Tuesday, December 31, 2013

City sunset

2013 is on its last leg and nearly over so I thought a sunset over the city seen from the Port Elizabeth Harbour is the perfect last photo for the year.  If you're going out tonight please take it easy and be safe.  See you all next year.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Harmony of Nature on Route 67

The Harmony of Nature art piece in front of the Athenaeum is probably one of the most interesting art pieces on Route 67.  It uses an old optical technique used by master like Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo where a mosaic picture which looks distorted reflect perfectly in the metal pole in the middle of the picture.  The image contains natural symbols of the Eastern Cape like the Blue Crane and Protea. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sundays River view

Its peak holiday season so the Sundays River is probably packed with boats and holiday makers, very different from this sight I photographed a little while ago.  The Sundays River originated close to Nieu Bethesda north of Graaff Reinet in the Karoo and is said to be the fastest flowing river in South Africa.  Not too sure how they come to that conclusion.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Viewing elephants from the underground hide

The underground hide close to the Addo Elephant National Park's Main Restcamp waterhole is a great spot to watch elephants from when they visit.  You can get a lot closer to them than from the lookout with the only drawback the fact that you cut their feet and the edge of their trunks off because of the angle.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Humewood slipway from the sea

The Jester has opened up a whole new world of sightseeing in Port Elizabeth for those who don't have access to a boat to see the beachfront and city from the bay.  This is Humewood Beach with the old slipway pillars in the foreground and the Town Lodge Hotel in the back.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Flowers on the Fynbos Trail

I recently had an outing along the Fynbos Trail near Schoenmakerskop with a friend while planting some geocaches and snapped this picture of a bush of flowers.  Not exactly sure what it was or if its even supposed to grow naturally on the Wildside.  I just thought it makes for a nice scene.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the followers of Port Elizabeth Daily Photo and The Firefly Photo Files a Merry Christmas.  May your day be blessed by being surrounded by friends and family, gifts piled under the tree and a table groaning beneath a Christmas lunch (ours is cold meats and salads).  If this isn't the case, may it be blessed in many other ways.
The picture was taken at the Christmas Shop at the Moffet-on-Main Shopping Centre.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Father Christmas arrives tonight

Its Christmas Eve and Father Christmas is on his way.  Tonight children of all sizes will watch the sky to catch a glimpse of his flying sleigh.  Ears will be tuned just in case they hear bells outside.  Want to see where he is at the moment? Check out Google's Santa Tracker, best viewed on Google Chrome.  Oh yes, and don't forget to put out the milk and cookies.  Delivering a couple of billion gifts is thirsty work.
The picture was taken in the Christmas Shop in the Moffet-on-Main Shopping Centre.

Monday, December 23, 2013

St Mary's arch

The figure on the arch entrance way outside St Mary's Catholic Cathedral in the Port Elizabeth city centre

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The little tug that could

Everybody knows (I hope) the story of The Little Engine that could.  He of  "I—think—I—can, I—think—I—can" fame.  In this day and age where steam trains are becoming less and less one tends to wonder what else you can use as reference for that story.  Well, that is until you watch a harbour tug push and pull a humongous ship into position.  Now there's some inspiration for a more modern age story called The Little Tug that could

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Swartskops view

This is the view of the Swartkops River from the Flamingo Trail in the Zwartkops Nature Reserve.  Just beyond the river is the village of Redhouse with the Northern Areas visible in the background.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Sardinia Bay seen from the Sacramento Trail

Walking along the Sacramento Trail one can see the sand dunes of Sardinia Bay in the distance the whole time.  With about a kilometer to go the old Surf Lifesaving and ski boat club buildings come into view with the walkway over to the parking area.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ready, aim, squirt

Visiting Holmeleigh Farmyard isn't only about feeding the animals.  Kids also get to go on horse rides, tractor rides and see Queenie the cow being milked.  During the milking demonstration kids can also try their hand at milking as well.  Or as in this case, get the milk squirted directly into their mouths.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Snake Park demonstrations

The Port Elizabeth Museum at Bayworld is the third oldest museum in South Africa, while the Snake Park is the oldest of its kind in the world.  When the museum moved to premises in Bird Street in 1919 the complex opened the Snake Park with demonstrations by snake handler, Johannes, being a huge highlight.  He was reputed to have been bitten on average once a year for the 30 years he was on the staff and eventually died.  The Port Elizabeth Museum Complex (known as Bayworld) was opened in 1959 and included a new Snake Park.  The snake demonstrations continued and I remember going there as a child and seeing it.  Sadly that came to an end probably about two decades or so ago.

 After a recent revamp at Bayworld they started doing a limited snake demonstration daily at noon where visitors are given the opportunity to touch and handle non-venomous snakes.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holmeleigh Farm Christmas Party

Yesterday (Monday 16 December) the annual Holmeleigh Farmyard Christmas Party for underprivileged kids hosted by Holmeleigh Farm and Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism and supported by Bay FM 107.9Ocean Rock Entertainment and musician Wayne Kallis (with many more contributions) took place.  And what a party it was.  About 230 kids from 8 different schools, homes and charity organisations arrived to a full on party with everything you can expect from such. EVERYTHING! Did I mention there were 230 odd kids?  Exhausting for both them and us. 

