Hikes and Trails in Port Elizabeth

Posted on Mon July 13, 2015 in Activities and Attractions.

Port Elizabeth is not only known for their friendly people and amazing beaches, but also for their breathtaking hiking trail. The Settlers Park hiking trail is one of Port Elizabeth's most famous and enjoyed trails.

Settlers Park- Guide for Walkers

A recommended walk commences in the main car park off How Avenue where there are public toilets, drinking water, the Les. Prosser Flower Display House, named in memory of a past Director of Parks, and the Marquette of the 1820 Settlers Statue, the full size model being at Grahamstown. A panoramic view of the central part of Settlers Park is gained from the fence at the car park. This is a favorite congregating place for visitors as they gaze over the high cliff and the Baakens River, across the Walmer lawns to Fordyce Road and the Walmer Primary School. The Guinea-fowl Trail runs 18km along the length of the Baakens Valley from Settlers Park to the N2 beyond Kabega.

Where will this hiking trail take you?

To the right of the park the tar-surfaced Jan Smuts Walk leads down a slope to the river and Essexvale, passing a plantation of pine-trees which were planted in the 1920's. Crossing the river the road leads upstream. past Lovers Rock to the car park at Essexvale. Turn here and retrace your footsteps to the bottom of the Jan Smuts Walk. The next section passes below a high cliff, but look carefully just before reaching this rock-faced and see, partly obscured from view, a narrow valley leading up to Prospect Road, Walmer. This is known as Step Kloof, where water descends from cascade to cascade during heavy rain. This area was a very popular picnic spot at the end of the last century. It has an access point from 4th Avenue Walmer. Crossing the next drift, the road approaches the Holland Dam under the cliffs of the main car park. The Lecture-theatre alongside the dam was erected in commemoration of the well-known naturalist Fred Holland. Between the river and Walmer lies Handsfield Valley, an area of bush vegetation with emergent trees. Hidden springs bubble to the surface in this area.

Crossing the wall of the Holland Dam. A turn to the right takes the walker through the popular wood, a narrow strip of these exotic trees lining the river-side. Although not indigenous, these tress provide a welcome, cool walk and nest sits for a number of birds such as the Olive woodpecker. Before the next river crossing, take a turn up the road to the left on to the old Van der Kuil Farm. A number of coral trees (Erythrina Caffra) have been planted over the years to provide a shady canopy between the natural thicket vegetation. Keep to the lawns towards the next drift, but do not cross. Ahead is a wooded slope, at the base of which is a natural area of maidenhair ferns. You are now in Maidens Vale. A small dam lies at the foot of good, indigenous low forest. Turning up the hill away from the river, a road intersects. Both the road rising to the right and the one behind crossing the river lead to Barnes Quarry and the Brickmakers Kloof entrance to the reserve. The small valley to the right (Fernkloof) has a small waterfall, again only in flow in rain season. At the foot of this valley is situated the reserve's nursery with, on the other side of the road, the Bottom Koppie. From there on the route uphill passes through the old Nance Dairy Farm with, on the left, the Top Koppie, which still shows the remains of the old homestead foundations. A lawned area leads downhill back to the Holland Dam, past a collection of cycads. Carry on up the hill to reach the main car-park, passing through a collection of various proteaceae.

What can be seen on the Settler's hiking trail?Bird-life abounds, with over 120 resident species, and small animals such as grysbok, dassies, hares and mongoose may be seen. Less obvious, by the river, water mongoose, otto, leguaan and terrapin are present. Please note that the area is entirely at your own risk and there are no dogs allowed.

Where to stay in Port Elizabeth?
Lungile Lodge is one of the reasons Port Elizabeth is known as the 'The friendly city'. It's your 'Home away from Home!'

Lungile Backpackers Lodge is located along the marine drive area of Humewood in Port Elizabeth - a hub of activity throughout the year.  A 5 minute walk from Lungile will bring you to the main beach, restaurants, beach bars, a skate park, the popular boardwalk, booming nightlife – any of which is bound to be hosting the hype of the day! We offer high quality budget accommodation- choose between private rooms, private en suite rooms dorms or camping.

For more information feel free to contact us or make your booking online!