|The Port Elizabeth Quick Travel Guide|
Port Elizabeth Full Travel Guide (for those who want a little more info!)
Port Elizabeth Overview
Set along the beautiful shores of Algoa Bay at the end of the famous Garden Route, Port Elizabeth has a wide choice of excellent restaurants, many situated along the picturesque waterfront, where you can enjoy cuisine from all parts of the world. The nightlife in Port Elizabeth is varied and vibey and there are plenty of activities to keep the whole family amused, including a great range of water sports, excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, museums and shopping.
How to get to Port Elizabeth
Drive from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth and you will experience the wonders of an entirely different but no less striking landscape with a route taking through the vast and scenic Karoo – also well worth a visit. International visitors could also choose to fly into the exciting city of Durban and travel by car down the Wild Coast to Port Elizabeth.
Hiring a car and exploring Port Elizabeth and other beautiful Garden Route and Eastern Cape towns such as Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Oudtshoorn and Jeffrey’s Bay makes for an excellent holiday and would be our recommended way of seeing the Garden Route and Eastern Cape.
When to go
The most popular time to visit Port Elizabeth tends to be between December and February, when temperatures are generally around 25°C, it is fairly dry and many people flock to the coast to enjoy the numerous water sports and other activities on offer, it can get a little busy at this time of year.
March and April are often a little quieter, but still enjoy great weather and are a great time to visit Port Elizabeth. The winter months of July and August are generally very quiet and are a great time to go if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the peak season and you can often experience very pleasant weather. It is worth booking accommodation in advance during peak and holiday seasons (Dec – Feb), but on the whole any time of year is a good time to visit Port Elizabeth and indeed the whole Garden Route.
Things to do in Port Elizabeth
Beaches and Water Sports
The calm, clean waters and breezy conditions mean that sailing, surfing and wind surfing are extremely popular (although you may need your own gear), Kite surfing is also a big favourite in Port Elizabeth - lessons are available for both beginners and more advanced kite surfers and scuba diving is also possible all year round with plenty to see from ship wrecks and coral reefs, teeming with small marine life to larger fish and sharks.
A day at the beach is a must in Port Elizabeth – we like King’s Beach for a family day out as it has a swimming pool, playground, paddling pools and a mini golf course. Hobie Beach is also a good Port Elizabeth beach and is good for swimming – it’s just opposite the Boardwalk Entertainment Centre, so there are plenty of places to eat and shop nearby. Surfers should head to Summerstrand where there are decent waves.
Cultural and Historical
Follow in the footsteps of the 1820’s settlers on the Donkin Heritage Trail, which takes in many of Port Elizabeth’s historical areas and sites. The Donkin Heritage Trail takes you through the picturesque Donkin Reserve, Port Elizabeth’s Market Square and past the historical City Hall, Library and to the famous No. 7 Castle Hill Museum – an original 1820’s Settler Cottage which showcases the way of life of the European settlers to this region. We would advise if you plan to walk this trail, that you go during the morning and in a group.
Port Elizabeth also has many beautiful landscaped parks such as the Settlers Park, which are great for gentle strolls and bird watching and the Manville Open Air Theatre in St George’s Park as well as Fort Frederick in Central Port Elizabeth are well worth an explore for a short afternoon or morning activity, although we would recommend never going here alone and to always take care.
There is no shortage of museums and art galleries in Port Elizabeth. Try a visit to the iconic Bayworld museum complex with a variety of exhibits such as an aquarium and reptile park or spend a morning taking in Port Elizabeth’s more artistic side in Richmond Hill.
Another truly South African experience that should not be missed is a township tour. Nelson Mandela Bay Townships exude tradition, history and culture and offer a great insight into the many facets of life in South Africa. The Red Location Museum also provides an interesting and moving insight into South Africa's Apartheid past.
Nature and Wildlife
Take a day trip to Addo Elephant National Park from Port Elizabeth (just over an hour’s drive) or for something a little closer spend a family day at Kragga Kamma Game Park, which is just a 10 minute drive from the city and has a great range of animals to see and you can drive yourself around or take an organised game drive – whichever you prefer.
Bird watching is also a popular activity in Port Elizabeth and the Settler’s Park is a great place to do this – there are even guided bird watching walks every first Saturday and third Thursday of the month from the main car park – but get there early as they start at 08h00 in the summer and 08h30 in the winter.
Whale and dolphin watching are a great way to spend some time seeing the local wild life in Port Elizabeth and fishing trips also offer a great way to keep the kids entertained on your Port Elizabeth holiday.
Eating out and Nightlife in Port Elizabeth
Accommodation in Port Elizabeth
Port Elizabeth Virtual Tour:
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