Sacramento Trail: PE’s 3-hour morning walk!

I love Port Elizabeth.  There is so much to do, and it’s all so close to the city. Or should I say town?!!  I’ve heard it’s been called the 20 minute city, because everything is 20 minutes away.

The Sacramento Trail is a scenic 20km drive along the Indian Ocean
The start point of the Sacramento Trail is a scenic 23km drive from the city

Admittedly, the drive along Marine Drive to the Sacramento trail takes 28 minutes from the city. But if I had gone the direct route it would’ve been 20 min.  Case closed!

Directions

I took a mini-break down to PE last month for my sister-in-laws baby shower.  What’s a man to do when the girls are doing girly stuff?  Go for a beer at Barneys and/or head off for a wee-hike.

You can hardly call the Sacramento a hike.  The 6,2km out-and-back path only takes 2-3 hours to navigate. Even an unfit version of yourself can do it!  It really is a hike for all.  And it’s free.

There is plenty of parking at the start of the trail just past Schoenmakerskop.  You can also park at Sardinia Bay and walk the reverse if you fancy.

The Nelson Mandela Bay official website has more info

Trail distance
The trail is 3,1km in one direction

The south western seaboard of PE is called the wild side.  For a reason! It is exposed to the full brunt of the southern winds and the harsh ocean.  Even if it’s peaceful in PE, when you round the Cape Recife peninsula you’ll need a wind breaker.

The full devastation of the fires along South Africa’s garden route were clearly visible.  Even as far east as PE, the dryness has taken its toll. In June 2017, the residents of Sardinia and Schoenmakerskop were evacuated.  Fortunately, no lives were lost.

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I was warned about safety, especially as I was walking alone. I prefer not to live my life in paralysis so I threw caution to the wind and laced-up.  Fortunately, I wasn’t alone walking the trail. There were several other groups of walkers within sight if things turned gangster!   I would be remiss if I recommended you follow my approach.  Walking in groups is best.  Disclaimer done!  Lol!

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Why is it called the Sacarmento?   A Portuguese galleon (ship) named “The Sacramento” sank off the coast on 30 June 1647.  All that remains is a salvaged cannon that is now a memorial. History lesson aside, there are 2 paths to choose from.  The upper-path, through fynbos was fire damaged, and all the tiny floral detail was cremated.  What’s the point?  Wait another year before you try this option. Instead I took the beach path.  I had come all the way to the sea, so why would I not want to walk with the ocean along side me?

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It took a few minutes to get used to the howling head-wind in my ears, but after a few hundred meters, peace and tranquility was found in the simplicity of just being free. Away from city life and everyday stresses.

That’s what walking is all about.  Being free.

The halfway point at Sardinia Bay beach rewarded me with some incredible views atop the massive dunes.  The dunes are ever-moving and at times the car park below is cut off from the access road. Cool!

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PS: The toilets at Sardinia Bay are clean.

The walk back was a tad easier. With the wind now on my back I scurried over the sandy path with ease.  45 minutes later I was back at the car park at Schoenmakerskop.  If you don’t dawdle the walk will take a brisk 1,5 hours.  If you stop to smell the fynbos, 3!  With a cold beer waiting for me at PE’s most famous pub, Barney’s Tavern, I had extra motivation!

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When the fynbos grows back the hike is probably amazing from a floral diversity point of view

 

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