Where to Stay - South Africa

Port Elizabeth Travel Guide (Eastern Cape)

Port Elizabeth

Eastern Cape Attractions

Port Elizabeth, often referred to as PE or the Friendly City, is the largest coastal city between Cape Town and Durban. This city is known for long hours of sunshine and lovely warm waters. The popular Algoa Bay which stretches along the coast attracts many visitors where they can enjoy the many water-sports on offer. Indeed there are over 40km of golden sandy beaches along what is known as Nelson Mandela Bay.

To the north you will find the New Brighton beach, which is ideal for swimming and fishing and the Bluewater Bay with its long stretch of white sand. In the evenings Hobie Beach is popular due to the proximity of the Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment area with its lively bars, clubs and restaurants. Each year Hobie Beach is also the venue for the popular Splash Festival as well as beach volleyball and boardsailing championships. This is the beach that locals frequent to worship the sun and it even has it�s very own pier � Shark Rock Pier.

If you are interested in snorkelling or scuba diving then head to Sardinia Bay which is a marina reserve. Indeed PE offers ship wrecks, coral reefs and wonderfully coloured fish in warm waters for the scuba divers amongst you. Other beaches to explore where nature hasn't conceded to the pressures of public invasion are Schoenmakerskop and Maitlands. At Maitlands you can try sandboarding on the huge dunes or watch the people paragliding. The walk to the top of the dunes at Maitland may be a bit of an effort but the views from the top are worth it and the ride down is amazing!.

In the heart of the town, known as Central, you will find Market Square which is very attractive. PE has many historical attractions including the Donkin Heritage Trail where visitors can trace the footsteps of the 1820 Settlers. This is a 5km trail passing by some 47 historical sites in the Old Hill area of central PE. Along the route there are information boards and signposts to ensure you stay on track.

Port Elizabeth is a perfect base to stay at as it is so close to other attractions such as Addo Elephant National Park, the Baviaanskloof, Port Alfred, Jeffreys Bay or Grahamstown. Within PE limits you can enjoy some lovely walks, great mountain bike trails, superb sailing, windsurfing and kite-surfing. If you are not shy then you could even dive in the predator tank at the Bayworld aquarium. In addition to all this there are also excellent golf course facilities including Humewood - the only true links course in South Africa.

If you take a drive out of Port Elizabeth along the N2 towards the Southern entrance of Addo you will arrive at Colchester. Here you can take a relaxing trip aboard the Sundays River Ferry which offers sunrise, day and sunset cruises along the Sundays River which last about 2 hours. The ferry is wheelchair friendly and can carry up to 30 passengers. The drive to the Sundays River Ferry from the airport at Port Elizabeth takes approximately 45 minutes. For reservations contact: (+27 (0)41 468 0140)

Just a short 30 minute drive from Port Elizabeth Airport is the Kragga Kamma Game Park. You can take a short self-drive through the Game Park where they have free-roaming Zebra, Giraffe, Buffalo, Nyala and other animals. If you don't want to drive yourself you can opt for the 2 hour guided drive. They also have a family of hand-reared Cheetah here as well as a monkey bridge to take a sky-walk over. For more information contact: (+27 (0)41 379 5646)

At the Southern end of Algoa Bay lies the Cape Recife Nature Reserve. Take a look around the Cape Recife Lighthouse which was put up in 1851 to protect ships from the Thunderbolt Reef which claimed the lives of many a sailor. Close by is the South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre (SAMREC) where the volunteers will gladly show you around the centre and the work that they do to rehabilitate birds back into nature. SAMREC Contact: (+27 (0)41 583 1830)

Check out our friend @2Summers who visited the SAMREC centre at Cape Recife in November 2013 who wrote this insightful blog with stunning photos. The centre is always trying to raise funds to improve the facility and services they provide and in particular to help save the African Penguin. 

Fact: Did you know that 60% of the global population of African Penguins live on the islands off Algoa Bay.

If you are on holiday in Port Elizabeth for a few days and wanting to take part in various activities or to see a variety of attractions you might want to check out the Nelson Mandela Bay Pass which provides access to a variety of attractions at discounted rates.

Attractions close to Port Elizabeth

  1. Addo National Elephant Park is 30 minutes away
  2. Shamwari Private Game Reserve is 30 minutes away
  3. Seaview Lion Park is 30 minutes away
  4. St. Georges Park Cricket Ground is within easy reach
  5. Tsitsikamma National Park - 2 hours drive
  6. Storms River - 2 hours drive
  7. Nature's Valley - 2 hours and 10 minutes drive
  8. Kragga Kamma Game Park - 30 minutes drive

Places to eat in Port Elizabeth
Cubana - located on the beachfront in the Humewood suburb of Port Elizabeth. Lovely spot to have lunch on a sunny day while enjoying the views across the Indian Ocean. At night the place is a popular nightspot with music and bar. (Contact Tel: +27 (0)41 582 5282)