Port Elizabeth  (or just PE if you want to sound South African) is South Africa's fifth largest city and is located on the Indian Ocean coast half-way between Cape Town and Durban, in the Eastern Cape, about 260 km from Knysna. Also known as the friendly city and the windy city, it tends to live up to both names.
A perfect complement to the Garden Route, the Friendly City is a major sea port and tourist destination set along the beautiful shores of Nelson Mandela Bay. The centre of the South African motor industry is spoiled by moderate and warm temperatures all year round with scattered rain throughout the year - climatic attributes which contribute to an outstanding quality of life. A popular and significant destination for water sports, Port Elizabeth also offers many historical attractions, such as the Historic Donkin Heritage trail, taking visitors along the footsteps of the 1820 settlers. British heritage is reflected in the Port Elizabeth Cricket Club, and the Oldest Bowling Green in South Africa. Port Elizabeth’s greatest treasures, however, are malaria-free wildlife areas in its vicinity, and clean beaches washed by warm water.
Port Elizabeth was founded by British settlers in 1820 and was named after the wife of Rufane Donkin, Acting Governor of the Cape Colony at that time. The city is located on the Algoa Bay and forms together with the neighboring towns of Uitenhage and Despatch the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality.
The tourist information is in the Donkin Reserve in the town center and another office at The Boardwalk (Marine Drive).
Port Elizabeth Airport is located just a few kilometres out of the city and has regular flights to Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and other South African airports. See also Discount airlines in Africa.
The central train station is in the city centre near the harbour.
Shosholoza Meyl  operates daily inter-city trains to Johannesburg and Bloemfontein. You can also get to Cape Town, Kimberley, Pietermaritzburg and Durban (by changing trains in Bloemfontein), to East London (by changing trains in Noupoort, Colesburg or Bloemfontein), to Mthatha (by changing trains in Noupoort and Amabele) or to Grahamstown (by changing trains in Alicedale).
Premier Classe  operates twice-weekly luxury trains to Cape Town via George and Oudtshoorn.
MetroRail  operates frequent commuter trains to Uitenhage and the surrounding suburbs during weekdays, with a reduced service over weekends.
The Apple Express  is a narrow-gauge (2 feet/610 mm) tourist train that operates from a separate station in Humewood Road near King's Beach. It departs regularly for Thornhill Village via the Van Staden's River bridge, the highest narrow-gauge rail bridge in the world.
Port Elizabeth is easily accessible by motorways from Cape Town (790 km) via the Garden Route, Bloemfontein and East London (310 km). Of course, you can also drive from Johannesburg.
All major South African coach companies offer regular schedules to and from Port Elizabeth. The city is also on the Baz Bus route.
All the national car rental agencies have offices in the city.
- CABS Car hire, 90A Hugh Road, Walmer, ☎ +27 (0)21 386 5500 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)21 385 1110), .
- First Car Rental, Port Elizabeth Airport, No.1 De Haviland Ave, Walmer, ☎ +27 (0) 41 581 1123 ([email protected]), .
There is a public bus transport system within the city. For the world cup 2010, the system has gone a major renovation with new buses and you wait no longer than 15 minutes to get a bus. Schedules can be obtained online on http://www.algoabus.co.za/port-elizabeth-bus-routes/route_list/schedule.aspx.
Maybe the buses do not cover the nooks and crannys of the city, but then why not hop on one of the many city tours available? In Port Elizabeth, using the Public transport has not been a problem - this is used commonly by tourits, students and locals. Yes in South Africa, like in many countries in Africa and other continents, tourists should remain alert, aware of their environment and use common sense.
- Algoa Bus Company, ☎ +27 (0)41 404-1200.
- Hurter Cabs, ☎ +27 (0)41 585-5500 ([email protected]). Credit cards accepted.
- King Cab, ☎ +27 (0)41 368-5559. Credit cards accepted.
The main form of transportation for most people is the (minibus) taxi. Toyota Hiaces or VW Caravelles or the like, modified to cram in as many seats as possible, will take you across town for R4.50. Some of them are still more a road hazard than anything, but a recent clean-up in the taxi industry means that their standards are improving.
Each taxi operates on a laid-out route. They are more frequent during daytime than at night.
How to get on. Stand on the curve of a trafficked road. When a taxi approaches, it may flash its headlights to 'ask' if you want to go. Just stick your hand out.