 Once the kids arrived they were all taken on a tour of Holmeleigh Farm, learning about the animals and getting the opportunity to feed them.  I'm not sure who's watching whom here.
 On their return from the tour they got seated and received party packs and cold drinsk while opening the Christmas crackers on the tables.
This was followed by boerewors rolls and cupcakes for dessert with PS chocolates just to make sure they were on a sugar high when they left. *evil laugh*

Then Farther Christmas arrived with bags and boxes full of gifts.  Well done to everybody behind the scenes who sorted out all the gifts once the kids had arrived and we knew exactly who was there and who not, who came in who's place and that there were about 25 extra kids. Some people perform miracles on occations. Terry, Maryke and Michele did so yesterday morning.

Outside there were 5 jumping castles waiting and soccer balls for all the groups to take back with them.  There may have been a couple of these kids that passed out before the sun even touched the horizon last night.

My favorite photo of the day

Monday, December 16, 2013

Downtown PE from the harbour

A slightly different view of downtown Port Elizabeth
 seen from on board of the Jester in the PE Harbour

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Great South African Flag

Over the last ten days since the death of Nelson Mandela, all South African flags, including the Great Flag on the Donkin Reserve, have been flying at half mast.  Today (Sunday 15 Dec) Madiba was buried in his home town of Qunu in the Eastern Cape which means all flags will be fully hoisted from tomorrow on again.  The Great Flag forms part of Route 67 and flies on top of the tallest flag pole in South Africa.  At 65 meters tall the pole is the second tallest in Africa, shorter only than a flag pole in Angola.  The flag flying at its top is the biggest South African flag in the world, measuring 10 meters by 15 meters, nearly the size of a tennis court.  Looking at it like this it doesn't look that big until you realise that there are two people standing close to the pole's base

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Science Centre bridge

The Nelson Mandela Bay Science and Technology Centre in Uitenhage is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered by young and old.  Since its opening many schools and individuals have enjoyed the different activities and scientific experiments visitors can participate in but this has really only been a drop in the ocean compared to the potential the centre has.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Bridge Street's bar

I've never been a very big drinker.  Never have been and never will be.  Doesn't mean I don't enjoy a nice cold one every now and then.  Particularly one of Bridge Street Brewery's Celtic Cross Pilsners which comes out of one of those taps on the left hand side. *smiley face*

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sailing to the dunes

With the onset of the summer holidays the Sundays River around Colchester is about to become a very busy place.  Fishing, paddling, boating, relaxing, water skiing, floating, swimming, you name it.  The last time I went down the Sundays River on the Sundays River Ferry was a nice quiet weekday while it was school so there were only one or two other boats on the river that day.  Here the ferry stops at it's turning point to give visitors the opportunity to climb the Colchester sand dunes for a beautiful view towards the river mouth and across Algoa Bat towards Port Elizabeth.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Shisa Nyama at Chilleks

The word shisa nyama means burned meat in Zulu and a Shisa Nyama refers to a township restaurant or tavern where they serve mainly braaivleis (barbequed meat for those who don't know what a braai is).  In most case the Shisa Nyama will have a butchery attached to it so you have a choice of ordering whatever off the menu or choose your meat from the fridge before it gets braai'd by the establishment's braaimaster for you. Everybody knows Shisa Nyamas like Mzoli's Place in Cape Town, Panyaza in Soweto and Max's in Durban, but at the recent Nando's Shisa Nyama Championship a Port Elizabeth establishment kicked dust in all the big boys eyes, walking away with the honours.  I've been to Chilleks in Walmer Township a couple of times before and I can vouch for their food.  These guys know how to braai.  They may not be as big or busy as Mzoli's but you are assured of getting good shisa nyama.  My last visit was with a group of travel bloggers and on our menu was lamb and pork chops with their magic basting, chicken wings, tomato boerewors (sausage), pap, chakalaka (a South African vegetable relish, usually spicy) and chips, washed down with a couple of quarts beer.  I will be back soon.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Death on the beach

Maybe its just me, but its always sad when I find a dead marine bird, shark or something on the beach.  I went for a walk along the Sacramento Trail at Schoenmakerskop and spotted this departed Cape Gannet from some distance away already.  The rest of my group walked by without even a glance while I felt I just had to stop to reflect on its former beauty (and of cause snap a picture). 
Bird Island (part of the Greater Addo Elephant National Park) in Algoa Bay is home to the biggest breeding colony of gannets in the world with about 160 000 pairs found there.  They are often seen off the south coast when the sardines start to gather for the annual Sardine Run up the east coast.  

