Did you know?
The Donkin Reserve is also known as the ‘balcony of the city’ of Port Elizabeth.
Art Route 67 in the Central area of Port Elizabeth is one of the most exciting South African inner-city developments of recent times.
Visual arts, urban design and heritage assets are all combined into an experience aimed at uniting all segments of a formerly divided community and showing the world what magic exists in the post-apartheid era.
Visit the Donkin Reserve in Central and take a walk down to the old lighthouse where, incidentally, you will also find the headquarters of Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism. You will find yourself surrounded by a mix of exquisite old Victorian churches, newly renovated, terraced cottages on Donkin Street, a lighthouse that once guided ships into Algoa Bay, and a large pyramid built by a former governor in memory of his deceased wife.
These are landmarks that always made Central special. Nowadays, however, there are more contemporary elements added to the reserve. There is the large metal cut-out resembling Nelson Mandela, fist raised in triumph, leading a line of South Africans as they vote peacefully on 27 April 1994.
Across the lawns there are sheltered booths of sea-blue hues, in the shape of ship sails. Near the terraced houses is a massive set of silver pipes that catch the famous winds of Port Elizabeth and turn them into tunes. And across from the elegant Edward Hotel, is a modern statue of a female holding a chair – open for interpretation by any passer-by. Sometimes, that’s the real charm of public art.
One of the most remarkable elements of Route 67 – a collection of 67 art pieces celebrating the years Nelson Mandela devoted to public life – is the mosaic at the base of the pyramid.
Stroll about this outdoor display and you’ll be exposed to the best elements of the Eastern Cape: the indigenous peopls, the settlers, modern-day sports personalities, Karoo scenes complete with windmills and springbok, nautical settings, and even modern-day traffic circles.
Then walk down the coloured steps past posted artworks, which continue to tell the South African story. Look back up at the lighthouse and you’ll see a wall with more incredibly finished figures: taxi passengers, newspaper vendors and jazz trumpeters, to name a few.
Art Route 67 has also been designed as an important tourism hub for the city, paying respect to its heritage, culture and arts. And as you stand next to a celebrating Mandela, raise your fist with his and wish the City of Port Elizabeth and all its people well...
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Umzantsi Afrika Tours
Tel: +27 (0)41 379 1629
Cell: +27 (0)82 822 4717
How to get here
Art Route 67 includes stopping-off points from Central in Port Elizabeth all the way to Uitenhage. Check the listed Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism website for details of the route.
Best time to visit
Many of the sights along the route are outdoors, so pick a clear, sunny day for your drive along Art Route 67.
Around the area
Trips to the Addo Elephant National Park area are popular; a drive up the coast to Port Alfred for lunch is also a great way to spend a day out of Port Elizabeth.
Tours to do
One of the specialist groups doing tours of Art Route 67 is Umzantsi Afrika Tours. See Contacts for details.
Because the points along Art Route 67 are often far apart, it’s best to follow the route in the company of a city guide.
What will it cost
Your major cost will be payment to a guide, who will take you around Art Route 67 at around R450 per person.
Length of stay
Set aside a half-day for your visit along Art Route 67.
What to pack
Don’t forget to pack a camera for stills or video – this is going to be a very visual experience.
Where to stay
Port Elizabeth has a good accommodation infrastructure – see the listed Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism website for details.
What to eat
Seafood restaurants abound in Summerstrand.
See the Events section of the listed Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism website for details.