How to get off. You might be able to tell the 'bouncer' your desired destination when you pay, but in any case just tell the driver "next stop", in a clear, firm voice, if you can make yourself heard above the music pounding from the sound system.
Note that this is not always a safe way to travel.
- As of Feb 2009, taxi strikes have become common. Taxi drivers are protesting the new transportation plans and upgrades ahead of the 2010 world cup. In early February a PE taxi protest turned violent with taxi drivers stoning buses and possibly aiding in the derailment of a train outside PE.
Live entertainment at the Boardwalk
- Donkin Reserve. In memory of Rufane Donkin and his wife Elizabeth, after whom the city is named. The lighthouse built in 1861 is open to the public. PE tourism has their office here
- Townships: organized tours are offered by the Tourist information. There is a safety concern regarding township tours though.
- Alexandria Dune Fields. The largest coastal dune field in the southern hemisphere is located just outside PE at the villages of Colchester and Cannonville.
- Tour Nelson Mandela Bay City, Dickens Street, Central Port Elizabeth, ☎ +27 (0)41 373-7758, . See Town Hall, Feather Market Hall, the Old Post Office, Fort Frederick, Donkin Reserve, Settlers Park, and the Horse Memorial all in one fabulous tour.
- Wezandla African Arts and Crafts Gallery, 27 Baakens Str, ☎ +27 (0)41 585-1185 (fax: +27 (0)41 585-1186), . Browse African Art
Museums, Galleries and Heritage
Dolphin Show at the Bayworld
SAAF Museum Oxford restoration project
- South Africa Airforce Museum, ☎ +27 (0)41 505-1295 (fax: +27 (0)41 505-1403), . Open 8AM to 3:30PM Mon to Fri and 10AM to 6PM on Sun. Entrance is free.
- Bayworld, Marine Drive, Humewood, ☎ +27 (0)41 584-0650, . Open 9AM to 4:30PM.. Has a museum, oceanarium and snake park. There are currently no dolphin performances.
- Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum, 1 Park Drive, Central (St George's Park entrance), ☎ +27 (0)41 506-2000, . M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa-Su 2PM-5PM. A selection of South African art, especially from the Eastern Cape.
- No 7 Castle Hill Museum, ☎ +27 (0)41 582-2515. Open 10AM to 1PM and 2PM to 5PM, Tuesday to Friday. 2PM to 5PM on Mondays and 10AM to 1PM on Saturdays. Dating back to 1827, it is the oldest Settler cottage in PE. Entrance fee is R6.
- Red Location Museum, ☎ +27 (0)41 408-8400 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)41 408-8401), . 10am to 4pm Tues to Fri and 9am to 3pm Sat and Sun. The museum which bridges the past with the future Adults:R12, Pensioners, Disabled and Unemployed: Free on Wed between 12pm and 4pm, Discount for students.
PE is a wonderful jumping-off spot for game viewing. There are elephants and other birds and animals at Addo Elephant National Park and many privately owned game reserves in the area.
- African Dawn (Wildlife Sanctuary), . African Dawn Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary offers a selection of birds and wildlife to view
- Beaches. Hobie, Humewood, Kings and Wells Estate Beach are the main swimming beaches. Humewood, Wells, Kings and Hobie have all been awarded Blue Flag status .
- Algoa Bay Yacht Club, . Have a meal and go sailing
- Apple Express, ☎ +27 (0)41 583-2030, . A 100 km narrow gauge classic steam trip with a stop on the Van Stadens River Bridge. R130 for adults and R60 for kids under 13.
- Boardwalk Casino, ☎ +27 (0)41 507-7777 ([email protected]).
- Kragga Kamma Game Park, (Follow the M15 west from the city center for about 15 minutes), ☎ +27 (0)41 379-4195 ([email protected]), . Gates are open from 8AM to 5PM. You can either sleep in the camp or take self drives during the Day. White Rhino, Buffalo, Cheetah, Giraffe, Zebra and others. Excellent value small park. R30 entrance fee.
- Links Humewood Golf course, .
- Raggy Charters, ☎ +27 (0)41 378-2528 ([email protected]). Whale Watching, Penguin Island Cruises and Fishing Charters
- The Mountain Club of South Africa, ☎ +27 (0)41 365-5543 ([email protected]), . Climbs, walks and a rock climbing school.
