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A 9 km circular walking trail starts at the entrance gate of the Nature Reserve and offers beautiful unspoilt beaches, natural dune vegetation, rocky outcrops, a lighthouse built in 1851, an old military observation post, as well as a bird hide. The Cape Recife Nature Reserve is also regarded as one of the best bird-watching venues around Port Elizabeth.

Port Elizabeth has arguably the most complete collection of surviving coast artillery buildings and equipment dating from the Second World War (1939-45) of any port in South Africa. But completeness is not their only claim to distinction. Prior to 1939, the harbour of Port Elizabeth had no defences excepting, of course, Fort Frederick, the square stone fort on the hill above the mouth of the Baakens River. This was built in 1799 to 1800 to guard the original landing place, before the arrival of the 1820 British Settlers and the development of the town.