Tag Archives: beach

Sightseeing from Shark Rock Pier in Port Elizabeth (2017-07-08) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 09 APR 2018

When in Port Elizabeth, head out for a stroll along Shark Rock Pier. Or rather, that is what it feels like every tourist to Port Elizabeth does at least once while visiting the Friendly City. (Well certainly that is what my Instagram feed seems to suggest anyway).

To be fair though, that is of course exactly what we did when we visited Port Elizabeth as part of last year’s June Roadtrip Holiday.

Built in 1998 and measuring 137 metres in length, Shark Rock Pier can be found between Hobie Beach and the Red Windmill, and interestingly enough, is the only public accessible pier in Port Elizabeth.

Situated at the very center of the Port Elizabeth beachfront, free to access, and giving amazing views across Algoa Bay, it is no wonder then that the pier is both a major landmark of and drawcard for P.E.

Or at least that is what all the travel operators say about it.

I have to say, it is pretty cool though, and we all enjoyed the gentle amble out to its end and back again. The views are great, non locals like us are easily bamboozled by the hordes of open water swimmers who look just like dolphins in their wetsuits, and there are plenty of friendly ice cream vendors waiting for you to look hot on hand.

Oh, and interesting fact. The famous Hobie Beach only exists thanks to Shark Rock Pier’s presence. Its positioning is such that the pier blocks the tidal drift of sand northwards, causing it to instead build up and thus pile on the layers of fun for this super popular sun soaked beach.

Basically, well worth the walk if you find yourself in the area then.

Related Link: Port Elizabeth

USA 2016 – 19 Walking the Dog on the Beach in Del Mar (2016-07-17) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 27 MAR 2018

Following our little walkabout the Torrey Pines Gliderport, Johann and I continued the theme of taking his dog out for a walk by heading down to Del Mar, a small, prosperous, and nearby beach city that forms part of San Diego county.

The first surfing location mentioned in the 1963 Beach Boys’ song Surfin’ U.S.A., Del Mar (meaning “of the sea” in Spanish) is known for its boutique shops, fine dining, good surfing, and great beaches. (It is also now home to Tom DeLonge, former guitarist and founding member of Blink-182, now full time UFO researcher)

There is also the famous Del Mar racetrack (horse racing), it borders the Torrey Pines State Beach, and the city hosts both the San Diego County Fair and the tri-annual Del Mar Antique Show.

As for our trip, we stepped out on Main Beach, which was absolutely perfect for walking the dog, watching people pull out fish, glancing at a beachcomber hobo, and spectating an absolutely perfect sunset.

Plus, the water is nice and warm.

Interesting fact (just in case you spotted the South African flag fluttering in one of the photos) – there are actually quite a large number of South African expats that call the San Diego region home, and after seeing the place for myself, well it is easy to see just why that is.

Related Link: Del Mar | #USA2016

USA 2016 – 18 The Torrey Pines Gliderport at La Jolla, San Diego (2016-07-17) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 26 MAR 2018

One of the very first bits of sightseeing that I did after reaching San Diego was a drive about the beautiful La Jolla area with Johann, the ride ending with a walkabout on the cliffs flanking the historic Torrey Pines Gliderport site.

Given its 100 years of flying history, the Torrey Pines Gliderport is one of North America’s most historic aviation sites, having played a pivotal role in the aviation industry of both Southern California and the United States as a whole.

For example, aviation legends like Charles Lindbergh, Woody Brown, Hawley Bowlus, John Robinson, and Bob Fronius all have history with the Torrey Pines Gliderport, whilst technologies like the Robinson Variometer, the Air Brakes on the Zanoonia, the original Parachute Recovery System, early radio controlled model airplanes, the first hang gliders, and even paragliding all were either refined, created or tested at this very launch site!

These days the Torrey Pines Gliderport positions itself as Southern California’s premiere location for paragliding, hang gliding, remote control models and sailplanes, providing a world class flying site, flight lessons, certifications, tandem flights, equipment sales, and even repair services in the process.

The cliffs themselves make for a wonderful viewing platform of the area, and if you feel energetic and adventurous enough, a steep path down the face of the cliffs will reward you with an amazing strip of beach down below.

Well worth a visit if you enjoy watching people effortlessly float about in the sky.

