South African road trip- Port Elizabeth and Jeffreys Bay
Place: Port Elizabeth Accomodation: Island Vibe Beach House Time spent: 1 night
I flew into Port Elizabeth early in the morning and spent the whole day and the night. There is not much to do at Port Elizabeth. It an industrial town and the town centre has a lot of industry and factories. The hostel is nice and near the beach and you can also walk to the casino/waterfront/pier area which has some shops and restaurants. The pier and casino/ waterfront area is all accessible.
If you are on the Baz Bus you have to stop in Port Elizabeth for the night. However you can also do day trips to the Addo Elephant (has all the Big Five) from Port Elizabeth . The hostel I stayed at was in an old house and so was nice and roomy and wheelchair accessible (there was a side accessible entrance). However during the night my bed did collapse from under me (must be all those pretzels in Germany) and the staff moved me to my own private room.
Place: Jeffery’s Bay Accomodation: Island Vibe Backpackers Time Spent: 3 nights
For those that know their surfing, Jeffery’s bay is famous for it’s surf break Super Tubes, and is a stop on the world surfing tour. The town has many restaurants, and is home to factory outlets for the big surf brands (Billabong, Quicksilver etc)
The town itself is fairly flat however the curb and guttering isn’t great. The hostel I stayed at was amazing, right on the beach. It has heaps of activities (dune riding, surf lessons, township tours), but is also a great place just to chill out. Food is not included but they cook a dinner every night which is fairly cheap. In terms of accessibility it’s ok. Most of the rooms have level access. The bathrooms are just cubicles so they can be a bit tricky, and there is also only one bathroom for most of the hostel. I asked reception to put a plastic chair in one of the showers for me so I could access it and that worked ok. The main bar area is split level, with two steps in the middle, however you can access both levels you just have to go the long way around.
In terms of access to the beach there is a very steep set of stairs so unless you fancy crawling up and down them, it is best to go up the road to the main beach. The main beach (also called Dolphin Beach) has a wheelchair accessible deck and a wooden ramp down to the sand.
Most the time I just hung around in the hammock and on the beach, but one day I did end up doing a Township tour. The township tour takes you to the local township to learn about African culture and customs. It is not very wheelchair accessible unless you have someone to help you or big fat tyres to get over the rough terrain as there are no paths or general infrastructure. All the buildings are pretty makeshift so access into the buildings (we went into a bar made out of scrap tin metal) is also pretty questionable. However it was extremely interesting. Highlights included the tour guide wanting to marry me and offering all of his cows and the police coming to the pub while we were playing pool as they deemed it too dangerous for 9 white people. However it was a very good way to see how other people have to live and made me appreciate how much I have and take for granted.
Anyway after traipsing around Europe for 2.5 months, Jeffreys Bay was an ideal place to catch up on some R n R.