Port Elizabeth, otherwise known as the Windy City, is South Africa’s fifth largest city and quite an undiscovered gem, thanks to its undeveloped coastline. It is part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, which unites Port Elizabeth with the inland industrial towns of Uitenhage and Despatch. Port Elizabeth’s long stretches of white beach and its historical significance have resulted in the city experiencing a revival of sorts. PE, as it is fondly known, is a vibrant city, with shopping, flea markets, great restaurants and other entertainment on offer. It has always been a family destination, so there are activities for both young and old.
PE is worth visiting for its surrounding attractions too – you can arrange day trips to game lodges, to the Addo Elephant National Park, to the cultural hub of Grahamstown and to Jeffrey’s Bay, famous for its impressive scenery and surfing. Life generally revolves around the ocean, even during the cooler winter months. PE’s Humewood beach has achieved Blue Flag status as a world-class beach venue. The city is a nature lover’s paradise, so don’t miss the boat cruises, diving opportunities, a visit to Seaview Game & Lion Park and an excursion to Bayworld, which incorporates an oceanarium, museum and snake park.
Algoa Bay, the coastal strip of Nelson Mandela Bay, has 40 km of beaches with protected areas for swimming, fishing, surfing, scuba diving, snorkelling and sailing. There is something magical about this coastal terrain. Closer to Port Elizabeth is the Seaview Game & Lion Park and the Kragga Kamma Game Park. Another popular activity is the Apple Express steam train trip from Port Elizabeth to Thornhill, where you can take in scenic views from the highest narrow-gauge bridge in the world.
You’re in the right place if you’re an adrenalin junkie. In Port Elizabeth, you can dive with sharks at the oceanarium at Bayworld. There are other dive sites too, including fascinating wreck dives. If you’re a keen cyclist, there are 2 mountain biking trails: the 23 km Baakens River trail and the 22 km circular route along the Swartkops Valley Nature Reserve.
How to get here
The centrally situated Nelson Mandela Bay Airport is within easy reach from all parts of the city. There are a number of flights connecting Port Elizabeth with domestic and international destinations. Best time to visit . As PE is in a winter rainfall area, the summer months of September to March are best
Where to stay
Whether your preference is a luxury hotel or a 5-star game lodge, a guesthouse in one of the townships or a B&B in the countryside - Port Elizabeth offers excellent and exciting possibilities.
Around the area
Port Elizabeth forms part of the Sunshine Coast, the coastal route between St Francis Bay and East London.
Tours to do
You can arrange day trips to game lodges, to the Addo Elephant National Park, to the cultural hub of Grahamstown and to Jeffrey’s Bay, famous for its impressive scenery and surfing.
Did You Know
The Friendly City, Port Elizabeth is sometimes also nicknamed The Windy City.