One of the leading tourist attractions in Port Elizabeth, Bayworld is unique in Southern Africa, embracing a natural and cultural history Museum combined with a Snake Park. It is located in the heart of the Nelson Mandela Bay beachfront and serves up a feast of educational entertainment to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
The main activities of the Complex are research and education aimed at stimulating a greater awareness of the need for conservation of South Africa’s natural and cultural heritage. Research and education programmes focus on marine life, reptiles, maritime and local history.
Bayworld consists of a Snake Park, The Port Elizabeth Museum and no. 7 Castle Hill Museum.
Port Elizabeth Museum
The Port Elizabeth Museum blends cultural with natural history and is the third oldest in South Africa. The museum consists of a Dinosaur, Marine, Bird, Maritime History, Costume and Local History Halls, as well as a Curiosity Corner, Xhosa Beadwork Gallery and the First People of the Bay exhibit.
Particularly interesting exhibits are the 15m skeleton of the last Southern right whale harpooned in Nelson Mandela Bay, a life-sized reconstruction of the giant local prehistoric dinosaur known as Algoasaurus, a replica of the Dias Cross and a 5m bronze cannon dated 1640, recovered from a Portuguese galleon wrecked near Port Elizabeth.
A number of snakes and other reptiles, as well as interesting informational material in a more compact fashion, are on display.
The park was closed in July 2005 in anticipation of the start of the first phase of the proposed redevelopment project. A section of the Snake Park is closed off to accommodate future construction. Reptiles on display include snakes, geckos, lizards, juvenile crocodiles, tortoises and terrapins.
No 7 Castle Hill
Situated in the city centre, No 7 Castle Hill is a Victorian house museum dating back to 1827. The house is a declared National Monument.
This picturesque cottage is one of the oldest remaining dwelling houses in Port Elizabeth and is furnished as a family home of the mid-Victorian period, depicting the early Settler way of life.