Next up, a walk along a beach in Del Mar!

Related Link: Torrey Pines Gliderport | Wikipedia | La Jolla | San Diego | #USA2016

A Lagoon, a Bridge, and a Beach at Kleinmond (2017-05-06) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 18 MAR 2018

The whole Rooi-Els, Pringle Bay, Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond strip that we have access to here from Gordon’s Bay always makes for a delightful day outing. One such outing saw the girls and myself spend some time in Kleinmond, first grabbing a rather cheesy pizza from the local Pizza World, and then taking it with us over to where the Kleinmond Lagoon meets the Kleinmond beach.

If you have kids and haven’t visited this area before, then you are in for a treat.

With a large field of grass (strategically dotted with jungle gyms and swings), the kids who don’t like the beach have more than enough space to run around and play, while one short bridge away is the silky soft sands of the beach, perfect for those of us who would rather have some grains of sand between our toes.

Then there is of course the lagoon, which while not great for swimming (thanks to the polluted water), is perfect for a light spot of fishing and of course canoeing or supping (“Stand-Up Paddle Boarding” in case you aren’t familiar with the acronym), or whatever else it is that people do on lagoons.

Oh, and did I mention the never ending views?

In other words, it really is a perfect spot to spend a day with the family then.

Also, if you are really lucky, you might even spot the famous wild horses of Kleinmond while you are at it…

Related Link: Kleinmond

Sand Dunes Sunset at Sardinia Bay in Port Elizabeth (2017-07-07) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 12 FEB 2018

Having now arrived in Port Elizabeth following our short stay in the Addo Elephant Park (all part  of last year’s June Holidays road trip), one of the very first experiences that Evan and Natasha guided us to was enjoying a spectacular sunset from atop the sand dunes of Sardinia Bay.

Lying between Schoenmakerskop and Seaview, and complete with public picnic facilities, Sardinia Bay is a popular beach strip that due to its miles of unspoiled coastline, has a reputation as being one of the best walking beaches in the area.

Thanks to its status of Marine Reserve, fishing is off limits in Sardinia Bay, though the waters are popular for both snorkeling and scuba diving. Incidentally, the beach also marks the starting point of the very popular eight kilometer long Sacramento hiking trail.

Anyway, the legendary sand dunes of Sardinia Bay are themselves quite the beast. Ever shifting, ever encroaching across the access roads, it takes quite the effort to make one’s way to the top – or at least it does when you are as big as what I am and struggle with a wonky knee!

(Not that this bothers the light as a feather kids of course, and besides, the views from the top really are worth making the effort! Also, the sunset from there really is magnificent.)

As darkness fell, we left the popular sunset watching spot behind (seriously, I was amazed at the number of people perched atop the sand dunes to watch the sun go down), making our way back into Port Elizabeth, where we stopped off at the wonderfully lit Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World complex in order to catch their very entertaining music and lights water fountain show for the girls.

Needless to say, the little ones were well impressed.

Finally, we capped our first evening in Port Elizabeth off with a visit to the vibey Something Good Roadhouse, somehow miraculously securing a table big enough for the whole group, allowing us to take in the live music, tuck into some delicious food, and more importantly, get down to the business of catching up with old friends.

(Also, you’ll notice that none of these photos appear to have come from my phone camera. This would be because I forgot my phone back at the car, meaning that I have had to borrow these snaps from Evan. Hence the selfies.)

Sunset from the sand dunes of Sardinia Bay is a definite must if you ever find yourself in the area.

Related Link: Sardinia Bay Beach | Port Elizabeth | The Boardwalk

USA 2016 – 15 A Stroll Down the Venice Beach Boardwalk in Los Angeles (2016-07-16) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 31 JAN 2018

Having just completed our super interesting outing aboard the Queen Mary ocean liner/museum ship (out in Long Beach), Johann and Carl next decided that an impromptu drive out to Venice Beach (before we return to Anaheim) would definitely be a good idea.

It was.

Founded in 1905 and established as a seaside resort town, Venice stood as an independent city until 1926, when it and its man-made canals (hence the city’s name) was absorbed into the greater city of Los Angeles.

These days this residential and recreational neighbourhood is known for its bohemian style and sensibilities, long being home to a countless number of artists, poets, and musicians from all walks of life.

