- Why Port Elizabeth Is A Great Holiday Destination – No Matter The Time Of Year
South Africa is a country with an enormous amount to offer the visitor. It boasts incredible wildlife viewing opportunities, a rich history and some of the most stunning scenery on the planet. It is filled to the brim with exciting leisure activities – and the cuisine is world-class. Add those attractions the friendly locals, a fabulous exchange rate that works in favor of those visiting from the EU or the United States and you have all the ingredients for a vacation that simply ticks all the right boxes.
Tourists tend to focus on the attractions of Cape Town – which has won numerous awards as the best vacation destination on the African continent – however, traveling up the east coast of the country reveals more natural wonders – and vibrant cities such as Port Elizabeth – also known as the ‘Friendly City’ due to the laid back nature of its residents.
Top Tip: While in Cape Town make sure to catch one of the amazing Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts in the botanical garden.
Those who are considering a visit to Port Elizabeth often wonder what time of year is best for a visit. The answer is simple – there is no wrong time of year to visit this wonderful city. PE (as it is known to locals) is one of South Africa’s more petite cities, but it punches way above its weight class when it comes to attractions both within the city limits and nearby. It boasts long hours of brilliant sunshine and miles of pristine beaches (with warm, family-friendly waters), making it a firm favorite with locals and international visitors in search of a world-class watersports destination.
Watersports (including world-class surfing opportunities) and those magnificent beaches are the focal points for many visitors. The climate is another. It is worth repeating that there is simply no ‘wrong’ season to visit this city on the Sunshine Coast of South Africa. Warm summers and mild winters make it the perfect vacation destination for the whole family. Those with younger children will enjoy the attractions of the ocean – and the opportunity for some fun educational excursions. Speaking of fun and education just off the main beach of Port Elizabeth one finds Bay World. Here a reptile park, an oceanarium and a fascinating museum are the perfect destinations for some leisurely exploration prior to hitting the beach. After the beach session is complete, the numerous restaurants and bars on the beachfront offer a huge variety of refreshments – and perhaps something chilly as far as adult beverages are concerned.
Adults might also find the lure of the Boardwalk Casino and entertainment complex hard to resist – but there’s also plenty to do at the venue besides gambling. There are wonderful restaurants (many of them family-friendly), entertainment arcades and rides galore to bring a smile to the faces of both young and old.
However, for those who want to go wild in a more natural setting the attractions of destinations such as the Addo Elephant Park are hard to resist. This enormous area has been set aside for the conservation of elephant (and is home to the other four of Africa’s Big Five – lion, leopard, rhinoceros and Cape Buffalo) A visit will delight those with a love for nature. Just outside Port Elizabeth one will also find the Kragga Kamma Game Park. This bite-sized game park is home to some of Africa’s most iconic species, including Buffalo, Rhino, and Zebra. It’s the perfect self-drive exploration of why Africa is one of the most sought after wildlife viewing destinations in the world. The younger members of the family will also be thrilled by the cheetahs in the predator enclosure. It’s a mini safari experience that will not soon be forgotten.
Port Elizabeth is one of South Africa’s most vibrant and fun-filled cities. Make sure to include it on your itinerary for your next African adventure.
- 8 Of The Best Indoor Activities To Enjoy In Port Elizabeth, South Africa
There are so many activities one can enjoy while vacationing in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. There are plenty of guided tours that will allow you to take in the gorgeous views and wildlife of the Port Elizabeth area. However, many people tend to forget that there are a whole host of other activities that one can enjoy indoors while on vacation. As much as we hope for perfect weather, there are going to be days that it is too stormy or too hot to enjoy the natural beauty of Port Elizabeth. Below you will find eight of the best activities that you can enjoy indoors while enjoying a fun and relaxing Port Elizabeth vacation.
Hand In Hand Visual Art Studio
Take everything you know about art galleries and simply throw it out the window before you visit Hand In Hand Visual Art Studio! This is an experience like nothing you have ever experienced in the art community. The studio is owned by brothers, Sakhumzi and Msindisi Nyendwana, and they are committed to ensuring that everyone who visits their gallery leaves with something special and unique. This gallery is more than just looking at art, it is the ability to connect with a community and on a deeper level, human beings. If you are in the Port Elizabeth area, this is an absolute must.
Many people would not consider the tour of an automobile factory to be on a top list of activities for a fun vacation. However, the Volkswagen AutoPavillion brings something special to the table. In addition to the factory tours, there is an incredible museum that allows you a closer look at this iconic automobile. However, one can also see how this plant is changing the area for the better. You will leave the factory with a feel good vibe surrounding!