- Voetsac Hiking Club, ☎ +27 (0)41 581-2109. There are a number of hiking trail, and walks in and around the city: Maitland Nature Reserve, Aloe Hiking Trail and more.
- The Peoples Observatory, cnr Westview and Macfarlane, Newton Park, ☎ +27 (0)41 363-9040. Meetings every first and third Wednesday of the month at 8PM. View the southern skies.
- Roseate Tern hiking trial, Next to Pine Lodge Resort off Marine Drive, Summerstrand, ☎ +27 (0)41 585-9711. 9 km circular trail.
- Sandboarding, ☎ +27 (0)41 586-2276 ([email protected]). The Maitland dune mountain is one of the largest in the country and perfect for sand boarding.
- Surf. The Pipe at Pollok Beach is where you want to go for surfing.
- Eastern Cape Wilderness Motorcycle Tour, (Central Port Elizabeth, Dickens Street), ☎ +27 (0)41 373-7785 ([email protected]), . A motorcycle tour starting and ending in Port Elizabeth that takes you through the superb Eastern, Southern and Western Cape regions of South Africa.
- Chelsea Mashie Golf Club (Chelsea Mashie Golf), ((Follow the M15 west from the city center for about 15 minutes) Next to 'Kragga Kamma Game Park'), ☎ +27 (0)82 774 7679, . (33°58'41S,25°27'55E)
- Sakhume Museum & Xhosa Culture Centre, Human Dignity Centre (On the road leading from Walmer 10th Ave to Schoenmakerskop (Victoria Drive) Beyond and opposite the Walmer Country Club.), ☎ 0769786627/014-3662082. 9-15H00. The Walmer Township is one of the only areas in south Africa that avoided forced removals. The friendly community is poised to welcome you to their culture and to show you their history. Tours leave every hour on the hour Monday to Friday from the 14th June 2010. If you contact us before visiting, we will ensure a Xhosa Culture presentation. You will also be able to view a children's project and locals will be available to take you into the township to see shacks and local life first hand. R20 p.p.
There are a number of very good diving locations:
- Bell Buoy - Depth 12m to 18m. Colorful soft coral and a rocky bottom.
- Devil's Reef - Depth 7m with pinnacles up to 1m.
- Evan's Peak - Depth 12m to 40m. Close to St. Croix island.
- Haerlem Wreck - Depth 21m. Navy vessel sunk in 1987
- Phillips Reef - Visibility up to 10m.
- Riy Banks - Depth 18m to 40m. Coral and game fish.
- Thunderbolt Reef - Depth 15m to 30m. Orange and lilac hard coral.
- Ocean Divers International, 10 Albert Road, Walmer, ☎ +27 (0)41 581-5121 ([email protected]), . One of the oldest dive schools in South Africa. PADI courses, own training center with indoor pool.
- Pro Dive, (At Hobie Beach), ☎ +27 (0)41 368-7880, .
- Curios can be bought along the beach. Haggle down the prices though.
- African Hides can be purchased by appointment from Ostrich Emporium SA +27 (0)41 5812148.
- Siyalcha Dolls, ☎ +27 (0)41 454-3465. Traditional Xhoza dolls
The Boardwalk Shopping Complex
- The Boardwalk, Marine Drive, Summerstrand, ☎ +27 (0)41 507-777 ([email protected]). Offers several shops. fast-food restaurants and a casino
- Greenacres Shopping Centre. An excellent place to spend a Saturday at around noon. There are many, many shops and plenty of restaurants. There is a lively vibe over the weekend, and the mall can be reached easily. It is also commonly refered to as "The Bridge", because it is joined to the mall of that name.
- Walmer Park Shopping Centre. A nice place to eat at, and there are a few nice shops.
Brooke's Pavilion has excellent views over the beaches and ocean. Any one of the restaurants there are a good idea for breakfast with a view.
- Blue Waters Cafe, . Well priced and has an excellent view of the ocean.
- Fishmonger, The Broadwalk, Marine Drive, Summerstrand, ☎ +27 (0)41 583-6895. Indulge yourself in succulent prawns, calamari, fish & chips and curries.
- Leonardo's, The Broadwalk, Marine Drive, Summerstrand, ☎ +27 (0)41 583-1302 (fax: +27 (0)41 583-1304). Fantastic pizza, and has a very pleasant atmosphere.
