The Nelson Mandela Metropole,
including Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and Despatch, is the
capital of the sunshine coast and is increasingly
positioning itself as the Watersports Capital of Africa.
Located on the South Eastern Coastline of Africa, Port
Elizabeth has the largest seaport in the Eastern Cape.
The magnificent coastline stretches from the forests of
the Tsitsikamma along hundreds of kilometres of sandy
beaches and rocky shores to East London.
Port Elizabeth is often referred to as “The Friendly
City”, which makes it the perfect destination for
tourists. If you’re a resident embarking on a voyage of
rediscovery, Port Elizabeth’s diversity, beauty and
culture will enthral and enchant you time and time
again. A superb value-for-money holiday base, the city
offers a diverse selection of attractions as a
family-fun vacation destination including
eco-attractions, scenic nature trails, wildlife and
cultural experiences, as well as 40 km of breathtaking
coastline and beaches.
Discover South Africa’s most beautiful beaches. Get wet
and wild in the watersport scene or simply get lazy.
Peep into bygone days of Settler history. Ride a steam
train. Hike an eco-trail.
Surf with the dolphins. View
big five game just half an hour from the sea. Dine out.
And meet the locals over sundowners at festive
The Bay of Port Elizabeth is the gateway to the Eastern
Cape, and is the perfect complement to the Garden Route,
the Frontier Hinterland and the Sunshine Coast.
Sea temperatures range from 16°C in winter to 23°C in
summer. The average weather temperature for summer is
25°C and for winter 17°C, truly a perfect place to
With an estimated population of over 1.2 million, Port
Elizabeth is South Africa’s fifth largest city in terms
of population and its second largest in terms of area.
Often overlooked by travellers in search of glitz and
glamour, Port Elizabeth is probably South Africa’s
best-kept secret. Fantastic weather and an enormous
range of attractions make it a great place for a totally
Lovely old buildings
reflect PE’s past as an integral part of the development
of the Eastern Cape and South
Africa, and a host of cultural activities will offer you
and insight into the lives of other people.
A visit to
the cell in which Black Consciousness activist and
freedom struggle martyr Steve Biko was held before his
death is certainly an eye-opener and graveyard and ghost
tours are really far more positive than they may sound.
Port Elizabeth is a significant industrial centre, with
much emphasis on the motor manufacturing industry, so
it’s quite appropriate that it has the country’s most
impressive motor museum. For an innovative shopping
experience close to the beach, the Boardwalk has a whole
host of fashionable shops and some wonderful coffee
shops and restaurants, as well as a casino. It’s an
open-air space as opposed to a mall, and a semi-natural
water feature winds through the complex, which seems to
please a range of wild birds as well as shoppers.
Port Elizabeth is a great place to base yourself for a
while as it is so close to many other wonderful
destinations. You can do day trips to Addo Elephant
National Park, Shamwari, the Baviaanskloof, Port Alfred,
Jeffrey’s Bay or Grahamstown.
Within the metro limits
there are lovely walks, some fantastic mountain bike
trails, pretty good surfing, fantastic sailing,
windsurfing and kitesurfing, and great diving. You could
even dive in the predator tank of the Bayworld Aquarium.
There are some excellent golf courses, most notably
Humewood, which is the only true links course in South
One of Port Elizabeth’s greatest
assets is its clean and beautiful beaches. Water
temperatures vary between 18 and 23 degrees Celsius
during Summer and 14 and 19 degrees Celsius during
Winter. The sea conditions are generally calm in the
bay, except when the South Easterly wind is blowing.
Wide expanses of golden sands are ideal for safe and
sheltered swimming and other water sport and beach
activities. Most beaches are patrolled by fully trained
professional lifeguards during the Summer season.
Flag Campaign in South Africa
The Blue Flag is an international award given only to
those beaches that meet excellence in safety, amenities,
cleanliness and environmental standards.
The Blue Flag is awarded to beaches
that comply with criteria that are evaluated on an
on-going bases. The Flag is awarded annually and is only
valid for one year at a time. South Africa is the first
country outside of Europe to win Blue Flag accreditation
for one of it's beaches. Humewood Beach in Port
Elizabeth has again been awarded “blue flag” status for
the 2006/7 season.
Vast stretches of sand and dune beach, which provide
superb angling and swimming opportunities, are
characteristic of the Northern beaches. These include
Brighton Beach, Bluewater Bay and St. George’s Strand.
Wells Estate has a long pier over the dunes and the
complex includes a paddling pool and waterslides.
These beaches form part of the main beachfront area and
include Humewood, King’s, Hobie and Pollock Beaches.
King’s Beach is a magnificent 1,6 km-long expanse of
golden sand extending from the harbour wall to Humewood.
The beach is ideal for safe swimming, body surfing,
sunbathing and long beach walks, and includes family
entertainment facilities. The King’s Beach promenade
encompasses an extensive playground for children and
paddling pools for toddlers.
Hobie Beach with its landmark “Shark
Rock Pier” is one of Port Elizabeth’s main beaches and
bustles with activity, both in and out of the water
during the summertime. The beach is preferred for
swimming, sunbathing and body surfing, and also offers
sheltered rock pools with interesting inter-tidal sea
Humewood Beach is a favourite family
beach because it offers sheltered swimming, body surfing
and shade under the promenade and sheltered sub-way.
Pollock Beach or “The Pipe”, as it is known locally, is
favoured by surfers because of its excellent waves and
McArthur Pool and Leisure Centre
The recently upgraded McArthur Baths Swimming Pool
Complex, ideally situated along King’s Beach Promenade
adjoining Kings Beach, is now an international-class
water recreational facility.
The Complex comprises two
open-air, heated, fresh-water pools, a larger swimming
pool, changing rooms, a children’s water chute and
splash pool, as well as two up-market restaurants, and a
boutique. Life-guards are permanently on duty at the
complex. These Pools are open in-season, seven days a
week, from September to the following April.
Versatile Sardinia Bay, a marine reserve with miles of
unspoiled coastline and crystal clear water, is
excellent for diving, horse riding and scenic walks.
Sardinia Bay is also the starting point of the
Sacramento hiking trail, a very popular 8 km round-trip
coastal walk through the Schoenmakerskop-Sardinia Bay
Facts About Port Elizabeth
Port Elizabeth's weather is rated as
the fourth best climate of any coastal city in the world
Algoa Bay enjoys more sunshine hours than any other
coastal city in South Africa
Approximately 400 shipwrecks are to be found in and
around Algoa Bay
South Africa's one and only sea battle took place in
In 1898 the "Eastern Province Herald" became South
Africa's first daily newspaper
The main library houses books dating as far back as 1800
The Eastern Cape offers six of South Africa's seven
biomes (major habitats)
The Big Five can be seen in a malaria-free environment
Algoa Bay is one of the best sailing venues in the world
Port Elizabeth hosted South Africa's first international
cricket and rugby matches
Port Elizabeth has the oldest cricket
ground and the oldest bowling green in South Africa,
both in St George's Park which is itself the oldest park
in the country
The famous Apple Express steam train crosses Van
Staden's gorge on the highest narrow-gauge bridge in the
The Feather Market Hall was originally built to house
ostrich feather auctions
According to climatologists (although
contrary to popular bias), Port Elizabeth is the least windy coastal city in South Africa
There are more indigenous plant
species in the Port Elizabeth area than there are in the
entire British Isles