Words: Robyn Anthony
In the early years of the city, Summerstrand was part of the Strandfontein farm owned by Piet Retief. “He is honoured though a monument close to the Summerstrand Village shopping area,” says resident Sune Diedericks.
This sought-after suburb is right by Port Elizabeth’s main beachfront, while the Boardwalk casino and entertainment complex, Summerstrand Village shopping centre, Humewood Links golf course, Bayworld and Nelson Mandela University are all within easy reach. The Port Elizabeth Airport is also just 10 minutes away.
“I would definitely recommend this area to people in the market as it’s so close to the beach. There are also good pre-primary, primary and high schools within a radius of one or two kilometres; plenty of retirement villages and – during high season – a lot of entertainment close by,” says Sune.
According to her, properties in Summerstrand vary considerably and there are options to suit most buyers – from impressive, free-standing homes to convenient townhouses and lock-up-and-go apartments. “It caters to a wide range of people – single, married, young and old,” she says.
Given the fact that three Nelson Mandela University campuses are situated here, students are also well catered to, with many homeowners having added student accommodation to their homes over the years.
Since the beachfront is such a drawcard for tourists, especially in summer, there are also numerous hotels and guesthouses to suit all tastes and budgets.
The unbeatable location is a big plus for people looking to buy properties, too. Many of these properties boast appealing views and being so close to the beach, is a decided boon. “Our home is located in the older part of Summerstrand. I love that it’s spacious, with a big garden, and also close to schools,” says Sune.
There are schools ranging from preprimary to high school and then of course tertiary education in Summerstrand. “My kids have been to Dolfyntjie Preprimary, followed by Summerwood Primary and then Pearson High School. We think back with fond memories to the schools they attended,” Sune says. “The schools provide excellent academic support and offer a wide range of cultural activities and great sport facilities.” Cape Recife school also has a solid reputation, and strives to provide quality education and support services for pupils with special education needs.
Hobie Beach, which is also the scene of the annual Splash Festival centred around Shark Rock Pier every Easter, is among the most sought-after beaches. Pollok Beach is also popular and you’ll frequently see windsurfers, surfers and other watersports enthusiasts in the area. The entire beachfront promenade is also popular for walks – the walk from the pier to Something Good is a great choice.
The Boardwalk caters to all ages and has a casino for the adults, with no fewer than 700 slot machines and 20 gaming tables available. There’s an entertainment centre, mini golf and go-karting for younger people, as well as a variety of eating establishments and shops inside the complex. Entertainment is always on offer, either at the amphitheatre or at the convention centre.
Golf enthusiasts can head to the Humewood golf course while Bayworld and the museum complex just opposite Humewood Beach would make for a fun weekend or school holiday visit.
Another great feature of Summerstrand, when it’s running, is the Apple Express steam train which departs from the station at Kings Beach. It also runs between PE and Loerie
Sune Diedericks, resident
- There’s so much to do in Summerstrand. You could either spend the day at the beach relaxing or try your hand at watersports.
- At Bayworld you’ll see penguins and seals at the oceanarium.
- The museum provides a fascinating glimpse into the Bay’s historic and pre-historic past.
- The snake park at Bayworld is also worth checking out.
- Happy Valley with its lush, green pathways is still popular with families over weekends, but best avoided after dark.
- Cape Recife Nature Reserve boasts a stunning beach, rolling dunes, coastal fynbos, marine and birdlife, rock pools, and a 133-year-old lighthouse.
- The reserve is renowned as a must-do birding site in Port Elizabeth for marine and freshwater birds. The tern roost at Cape Recife is considered the best place in SA to spot the Roseate tern. Seven species of tern are found here including the Roseate tern, Antarctic tern and occasionally the Damara tern. Waterbirds that are often seen include the Little Bittern, South African Shellduck, African Black Oystercatcher and Southern Tchagra.
There is limited shopping in terms of malls and big centres in the area. “Summerstrand Village and the Spar complex in Humewood provide all the necessities,” says Sune. There are also some shops at the Boardwalk.
- Spur: family-friendly fare
- Something Good: fun road-house/surfer vibe with great burgers
- Blue Waters Café
- Coachman on the Bay
- La Kouzina
- Ocean Basket
- Company Social Brasserie
- Ginger Restaurant
- Barneys Tavern
- John Dorys