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Athletes from around the globe will travel to the bottom of Africa to compete in the seventh annual Spec-Savers Ironman South Africa held this weekend in Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth. This country has a rich history, unique beauty and a growing triathlon community. For those traveling to the race or will do any future traveling to South Africa, we take a look at what the area in and around Port Elizabeth has to offer.
Known for its sandy beaches and plenty of sunshine, Port Elizabeth is on the south eastern coast of South Africa. Temperatures are moderate year round, making for a long triathlon season. Waters are generally warm and beaches are safe, so anyonedesiring to work on open-water swimming skills can successfully do this at anytime of year. The city also offers plenty of parks for runners. Two of the largest are St. Georges Park, home to the world-famous Port Elizabeth Cricket Club, and Settler’s Park in the center of the city, which boasts exceptional flora and fauna.
A South African must-do is spending a day at a game reserve for a first-hand view of the abundant “Big Five” wildlife. Through the convenience and safety of an all-terrain vehicle, visitors can observe black and white rhino, buffalos, elephants, cheetahs and giraffes roaming throughout the expansivereserve. For those with extra time to spare, lodges and homesteads offer anextended safari experience complete with farmhouse dishes served to overnight guests.
South African gastronomy is often called “rainbow cuisine” as the dishes are a melting pot of flavors from immigrants of Indian, Afrikaner and British descent. South Africans maintain a deep love of barbecue, called “braai” in the country, and also of biltong, a dried preserved meat. Meats such as chicken, goat, beef and sheep frequent dinner tables—South Africa is known as a carnivorous nation. Most meals are also served with a mixture of vegetables.
South African Shout Outs:
Shamwari Game Reserve
Shamwari is situated in verdant bush along the Bushmans River, halfway between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown
The Radisson Blu Hotel
Ironman’s hosthotel for the 2011 events and home to the registration and expo
Port Elizabeth’s #1 Cycling Shop
Hackelwood Hill Country House
Stop in for some authentic South African fare in a quaint environment