Richmond Activities and centrally situate Newington Place in the eclectic and up-market suburb of Richmond Hill. The area is a playground for the trendy Port Elizabeth crowd and favoured by foodies for its diverse selection of restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries. Whether it is nine o’clock in the morning or eleven o’clock at night, the neighbourhood is sure to be peppered with people who have come to tantalise their taste buds and chill over a cappuccino or glass of wine.
Richmond Hill is often compared to Melville in Johannesburg due to the sidewalk café society feel that has emerged in the suburb in recent years and the laid back vibe that generally ensconces anyone who happens to meander its streets.
Running through the heart of the area is Stanley Street, where restaurants via for customers and tables spill out onto the sidewalks. This is probably the easiest spot to catch a bite, as choices are varied and all within easy walking distance of each other, so having a sundowner cocktail at a trendy wine bar before walking a few steps down the street for a juicy streak is a common practice.
From pastries and breads to sushi, pizza, seafood and sandwiches, you can find it all in Stanley Street, the perfect place for breakfast, lunch or dinner where the tables scattered along the pavements are always occupied by happy diners, infusing the area with laughter and talk, while at night the trees glow with the twinkle of fairy lights and the streets come alive with dinner patrons.
Popular spots among local residence include Fushin Sushi Bar, The Deli Street Café and Yaiyai’s for meals, Vovo Telo for artisanal breads and pastries and For the Love of Wine for some of the best wine collections in the Bay. The Royal Deli is within easy walking distance of Stanley Street and will tempt your palette with authentic Indian flavours while the BeerYard is favoured for its tasty craft beers, chilled vibe and great handmade burgers and pizzas.
The Old Austria, one of Port Elizabeth’s most long standing and renowned fine dining restaurants is also just a short drive away, and the Coachman, another established firm favourite, dishes up Greek specialities and fabulous steaks all with stunning sea views.
Richmond Hill is one of the oldest and most historical suburbs in Port Elizabeth, combining a blend of pretty Victorian and Old Edwardian architecture where to a degree, time has stood still and unique hints of yesteryear mingle with contemporary living.
Newington Street itself forms part of a Heritage Walk and an amble down its tree lined streets will reveal many old and beautiful buildings. For those more energetic, the full Richmond Hill Trail begins at the Westbourne Oval that was once a dam but now acts as an athletics ground, before meandering past many architectural wonders such as the stunning St Cuthbert’s Anglican Church and 22 Landsdown Place, a beautifully restored building originally constructed in 1899 as a meeting place for Freemasons.
Richmond Hill forms part of central Port Elizabeth and is awash with British colonial history and monuments such as the Horse Memorial, the only horse memorial in South Africa; Fort Frederick, built in 1799 by early British settlers to protect the Port Elizabeth Bay; and the Donkin Reserve, part of the Donkin Heritage Trail that weaves a tale of love and loss as it tells the story of Rufane Donkin who named the city in honour of his beloved wife. Elizabeth Donkin died giving birth to their only son and the monument at the Donkin Reserve was erected in her honour before Rufane took his own life 20 years later on the anniversary of her death. The trail takes you through 47 places of historical interest and marvellous examples of mid-19th century buildings including the City Hall and Main Library.
Other popular historic and cultural attractions in the city include the Red Location Museum, tracing the rise and fall of apartheid in South Africa; The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum, showcasing a wonderful collection of international and South African art; the Prince Alfred Guard Memorial, a National Monument featuring a Victorian Drill Hall, climbing the 204 steps of the Campanile Memorial that looks out over the harbour; No 7 Castle Hill, one of the oldest surviving Settler Cottages in the city; and Route 67, a collection of 67 art pieces celebrating the public life of Nelson Mandela.
Port Elizabeth is one of the largest cities in South Africa and often chosen as a holiday destination due to the wide variety of attractions and activities it has to offer ranging from cultural and historical points of interest to Blue Flag Status beaches, stunning floral reserves, award winning wildlife destinations and a fabulous selection of retail therapy.
The beachfront promenade is a hive of activity where innumerable outdoor activities can be enjoyed and popular attractions, besides the beaches, include the Port Elizabeth Museum for a walk through time, Bayworld, to meet the seals and other marine life and the Boardwalk Entertainment and Casino Complex presenting much fun filled family adventure. The huge dome shaped Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is sure to catch your eye and within the city suburbs there are numerous large retail outlets, the biggest and newest of these being the sprawling Bay West Mall that offers shops restaurants, cinemas and an ice rink and entertainment complex.
On the outskirts of the city one will find unexpected gems such as the Kragga Kamma Game Park, a great, compact safari park where you are guaranteed of seeing plentiful wildlife including white rhino, giraffe, cheetah and plenty of plains game as well as the Cape Recife Nature Reserve situated on a scenic stretch of beach and considered one of the best places in the Port Elizabeth for bird watching. The reserve is also home to SAMREC, a penguin rehabilitation centre that will warm your heart and delight the kids. The Maitland Nature Reserve is a source of rich natural beauty, boasting a spectacular indigenous coastal forest and beautiful giant sand dunes, while the St Croix Island Marine Reserve can be reached by boat charter and is home to the largest colony of African penguins in the world. This area is also a popular scuba diving site, best enjoyed in winter when visibility is at its peak.
If your interest has not yet been piqued then you should also know that Port Elizabeth is host to numerous golf courses and health spas and is home to Ironman South Africa. Walking and hiking trails abound, the most popular being the Sacramento Trail, an eight kilometre coastal walk through the Schoenmakerskop-Sardinia Bay Nature Reserve; the Cormorant Trail, also beginning in Schoenmakerskop and the Roseate Tern Hiking Trail, taking you across the unspoilt dunes of Cape Recife.
Approximately 1 hour from Port Elizabeth lies the acclaimed Addo Elephant National Park that is well worth a day trip and will afford you with awesome elephant sightings. This huge park not only offers the Big Five but also the Big Seven and a boat charter into the seas will get you in close proximity to great white shark and the southern right whale.
While in the area you can’t go wrong with a stop at Cosmos Cuisine, only a short drive from Addo. This award winning restaurant serves up breakfast, light lunches and dinner, taking advantage of the amazing citrus produced in the Sunday’s River Valley where the restaurant is found and paring it with local delicacies such as kudu, eland and gemsbok.
Slightly further afield is Shamwari, a highly popular Big Five Private Game Reserve, offering self-drive and guided safaris as well as Pumba Private Game Reserve, noted for its rare white lion breeding programme.
It takes a bit of time to get to the Mountain Zebra National Park but for nature lovers the trip will be well worth it as this park protects endangered Cape mountain zebra as well as threatened vegetation biomes and affords a serene and peaceful experience amidst untouched and pristine mountainous landscape.
Ornithologists won’t want to miss the almost 400 bird species that grace Sibuya Game Reserve, located on the banks of the Kariega River. The reserve also supports one of the highest wildlife densities in South Africa and arrival is by boat after departing from Kenton-on-Sea. Day trips include a three hour guided game drive, picnic lunch and boat transfers.