Monday, December 9, 2013

Discovering PE's oldest dam - Frames Dam

Its always nice to discover something or somewhere new.  In this case it was something old.  A quick geocache outing during lunch time took me into the Shark River Valley in Humewood and to the old Frames Reservoir.  In the mid 1800's the fledgling town of Port Elizabeth was having water problems.  As a stop-gap measure, a Mr Pinchin and Mr Clement Wall Frames, nephew of William Brooksby Frames, negotiated with the Town Council to supply water to the lower parts of the town from the Shark’s River.  At that time water from the Shark’s River was used for a wool washery established by Frames on the south bank. Capital of £10 000 was raised in subscribed shares of £100 each. This scheme was known as the Shark’s River Water Supply Company. In 1863 a masonry wall was constructed across the Shark’s River. This storage reservoir, with a capacity of over half a million gallons, was officially opened in 1864 and named “Frames Dam”, after Clement Frames, who initiated and built the dam and laid a pipeline to town. The opening ceremony was preceded by a morning hunt and a champagne breakfast.  The dam itself was located approximately 1 1/2 miles south of the town in the Shark’s River Valley on the farm Gomery, now Humewood.  Water from the storage dam was conveyed to the town by a pipeline laid between the beach and Main Street, and extended as far as the prison in North End. The pipes used were imported from England and taps were fitted at regular intervals for the convenience of residents.  Unfortunately for Frames, due to pressure problems the higher lying areas lost out.  He later went bankrupt as a result of the scheme and the municipality took it over.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sunday afternoon on the Verandah

Port Elizabeth is fortunate to have a lot of very nice spots to go for a drink or cocktail after work or a relaxing Sunday afternoon.  One of these is the Verandah at the Beach Hotel with its stunning view of Hobie Beach and Shark Rock Pier across the road.  I haven't been here for a while until I rediscovered it the other day while having drinks with colleagues after a hard couple of days.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Elephant pool party

Kids are doing it. Students are doing it. Triathlon athletes are doing it. Chad le Clos is doing it.  Heck, even the weavers in my garden are doing it thanks to the birdbath.  So why not the elephants?  Elephants don't have sweat glands so they stay cool by flapping their ears and using the blood running through their ears like water running through a radiator.  They also like to throw water over themselves to stay cool and occasionally they like to swim.  And when they do swim they do it properly.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Goodbye Madiba

This morning the world woke up to the news that the father of a democratic South Africa, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela has passed away.  I don't want to write a whole long post about him because every newspaper, magazine and news website there is will have his whole life story.  I just want to say that on this day we shouldn't just mourn this great man, but also celebrate his life and what he did for peace in South Africa.  May his memory life forever.

The picture was taken at the Donkin Reserve where the figure of Madiba is one of the focus points of Route 67, a route dedicated to the life and 67 years that Nelson Mandela spent in the public eye.  RIP Madiba.

Johnny Clegg (With Nelson Mandela) - Asimbonanga

This was the first song I though of this morning when I heard the news of Nelson Mandela's death last night. Rest in peace Madiba.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Save our rhino in the sand

Rhino poaching is a serious issue in South Africa and the more awareness that is created the better.  Playing his part in this is the sand sculptor at Hobie Beach.  Passing by the other morning I spotted his sand rhino and had to snap a picture.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Willows Resort coastline

Over the years Willows Resort along Marine Drive on Port Elizabeth's Wildside has become an PE institution.  During the year many locals spend weekends here camping or staying in the very distinctively Willows rondawels while out of town visitors pack it out during the Summer holidays and over Easter.  I've popped into Willows for various reasons in the past, but got to stay over for the first time on a weekend organised by my in-laws recently.  Willows has it all to keep the whole family busy, but most importantly, it has scenic beauty and lots of it. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Arrival of the Blitzbokke

This weekend (the whole week actually) is a big weekend in the Bay.  Its the weekend when the South African leg of the International Rugby Boards 7's world series takes place at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.  Its two days of action packed rugby on the field and lots of party action off it.  All 16 teams taking part came in on two flights last night and I was lucky enough to make the special list to get me past the supporters and into the arrivals area.  I love my job.  Anyhow, the South African Blitzbokke were on the first flight and the main reason everybody was there, getting the biggest reception when the teams walked out to their buses.  Here Springbok mascot Bokkie poses for a couple of pictures with Blitbokke stars Branco du Preez and Cecil Afrika.

While waiting for the second flight to land Bokkie had some fun joining in with the marimba band and dancers from African Drumbeat.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Welcome to the Port of Port Elizabeth

The harbour control tower is very much the same as an air control tower at an airport, just without the planes.  I really like the fact that there is a welcome sign on the tower visible to ships sailing into the Port Elizabeth Harbour.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Furry friends welcome

Port Elizabeth's beachfront is popular with everybody. Joggers, walkers, surfers, families, cyclists, skateboarders, people walking their furry four legged friends, visitors and locals alike.  All of these were delighted to see the redevelopment of Something Good and all of these are welcome there.  Yes, even the furry friends.