The Eastern Cape is home to Port Elizabeth, South Africa’s ‘Friendly City’; also known as the ‘Windy City’, due to its subtropical climate. This summer holiday destination and its surrounding regions Jeffrey’s Bay and St. Francis Bay offer the most incredible coastlines, with adventure on the top of the list of things to do in this city.
No international flights in or out of Port Elizabeth airport, however you will be able to catch your connecting international flight via Cape Town or Johannesburg. Also, the airport is a 15-minute radius from almost anywhere in the city so convenience is the order of your trip if you ever have to catch flights to Port Elizabeth.
Home to South Africa’s motor vehicle industry, with vehicle assembly plants like General Motors, Volkswagen, Ford, Continental Tyres and more running their operations in the city, it was also a commercial hub that traded in wool , mohair and ostrich features before the up-country gold and diamond booms.
These days, visitors travel to the city for pure entertainment. Here’s a list of places to see and things to do while you’re in town.
Addo Elephant Park – Park – Spend a few hours encompassed by the Eastern Cape’s pristine landscape with more than 550 elephants roaming around the property. Having expanded to conserve a wide range of wildlife and flora, this is the third largest national park in South Africa.
Donkin Heritage Trail – Escape the city and take on the 5km trail following the steps of the famous 1820 Settlers. Aptly named after the acting governor of the Cape Colony at the time, Sir Rufane Donkin, this trail links more than 47 national monuments and historical sites. You will also learn some interesting facts that will enlighten you about the city’s history.
Maitland Sand Dunes – If it is adrenaline that you are in search of, sandboarding will challenge you all the way up to the top, but it’s the magnificent view that makes it worth it. Although a sandboard is the obvious choice, you may slide on anything you wish. With three hiking trails to choose from, each will lead you into the forests of Maitland Nature Reserve.
Township Tour – To fully experience life in Port Elizabeth and the Xhosa culture that personifies the Eastern Cape, take a drive into the townships and mingle with the locals. Your first stop should be a shebeen. Taste their home-brewed beers and indulge in a traditional Xhosa meal. While you’re at it you can visit the Red Location Apartheid Museum.
Cape Recife Lighthouse – The deep history of this lighthouse has made it one of South Africa’s most iconic lighthouses. Approximately 15km out of Port Elizabeth, it is situated on the perfidious Thunderbolt Reef. In 1902, a number of sailors and rescuers lost their lives to a hurricane. The black and white banded tower stands near this site.