- Mauro's, Restaurant No. 1, McArthur Bath, Beach Road, Humewood, ☎ +27 (0)41 582-2700 (fax: +27 (0)41 582-3629). About R100 a meal.
- Ocean Grill, Mercado Centre, Corner of Admiralty and Strandfontein Roads, Summerstrand. Seafood restaurant with classy and elegant decor ; serves good sushi and other seafood meals.
- Old Austria. Is just off Cape Road and is one of the classier restaurants in Port Elizabeth.
- The Oyster Catcher, ☎ +27 (0)41 582-1867 (fax: +27 (0)41 582-1869). Located in the harbour. The seafood is particularly tasty. Very popular - if you want to get a table you must make a reservation.
- Tiffany's, Brookes Hill, Beach Road, Humewood, ☎ +27 (0)41 584-0696. Tea, coffee, light meals and fantastic pastries and cakes in a great location looking out over the sea.
- Barney's Tavarn, ☎ +27 (0)41 583-4500. Lively pub.
- Ekhaya Pub, ☎ +27 (0)41 586-1156. For African Jazz
- Ibhayi Brewery Tours, 47 Kohler Street, ☎ +27 (0)41 404-3527 ([email protected]). Tour the beer brewery and have a couple of pints at the Bay and Barrel afterwards.
- News Cafe. Located at the Boardwalk and is always lively and full. They serve good food, and it is a nice place to catch a drink.
- Blackbeards Tavern, Within The Chapman Hotel, . Does a splendid Seafood Extravaganza.
- Tapas Part of Brookes pavilions. Live music over weekends. Good place to get loaded on beers. Get there early if you want to sit down.
- Rasoi, 79 Heugh Road, Walmer, ☎ +27-41-581-0333. This is an excellent place for Indian food. The ambiance is nice, and the staff is extremely friendly. It is a great idea to catch a dinner at Rasoi when in PE.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
|| Under R500
|| R500 to R1000
|| Over R1000
Accommodation ranges from hostels to more luxury accommodation. Whatever you want, you can find without trouble.
- Kings Beach Backpackers, 41 Windermere Road, Humewood, ☎ +27 (0)41 585-8113 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)41 585-1693), . Cool little backpackers with friendly staff. Check out the kitchen you have to add your name and comment to the millions added over the years by previous backpackers. The staff can arrange safari trips to Addo and Schotia Safari Parks for around R1000 (be warned that this is R200 more expensive than doing it yourself, but this does include travel to and from the parks, which are approx 30 miles away. From R60 pppn.
- Lungile Backpackers, 12 La Roche Drive, Humewood, ☎ +27 (0)41 585-2042 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)41 585-2083). Offers private single/ double rooms as well as dorms and has a pool.
- Port Elizabeth Backpackers, 7 Prospect Hill, Central, ☎ +27 (0)41 586-0697 ([email protected]), . Doubles R220, singles R150 and dorms R80pn.
- Algoa Guest House, 87 Brighton Drive, Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth, ☎ +27 (0)41 583-3511, . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. We are located in the beautiful upmarket seaside suburb of Summerstrand - only 200 metres from the beach and in close proximity to the airport, university, golf course, restaurants and casino. Tourists and business people alike enjoy a relaxing stay at Algoa Guest House. All suites are private and comfortable with a mini kitchenette and their own entrances and patios. Suites are serviced daily and have free internet access, TV’s and DVD facilities. from R320 per person sharing.
- The Admiralty Beach House, 9 Admiralty Way, Summerstrand, ☎ +27 (0)41 583-1271 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)41 583-3720), . Located 100m from Summerstrands Beach, near Marine Drive. It features a wonderful garden and some rooms have sea-view. ADSL is available in all rooms From R340.
- Alcyone Accommodation, 29 Admiralty Way, Summerstrand, ☎ +27 (0)84 693-1483, . Offers you self-catering accommodation in private en-suite units that sleep 2max, family unit sleeping 4-5, and a 1 bedroom appartment with views sleeping max 3; 500m from the beach, close to the Humewood Golf course and Hobbie Beach; self-contained, fully equipped and with complimentary Wi-Fi From R400.