Labelled as “a cultural hub known for its eccentricities”, Venice’s biggest tourist attraction (if not Southern California’s number one visitor attraction) is without a doubt Venice Beach, which attracts literally millions of visitors each year.

The actual beach itself is wide, flat, long and covered in soft sand, making it one of those good beaches that people really can enjoy. Other than all the normal beach sports prevalent on its sands, there is also plenty of surfing (and other water sports) to be had in the sea, and a seemingly good lifeguard system in place.

There’s even a long bicycle track that runs parallel to the beach, which, given the number of bicycles cruising up and down on it (not to mention all the bicycle rental spots along the promenade), seems to be a very popular distraction indeed!

But a beach is just a beach, and in reality the real draw of Venice Beach is of course its world famous Venice Beach Boardwalk (sometimes called the “Ocean Front Walk”), a promenade/beach road that stretches for about 2,5 kilometers along the beachfront.

The promenade is vibrant, packed with art murals, buskers, hustlers and little grungy shops of all shapes and form. From clothing stores, marijuana dispensaries, bars, eateries, and curio stops, the Venice Beach Boardwalk is an eccentric mix of people from all races, colours and creeds, trying to simply make a living by selling pretty much anything to anyone.

There is also all the outdoor sports courts to glace over, play areas that include spaces like skateboard parks, paddle ball arenas, and of course all the well known basketball courts from which many a legendary NBA player has been plucked!

That said, honestly, I’m not really the type of person who likes this kind of place (I’m not overly fond of seemingly rundown spots full of hustle and bustle), but it would be a straight out lie to say that I didn’t find the Venice Beach Boardwalk a super interesting and intriguing spot. So many strange (and often eccentric) people to take in, from the hustlers in front of the freakshow attraction, to the preaching gangsters on a podium, to the guy selling insults on the side of the street!

Enjoy the sun on this warm Summer’s day, the three of us slowly ambled down the strip, taking in the sights and sounds, stopping for some frozen yoghurt (and some or other slightly less identifiable snack at a different hole in the wall eatery), before finally turning around once we had hit the famous Muscle Beach section of the boardwalk – which in itself is a very entertaining stop as you get to watch all the musclebound men and women do their strength exercises out in front of all the people walking along the promenade (i.e. showing off), with the guys quite often stepping out of their routine in order to flex a muscle or two while posing for some photo hungry visitor.

Amusing indeed!

So while I didn’t necessarily LOVE the vibe of the Venice Beach Boardwalk, I did very much like the art and appreciate the experience – after all, who hasn’t seen this famous strip of land on American TV before? :)

Related Link: Venice | Wikipedia | #USA2016

Ice Cream at Lagoon Beach in Milnerton (2017-11-18) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 28 JAN 2018

The girls and I had been out and about on a weekend adventure as always, first with a trip to the venerable Blue Train Park at Mouille Point for some play time, then a stroll over to the Oranjezicht City Farm Market (quickly abandoned because it was far, far too busy for one dad and his two little girls), followed by some Spur time for the munchkins in the V&A Waterfront, and then finally wrapping it all up with some ice cream on the beach.

For this final part of our day, I decided to pay a visit to Lagoon Beach in Milnerton, a place that I don’t think I’ve necessarily visited before.

The GPS and Google Maps took us up through Paarden Eiland, past the Milnerton Flea Market (which I’m sure used to be in Milnerton back when I was a kid), and into the parking lot in front of Wang Thai and the Lagoon Beach Hotel (where I was promptly accosted by a gang of wandering homeless kids and a couple of guys wanting to sell me shark teeth).

At this point the girls were already bothering me for ice cream to no end, so I relented, flagged down a passing Ola ice cream vendor on his bicycle, and bought the girls each a chilled chocolate coated treat on a stick.

This of course didn’t go that well, because it was almost instantly just dropped chocolate and melting ice cream everywhere!

(I was not impressed, and embarrassingly, a little shouty about this. I have no idea why this act of messing sticky ice cream everywhere bugs me so.)

Anyways. It is a bit disconcerting to see all the polluted water warnings for where the Dieprivier river flows towards the sea, but outside of that, the wide concrete walkway makes for a lovely walk along the beach, with the end reward being of course those utterly magnificent views of Table Mountain as you come around the hotel grounds.

