A jewel in the Nelson Mandela Bay crown, the Chelsea Conservancy is much more than meets the eye.
The area is situated on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth and is a rare mix of bush and beach, with stunning homes on large properties in-between. With abundant vegetation and milkwood trees housing an array of birdlife, this part of the city also offers easy access to the beautiful beaches of Sardinia Bay.
Residents are extremely proud of the views from Chelsea, particularly the spectacular sunsets over the sea. They say the scenic coastal belt and the privacy make it an extra special little piece of the Eastern Cape.
With views of the sea, dune vegetation, wild flowers and fynbos, Chelsea is a long way from its humble beginnings as a popular hunting spot. Hunting was a popular pastime and a part of Port Elizabeth life for many years.
Sardinia Bay was once the source of a 7,000ha drift sands area that stretched all the way to Humewood in the late 1800s.
The entire area around the Chelsea Conservancy is given over to one nature reserve or another. A trail from Sardinia Bay beach crosses a wooden boardwalk across the sensitive dunes and over the parking lot, after which you enter the Sylvic Nature Reserve and Bushy Park.
It is arguably one of the most beautiful coastlines around, and those who live and work in the area agree.
“I often find tortoises and other interesting wildlife in our garden, and I love the vegetation. I also spend a lot of time walking my dogs on the several beautiful beaches in the area – they are valuable gems,” says resident Mandy Watson, who runs a popular hospitality venue in the area. “There are also several businesses operating in Chelsea and this makes for a great day out in the country.”
Things to do:
- Seaview Game and Lion Park
- Open Sky Entertainment Park
- Kragga Kamma Game Farm
Best in food:
- Elephant Walk Country Village: a restaurant and antique shop
- Barnacles: a seafood restaurant
- Grass Roof: a farm stall and restaurant
Shopping centres nearby:
- Sunridge Village Shopping Centre
- Baywest Mall
- Walker Drive Shopping Centre
I love the tranquillity, the countryside, the fresh air, the community and the fact that I am 10 minutes away from the hub of PE when I need a city fix.
Amanda Watson, resident and business owner
This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.