- At Sta-Plus Guest House, 11A 10th Avenue, Summerstrand, ☎ +27 (0)41 583-34112 ([email protected]), . Large sheltered swimming pool, BBQ facilities, off-street parking, laundry service. 150m from Pollock Beach, 5 min from golf course, university, or boardwalk casino.
- Beachwalk B&B, 1 Second Ave, Summerstrand, ☎ +27 (0)41 583-3594 ([email protected]), . 60m from the beach and 400m from the Boardwalk. 4 star From R250 pp sharing.
- Bishops Inn, 14 Killarney Road, ☎ +27 (0)41 585-6828 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)41 585-6850), . checkin: 2:30PM; checkout: 10:30AM. Bishops Inn offers superior rooms and 1&2-Bedroom self-catering suites opposite Kings Beach. All rooms have Wi-Fi access. From R540 to R1200 per unit per night. (33°58'29.81S,25°38'26.95E)
- Conifer Beach House, 39 Windermere Road, Humewood, ☎ +27(0)41 585-5959 ([email protected]), . 4 Star accommodation. Saltwater swimming pool, 2 minutes walk from Kings Beach, off-street parking, laundry service, WiFi. Close to golf course, university and boardwalk casino.
- Edward Protea Hotel, Belmont Terrace, ☎ +27 (0)41 586-2056 (fax: +27 (0)41 586-4925). Located on the northern end of the Donkin Reserve. May have seen better times but still offers Edwardian style and wonderful views over the Donkin Reserve to the Ocean.
- Holiday Inn, La Roche Drive, Humewood. Close to King's Beach. The hotel is a short walk away from Bayworld Aquarium.
- Homeleigh Halt Guest House, 253 Main Road, Walmer, ☎ +27 (0)83 414-3301 ([email protected]), . From R290pps incl. breakfast.
- Jabula Lodge, 36 Avonmount, Summerstrand, ☎ +27 (0)41 583-1263 ([email protected]), . From R560 per room.
- Kragga Kamma Game Park, (Follow the M15 west from the city center for about 15 minutes), ☎ +27 (0)41 379-4195 ([email protected]), . Luxury tents, thatched chalets, log cabins and thatched lodges. Book for two nights or more and get a free game drive From R150 to R300 per person per night.
- Pine Lodge Resort, Marine Drive, Cape Recife, ☎ +27 (0)41 583-4004 ([email protected]), . 3 star log cabins in the Cape Recife Nature Reserve From R300 to R1000 per unit per night.
- Sir Roys at the Sea, Cnr Perrot and Newcon roads, Humerail, ☎ +27 (0)41 582-2377 ([email protected]), . From R350 pp sharing.
- Treetops Guest House, 44 Albert road, Walmer, ☎ +27 (0)41 581-0147 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)41 581-5525). Free transfers to and from the airport
- The Beach Hotel, In the Boardwalk complex, ☎ +27 (0)41 583-2161 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)41 583-6220), . 4 star From R675 to R1300pps.
- Hacklewood Hill Country House, Prospect Road, Walmer, ☎ +27 (0)41 581-1300 ([email protected]), . Luxury 5 star treatment. WiFi available From R1,335pps.
- Belgian, 16C Lower Valley Road, Baakens Valley, ☎ +27 (0)41 582-2275. 9AM to 12PM, Monday to Friday.
- British, 5th Floor, First Bowring House, 66 Ring Road, Greenacres, ☎ +27 (0)41 363-8840 (fax: +27 (0)41 363-8842). Open 9AM to 12:30PM, Monday to Friday.
- Danish, 3 Fearick Street, Sidwell, ☎ +27 (0)41 453-2696. 8AM to 5PM, Monday to Thursday and 8AM to 12PM on Friday.
- French, 3 Digby Road, Framesby, ☎ +27 (0)41 360-2730. 8AM to 4:30PM, Monday to Friday.
- German, 1 Circular Drive / The Fig Tree, ☎ +27 (0)41 397-4721 (fax: +27 (0)41 397-4730). Open 8:30AM to 12:30PM, Monday to Friday. (33°58'44.62S,25°33'10.58E)
- Italian, 16 Dyason Street, Mount Croix, ☎ +27 (0)41 373-6443. 10:30AM to 12:30PM, Monday and Wednesday and 8:30AM to 10:30PM, Tuesday and Friday.
There are many local safari and nature parks within easy reach of PE:
|This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!