

Back at Hobie Beach, the recently upgraded Shark Rock Pier shares centre stage with the Boardwalk Hotel complex and is the gathering place for people to watch the swimmers and surfski paddlers out at sea. Take the plunge and go snorkelling or splash out on some ocean kayaking – hire gear at Pro Dive Watersport Centre. Advance booking is essential.

13:00 – Laidback lunch

PE’s essential charm is that it’s laidback and unassuming. The BeerShack exemplifies this ‘come as you are’ attitude and offers a range of craft beer without the pretention, paired with substantial burgers unofficially rated by locals as being the best on the block – order the beef burger topped with cheese and bacon, plus a side of zucchini fries and judge for yourself.

  • Lunch at The Chartroom in the harbour is, naturally, all about the fresh seafood

    Experimente...

    The Chatroom offers lunch and dinner with stunning views of the yachts in the marina. Open Tuesdays to Sundays.

    Reservar voos

15:00 – Peace out

After lunch, head southwards along Marine Drive to the nearby Cape Recife Nature Reserve. This wild deserted stretch of pristine beach and fynbos shrubbery is suitably tranquil after the hubbub of the beachfront, and is best explored on foot via a series of well-maintained trails. Observe the varied birdlife and seek out the World War II military observation post; you certainly won’t miss the black-and-white striped lighthouse, which rises up from the rocky shore with a wide blue sky as its backdrop.

20:00 – Sidewalk café culture

The quaint suburb of Richmond Hill is five minutes away from the beachfront. Packed with locals most nights of the week, Stanley Street’s distinctive sidewalk café culture provides a unique snapshot of PE’s diverse society. Restaurants come and go but the stalwart on the strip is Fushin, which serves Asian food with a twist. Try the New York uramaki, a California-style roll crammed with fresh tuna and avocado and topped with tempura prawns. Finish off with something sweet with at Salt – the ‘chocolate jar’ is a popular choice. More of an adult milkshake, it combines chocolate milk liqueur and vodka.

domingo

08:00 – Wild thing

Port Elizabeth is dubbed ‘the bottlenose dolphin capital of the world’, and while you’ll probably spot numerous pods in the bay, the best way to see them up close is on a wildlife sea cruise. Raggy Charters offers a three-hour expedition, which sets off from Algoa Bay Yacht Club at 08:30, during which you might get to see all or at least some of the following marine species in their natural habitat: dolphins, whales, sharks and penguins. Book in advance to guarantee a place.

13:00 – Sunday lunch

There are plans in the pipeline for the development of a harbour waterfront precinct but this has yet to materialise. This doesn’t deter the locals from enjoying what is currently on offer at the harbour and Sunday lunch at the Chartroom Restaurant is something of an institution. Mingle with the yachting community at the bar or sit on the deck and enjoy the harbour views and ambience. Don’t miss trying one of their ‘seafood combos’ – the hake, calamari and prawn platter is one of their top sellers for good reason.

16:00 – Homeward bound

Your flight back to Johannesburg leaves at 18:05 and it’s only a short hop to the airport so there is still time for one last farewell stroll along the promenade. It’ll be hard to tear yourself away from those sea views, but you’ll be home before 20:00, refreshed and ready for the working week ahead.

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