Hard not to appreciate the view really.

(In truth, I am a tiny bit jealous that none of my local beaches have such a classic view of Table Mountain as what those on the Milnerton/Bloubergstrand side of Cape Town do!)

Related Link: Milnerton

Sand and Boulders on Llandudno Beach in Cape Town (2017-06-24) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 25 NOV 2017

Just outside of Hout Bay and on the way to Camps Bay lies Llandudno (named after the Welsh town with a very similar look), an extremely upmarket, small and particularly picturesque residential suburb of Cape Town.

Despite their well to do status, Llandudno residents strive to maintain a private, coastal village feel to their suburb, achieving this by banning the operation of any shops or restaurants, disallowing the installation of street lights, and maintaining only the most minuscule amount of public parking spaces in the area.

Despite all of this, their tiny Llandudno beach is a popular beach with many Capetonians, thanks in no small part to its boulder strewn rugged beauty, the magnificent fynbos to each side, the view of the Twelve Apostles, Little Lion’s Head,and the Karbonkelberg Mountain all around, and its surfer exciting waves!

Popular with families for picnics, beach sports and sun worshipping in general, it really is difficult to walk away not appreciating this small beach’s well earned charm.

(Oh, and for nudists, it also marks the start of the 20 minute long, apparently not so gentle, walk to Cape Town’s famous nudist beach, Sandy Bay.)

Back in June, as part of my day out and about with the girls, I took a slight detour on our way to Hout Bay Harbour in order to see what this beach looks like for ourselves – and I’m pleased to report that neither the girls nor I left disappointed! :)

A pretty little beach indeed.

Related Link: Llandudno

Donut World Doughnuts at Dolphin Beach in Jeffrey’s Bay (2017-07-10) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 15 NOV 2017

Having now completed the Oudtshoorn, Addo and Port Elizabeth legs of our June Holidays Road Trip, we were driving through the Eastern Cape down along the coast (via the N2) towards the Garden Route, to spend a couple of nights in Sedgefield as the final stop on our journey.

By this stage, both the kids and Chantelle were all fast asleep in the car next to me, so I decided to make a stop for doughnuts, hanging a sharp left and heading down to South Africa’s de facto surfing capital – Jeffrey’s Bay.

Traditionally the town has always been known as a sleepy little fishing town, transitioning into a fully hippie hangout in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and out of which emerged the now burgeoning surf community.

These days that only holds partly true, as over the last couple of years Jeffrey’s Bay has seen a rapid urban expansion – something very visible when you first enter what used to be quite the small little seaside town!

Having first been given a clue to the existence of a doughnut shop from Natasha, some quick Google work led me to punch in the coordinates for Donut World into the GPS, a small shop that is very close to the Jeffrey’s Bay famous Blue Flag Beach – the aptly named Dolphin Beach.

Perfect. A spot for me to stretch my legs and take some photos then! :)

While the others continued their nap in the car, I parked close to the waterslides of the Dolphin Beach Entertainment Centre and went for a short exploratory stroll. Sadly for me though, not too many people were on the beach on the day, never mind the fact that no one was actually in the water for a change. (For reference, there seems to almost always be someone in the water at Surfer’s Corner in Muizenberg!)

(Depressingly, I later learned that we had also just, just missed the running of the renowned Corona J-Bay Open, which by all accounts was quite an exciting surfing contest this year – shark attack and all!)

Anyway, I returned to the car (where by now everyone had already woken up), and we then headed out in search of the little Donut World shopfront, finding it easily enough (it’s super close to the Shell Museum – which funnily enough none of us actually thought of entering) and each then grabbing something off their sickly sweet menu.

My choice looked rather funky I thought:

Donuts devoured, we then let the girls stretch their legs a bit on the nearby jungle gym before hopping back into the car, grabbing some road trip refreshments from Mentors Plaza at the edge of the town (where I read up on some very cool information around the big Jeffrey’s Bay Wind Farm that we where about to drive through), pointing our nose towards the Western Cape border and then hitting the road once more!

Bonus: There is a very cool scale model outside Mentor’s Plaza depicting the 2013 record breaking big wave surf by Garrett McNamara. It’s crazy to think that any sane human would ever attempt to surf a 30+ meter wave!

Related Link: Jeffrey’s Bay