EXPLORE THE EASTERN CAPE’S LARGEST CITY AND ONE OF THE BUSIEST SEAPORTS IN SOUTH AFRICA
Port Elizabeth is vibrant coastal city set in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. The stretch of coast is called Algoa Bay and used to be home to the indigenous Khoi people before the Xhosa tribe migrated to the coast from the North. The city was named by Lieutenant General Sir Rufane Shaw Donkin, in memory of his wife, Elizabeth. The city’s name was officially changed to Nelson Mandela Bay in the early 2000s, making it the only city in the world named after Nelson Mandela, who grew up in the Eastern Cape. Port Elizabeth has the best of what South Africa has to offer, all in close proximity, from Blue Flag beaches, to malaria-free game reserves, quaint country estates, big city attractions and lavish accommodation, all waiting to be experienced by you!
Reasons to visit Port Elizabeth:
- Algoa Bay is one of the most beautiful stretches of coast in South Africa, with golden sand and the sparkling blue waters of the Indian Ocean. First class beaches with Blue Flag status include Humewood Beach, Hobie Beach and King’s Beach
- Well-known for its water-sports with charter boats, canoeing, fishing, angling, sailing, paddle boarding, scuba diving and surfing available, as well as the award-winning Raggy Charters, where travellers can enjoy an ocean safari
- Algoa Bay is the Dolphin capital of South Africa, with over 20 000 Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins living in Algoa Bay. Other marine wildlife found in the Bay include the largest colonies of African Penguins, orcas, humpback dolphins, southern right whales and ragged tooth, great white and pyjama sharks, as well as the smooth hammerhead shark and the leopard catshark (only found in South Africa)
- The Eastern is the home of Nelson Mandela, the renowned South African former president and freedom fighter. Port Elizabeth, or Nelson Mandela Bay, has evoked the spirit of Mandela. The city boasts plenty of art dedicated to Madiba, including the eye-catching modern art along Route 67, an art and culture heritage route
- Nelson Mandela Bay is host to the international Iron Man triathlon competition takes place annually in South Africa
- There are plenty of private game reserves no more than an hour away from the city. Among the reserves located near Nelson Mandela Bay include The Addo Elephant National Park, the only place where travellers can see the Big 7 (rhino, elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, great white shark and southern right whale), Shamwari Private Game Reserve, Pumba Private Game Reserve and Lalibela Game Reserve
Port Elizabeth may be smaller than South Africa’s bigger cities like Cape Town, but it is also much bigger than the other towns along the Garden Route, and it certainly has a flavour that is entirely its own. The city is known for bringing together the trimmings of a big metropolis, albeit with the pace and warmth of a small town. Fondly known as ‘the Friendly City’, Port Elizabeth will always make you feel welcome while you discover its pristine beaches, its many nearby game reserves and its rich cultural heritage. The city is also home to a variety of hotels and guesthouses and plenty of unique restaurants to suit all tastes.
Port Elizabeth hosts the annual Splash Festival over Easter weekend each year. There is plenty of live entertainment and family fun on offer, all with the Indian Ocean as a backdrop. A short drive from Port Elizabeth will take you to the Kirkwood Wild Festival and Grahamstown’s National Arts Festival in June and July, and in the opposite direction, you’ll find Jeffrey’s Bay, the surfer’s haven.