We spent a week in Port Elizabeth, exploring the city and its surrounding with a rented car, while we waited for our camper to arrive by ship. It was nice to drive around in a normal car instead the big Sprinter Camper with 5,5 tons. We also used the time to get comfortable with driving on the ‘”wrong” side.
In the Grand Hotel’s long history of 120 years, the nobility and the elite have walked through the foyer that was once decorated with heads and horns. Elaborate dining room table settings were the order of the day, and in the drawing room, there were floor length lace curtains and a stuffed leopard in full snarl on the hearth rug. Today it is abandoned, even after it got new blue paint just years ago.
From the Donkin Reserve, named after the town’s founder Rufane Shaw Donkin we had a fantastic view of Algoa Bay. Particularly impressive is the carpet of colourful mosaics, which ends in a pyramid that stands in front of a lighthouse.
The pyramid was built in memory of Sir Rufane Donkin’s wife Elizabeth, after whom the city was named. By the way: Port Elizabeth is actually Gqeberha now, as it got renamed last year.
At No 7 Castle Hill stands one of the oldest houses of Port Elizabeth, built in 1827 by a clergyman. Since 1962 it is a museum furnished to present a picture of 19th century domestic life.
The Campanile, reminiscent of the famous St Mark’s Campanile in Venice, was built in the 1920s to commemorate the 1820 Settlers, several groups of British colonists from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales which came to the cape in 1820. The carillon with 23 bells plays 3 times a day.
We had enjoyed the time we had to explore Port Elizabeth. There is a lot you can do around this town, but now it is time to pick up our camper!