Eastern Cape DestinationsRedhouse, Port Elizabeth
The picturesque little village of Redhouse - the epitome of tranquillity - lies positioned right on the edge of the Swartkops River, about 15 minutes drive from Port Elizabeth. Life here is all about the river, its estuary and its adjacent saltpans - one of the best places in the country for sightings of the less common estuarine waders and terns, and, despite its urban setting, a ‘must see’ birding spot for fanatics and bird lovers.
Over 10 000 water birds come here in summer - the dense succulent thicket vegetation to the north protected by the Zwartkops Valley and Aloe Nature reserves – birding specialists recommend at least 3 hours to ‘bird’ the estuary and saltpans at low tide. You’ll catch more than a glimpse of flamingos, African black oystercatchers, sand plovers, sandpipers and little terns.
The nicest nearby beach is Bluewater Bay, but you’ll find that life on the Swartkops River is such that the sea needn’t feature in your holiday. The constant call of birds, river sailing and boating, swimming, skiing and river cruises mean that days easily slide into a happy water-filled existence that only needs the odd foray to a supermarket for supplies, or hiking and mountain biking in the Aloe or Zwartkops Valley reserves, to complete the picture of serenity.
But if living the colonial lifestyle in Redhouse - all that sailing and rowing - becomes a little tedious, then Amsterdamhoek, right on the Swartkops River estuary, is a wonderful place to catch a magnificent sunset, drink in hand.