Framesby is one of Port Elizabeth’s well-known residential suburbs. It is flanked by Cape Road (which is part of the N2 motorway, extending from Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, through Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, and all the way to Cape Town in the Western Cape) and Kragga Kamma Road. It is situated next to the suburb of Sunridge.
Framesby is not home to many well-known tourist attractions, but it is close to various shopping centres and a number of other national franchises, supermarkets, fast-food outlets and restaurants. In addition, schools and hospitals are nearby, and the heart of Port Elizabeth’s city is a mere 15 to 20 minutes’ drive away. The trendy malls of Greenacres and Walmer Park are also both within 15 minutes’ drive away (out of peak hour).
The tourist hotspots of King’s Beach, Hobie Beach and the stretch of waterfront (complete with stalls and plenty of kids’ activities) in-between are about 20 minutes away, and invite thousands of visitors from all over South Africa every summer.
Bayworld Museum Complex, one of Port Elizabeth's major tourist attractions, is situated along Marine Drive on the beachfront at Humewood and comprises the Museum, Oceanarium, Snake Park as well as Number 7 Castle Hill Museum. The underlying theme of Bayworld is public education, and is aimed at stimulating a greater awareness of the need for conservation of our natural and cultural heritage. Embark on an exciting journey through time and through the fascinating world around us. Marvel at the diversity of museum displays, from prehistoric dinosaurs to ethnic beadwork as well as a variety of historical treasures that will keep you intrigued for hours. Noteworthy exhibits include the 15m skeleton of the last southern right whale harpooned in Algoa Bay, a life-sized reconstruction of the giant prehistoric dinosaur known as Algoasaurus, a replica of the Dias Cross and a 5m bronze cannon dated 1640 recovered from a Portuguese galleon wrecked near Port Elizabeth.
The popular seal and penguin presentations take place daily. Exhibits within the Oceanarium include an underwater observation area in the aquarium, a dolphin research centre, various smaller tanks for different species of bony fish, as well as two larger tanks housing sharks and stingrays.
A wide variety of reptiles such as tortoises, snakes and crocodiles can be viewed at the Snake Park, the oldest in Africa. Rare and threatened species including Madagascar ground boas are housed safely in realistically landscaped glass enclosures. Reptile demonstrations take place daily.
7 CASTLE STREET MUSEUM
No 7 Castle Hill was completed in 1830 and is now regarded as one of the oldest surviving Settler cottages in Port Elizabeth. The interior presents a picture of domestic life such as many which was enjoyed by English middle class family in mid-19th Century Port Elizabeth. This picturesque family dwelling located in Castle Hill Road, Central has Yellow Wood floors and beams, and a restored slate roof. The dollhouse, lace and kitchen are particularly impressive.
Like many national monuments, Fort Frederick first appears as little more than a few brick walls, albeit old walls that seem to hold little significance or attraction for visitors. On the north side of the fort lies the grave of Captain Francis Evatt, Commandant of Fort Frederick between 1817 and 1847. Captain Evatt is known to have overseen the arrival of the Settlers in 1820
It is only in learning the history behind a building that it takes on a meaning of its own, although in the case of Fort Frederick, it is worth visiting for the views over Algoa Bay alone.
Built in 1799 to defend the mouth of the Baakens River, Fort Frederick stands overlooking the harbour in the South African ‘windy’ or ‘friendly city’ of Port Elizabeth.
Fort Frederick served as protection against a possible landing of French troops in the harbour during the Napoleonic wars when British occupation of the colony first occurred. By the time the 1820 settlers arrived, a shot had still not been fired in retribution from the fort (which remains the case today) and a few houses had grown up around Fort Frederick to house the local population of 35 people. The fort that was named after the Duke of York was, in effect, one of the initial buildings of Port Elizabeth, which sprang up around the fort. It is rather small, when compared with similar forts in Inverness, Scotland or Calcutta, India, but it has been incredibly well preserved and is close enough to the Donkin Reserve to incorporate in the Donkin Heritage Trail.
DONKIN HERITAGE TRAIL
The Donkin Heritage Trail in Port Elizabeth is a 5 kilometer trail that follows in the footsteps of the 1820 Settlers, linking 47 historical sites in central Port Elizabeth, the Donkin Heritage Trail is a joy to anyone who loves historical tours, and even those who don’t, as the rich history is not only charming but quite fascinating. The Donkin Heritage Trail is named after the Acting Governor of the Cape Colony at the time, Sir Rufane Donkin. South Africans are well acquainted with the history of the 4000 British settlers who arrived by ship and visitors can walk in their footsteps in the Old Hill area of Port Elizabeth. One doesn’t even need a tour guide to walk the trail as the route is very conveniently sign posted making self-guided tours possible. The trail begins with a walk around the central city market Square, the centerpiece of which is the City Hall, which dates from 1858. In the square also stands a replica of the Diaz Cross, commemorating the first European to sail into Algoa Bay in 1488, when Bartholomew Diaz graced our shores. Part of the trail includes the Donkin Houses and the Donkin Reserve - the Donkin street houses run along the side of the reserve - whilst the library building, a gorgeous example of Victorian Gothic architecture, is on the corner of Market Square. Number 7 Castle Hill, which claims to be one of the oldest surviving settler cottages in the city, and Pembridge house all form part of the historical amble. Don’t attempt the Campanile unless you’re feeling particularly sprightly, as the spiral staircase entails 204 steps - well worth conquering if only for the views over Algoa Bay.
Other buildings and monuments of interest include the King George VI art gallery, an open air theater, a conservatory, numerous churches and an opera house - all within walking distance of the Donkin houses.
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