Lilizel Provincial Winner in Accommodation 2017

7 Summer Picnic Spots in Nelson Mandela Bay
2017-12-21 | Anje Rautenbach

7 Summer Picnic Spots in Nelson Mandela Bay
20 December 2017 | By Anje Rautenbach

Nelson Mandela Bay has its fair share of incredible restaurants but don't you just miss the good ol' days of gathering friends and family and having a picnic? Don't you just miss the simplicity of a picnic; the fresh air, sharing cheeses, crackers, sandwiches, perhaps playing a game, lounging around on the grass on a blanket with loved ones and having a good conversation?

Read this beautiful, spot-on, description of a picnic: 

A picnic is a meal taken outdoors (al fresco) as part of an excursion – ideally in scenic surroundings, such as a park, lakeside, or other place affording an interesting view, or else in conjunction with a public event such as preceding an open-air theatre performance, and usually in summer.
Well, it is a good thing we have all of the above-mentioned within the borders of Nelson Mandela Bay to construct the perfect picnic; scenic surroundings, parks, interesting views, summer. Yes, yes, yes, we have it all. So why don't you dust off your picnic basket this summer season, pack it with a few of your favourite food items, grab a blanket, perhaps a soft cushion, call up some friends and enjoy some of the Bay's best picnic sites. 

Ready? Set? Picnic!

Jack’s Picnic Site
Have a picnic in a 500 ha fenced botanical reserve (specially created to monitor the impact of elephants and other large herbivores on the plant life) in the middle of Addo Elephant National Park.

Location: Addo Elephant National Park.
Entrance Fee: Conservation fee of R68 per adult and R34 per child (waived if you are a Wildcard holder).
Time/Day: Every day of the week, 07:00 – 19:00 (main gate), 07:00 – 18:30 (Matyholweni Gate). Take note that Jack’s Picnic Site is situated in the middle of the game viewing area and you should allow yourself enough time to travel between the picnic site and the gate before the gates closes.
Facilities: Toilets, and individual semi-private picnic areas complete with braai and table under a roof providing some shade.
Food: Come with your own picnic basket and wood if you are going to braai, or get it from the Park Shop at Addo Main Camp (situated at Main Gate).
Pet-friendly: No.
Other activities to do in the area: Go on game drives, horseback riding or enjoy the adventure activities in Addo such as ziplining or the giant swing.

St. Georges Park
Have a picnic in one of the Bay’s greenest spots where exotic plants, water lilies and beautiful orchids grow, and shows, sport and events are regularly hosted.

Location: Park Drive, Port Elizabeth.
Entrance Fee: FREE.
Time/Day: Any day, any time (advised to go during day time hours).
Facilities: Toilets, picnic tables, swimming pool, play park and outdoor gym facilities.
Food: Grab pastries and more from nearby restaurants such as Savages Fine Food and Rhubarb and Lime.
Pet-friendly: Yes.
Other activities to do in the area: Swimming pool, Pearson Conservatory and watch a bit of cricket (click here to see the Events Page).

The Bay’s Beaches
If you are looking for a beach for a picnic you’re in luck with the Bay’s three blue flag beaches and plenty more beautiful serene sandy stretches.

Location: Bluewater Bay, Hobie Beach, Humewood Beach, Schoenmakerskop Beach, King's Beach, Pollok Beach, Sardinia Bay, Maitlands.
Entrance Fee: FREE.
Time/Day: Any day, any time (advised to go during day time hours).
Facilities: Soft, soft, sand and toilets at selected beaches.
Food: Come with your own picnic basket or get food, ice cream and more from the nearby restaurants and food stalls. Remember to not leave any trash behind.
Pet-friendly: Some beaches (click here to find out).
Other activities to do in the area: Swimming, surfing, kayaking, beachfront Segway Tours and FatBike Tours.

Thunzi Bush Lodge
Have a romantic date in the tranquil sanctuary of coastal forest and African bush.


Location: Maitland Road, Colleen Glen, Port Elizabeth.
Entrance Fee: Picnic at R195 per person or R395 per basket, includes food selection, cutlery, crockery, glasses and picnic set-up. Wine etc. available from Thunzi Bush Lodge, or R30 corkage fee (bookings are essential).
Time/Day: Tuesdays to Sundays, from 12:00 onwards.
Facilities: Toilet, picnic tables and cushions.
Food: Reserve your picnic basket with your choice of food directly with Thunzi Bush Lodge.
Pet-friendly: No.
Other activities to do in the area: Birdwatching, hiking at Island Nature Reserve or explore the Maitland Dunes.

Island Nature Reserve
Forget about the city sounds and soak in the coastal forest at Island Nature Reserve.

Location: Sea View Road, Port Elizabeth.
Entrance Fee: R50 per adult, R25 per child, plus a conservation fee of R10 per adult and R5 per child.
Time/Day: Every day of the week, from 08:00 until 16:00 (week days they close at 16:30).
Facilities: Toilet, braai facilities, picnic tables, a boma for bigger groups (available upon reserveration at a cost, call 087 086 2498 for more information).
Food: Come with your own picnic basket or get your treats from a nearby shop or from the Elephant Walk Farm Shoppe.
Pet-friendly: No.
Other activities to do in the area: Hike one of the hiking trails in Island Nature Reserve (there are 5 different ones varying in length, 700m, 800m, 3.5km, 3.2km and 7.3 km) or head to the beach.

Willow Dam
Bring a blanket and enjoy the laid-back environment and plenty of birds at Willow Dam.

Location: 15 Channer Street, Jannsendal, Uitenhage.
Entrance Fee: FREE.
Time/Day: Any day, any time (advised to go during day time hours). There is a market at Willow Dam the first Sunday of every month from 09:00 until 14:00.
Facilities:  Toilet, play park and skate park.
Food: Come with your own picnic basket or get your treats from a nearby shop.
Pet-friendly: Yes.
Other activities to do in the area: Explore the sights of Uitenhage such as the VW Autopavilion, Drostdy Museum and Cuyler Manor Museum.

Elephant Walk
Relax and enjoy a rustic picnic with live performances and gourmet snacks.

Location: 94, Doorly Road, Colleen Glen, Port Elizabeth.
Entrance Fee: FREE.
Time/Day: From 10:00 until late on Fridays and Saturdays, and 10:00 until 16:00 on Sundays. Enjoy live music last Saturday of every month from 14:00 until 17:00.
Facilities: Toilet, picnic tables, benches and cushions.
Food: Create your own picnic basket by selecting items from the Farm Shoppe Deli such as gourmet ready-made items, cheeses, salads, wine and more.
Pet-friendly: Yes.
Other activities to do in the area:  Visit the Farm Shoppe and Elephant Walk Restaurant & Country Pub or take a short drive down the road and hike one of the hiking trails at Island Nature Reserve.

Picnic Etiquette
When going on a picnic, keep the following in mind:

Help the planet and pack reuasble cups, plates and cutlery.
Keep the area clean, don't leave anything but footprints.
Respect the environment, if you are in a reserve or national park, do not remove any fauna or flora.
Keep an eye on your kids.
Keep your dog on a leash and clean up after it.
Make reservations if neccessary.
If music is allowed at the picnic spot, keep it down.
To braai or not to braai? Find out if it is allowed to make a fire in the designated picnic area.
To wine or not to wine? Find out if it is allowed to drink alcohol in the designated picnic area.

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