While in the United States our malls may be dying out, that is not the case throughout the rest of world. One can simply take a look at the baywest Mall in Port Elizabeth to see that. You can actually consider this amazing structure for a one stop experience for food, shopping and entertainment. There are movie theaters, arcades and even number cars to enjoy. It is quite easy to lose track of time in here and spend an entire day. With all of the food that is available, it may not be that bad of an idea.
South African Air Force Museum
Many people are quite surprised by how much they enjoy the South African Air Force Museum as one does not have to love aircraft to enjoy this indoor activity. There is a wide assortment of aircraft to spectate and enjoy and the history is quite entertaining. It is an excellent destination to spend a couple of hours and learn some local history!
While in Port Elizabeth, you may feel the need to kick up your heels and enjoy a cold drink after a long day of touring the area. One of the best location is the Dockside Brewery as they have a wide assortment of local brews. However, keep in mind that it is quite difficult to enjoy just one. You will soon find yourself enjoying the local company and brews and spend much longer than you anticipated here…however, that is a good thing!
Valley Crag Indoor Climbing Centre
If you are looking for an adrenaline rush but are afraid of falling or the weather is not cooperating, the Valley Crag Indoor Climbing Centre is the perfect location. With a wide variety of fake rock facades, this is a great location to get off your rump and get active in a safe and secure manner.
Wezandla African Craft Traders
If you are nearing the end of your trip and realized you did very little shopping for yourself of friends and family at home, the Wezandla African Craft Traders is the best destination to head to. This is a safe location to do local shopping for crafts and goods. Everything you would want to find to help remember your Port Elizabeth trip can be found here.
The Boardwalk Casino & Entertainment World
Finally, if you are looking for a local destination in Port Elizabeth to be thrilled, the Boardwalk Casino & Entertainment World is the place to go. There are more than enough restaurants in this establishment to keep you entertained for a good while. This is a perfect destination to head to when the weather is just not cooperating.
- The Top Things To Do In Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Port Elizabeth is the third-largest port in South Africa and has some of the best city beaches. The city is surrounded by more than 40 kilometers of beaches offering everything you could want. However, there are many other things that you can do when you visit the Windy City.
Visit The Beaches
The beaches in and around Port Elizabeth are some of the cleanest and safest in the country. Each of the beaches has something to offer. There are some beaches that are extremely popular and have Blue Flag status. These beaches include Humewood Beach and Kings Beach.
If you want some sheltered rock pools, you should head to Hobie Beach. At this beach, you can also swim and windsurf. You can also head to Sardinia Bay for some snorkeling and scuba diving. If you want to spend the day fishing, you should head the northern beaches such as Bluewater Bay and New Brighton Beach.
The Addo Elephant National Park
Any trip to South Africa will be incomplete if you do not see some of the Big Five. The Addo Elephant National Park is the third-largest national park in the country and covers 444,000 acres. It is located 72 kilometers north of Port Elizabeth, but is worth a visit.
The park was started in 1931 when there were only 11 South African bush elephants left. Today, there are more than 600 who wander the park alongside black rhino, zebras, lions and 185 species of bird. The park offers night game drives and hiking trails. You can visit for the day or stay in the accommodation within the park.
If you love art, Route 67 is a must-see. This is the historical hub of the city and highlights 67 pieces of art made by Eastern Cape artists. The number is a dedication to each year that Nelson Mandela devoted to public life.
The heritage trail brings the British heritage of the city and African history. The story that is told leads up to the 1994 elections when Mandela was elected as president. You can follow the trail downhill when you start at Donkin Reserve. The trail will end at Campanile which is a 52-meter high tower that was erected in honor of the first settlers.
Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve
If you want to hike and picnic, you can head 40 kilometers outside the city to the Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve. The reserve has well-maintained paths that you can follow and the walks all vary in difficulty. There is a path for everyone from gentle paths through native trees to challenging hikes that go along streams and through thick forest.
While walking in the reserve, you should head to the Van Stadens bridge. Here you will have stunning views of the steep ravine. You also get to see all the native flora of the area.
If you want to stay inside, you should head to The Boardwalk. The Boardwalk is in Summerstrand and just a 10-minute walk from the beach. This is a leisure resort and relaxation center build on an artificial lake.
The Boardwalk offers a range of stores from boutiques to specialty stores. There is also a 5-screen cinema, an amphitheater that hosts live shows and adventure golf. If you visit the center at night, you can see the musical fountain show. There is something for everyone at The Boardwalk and it is a great place to go when the weather makes the beach impossible.
Port Elizabeth has a lot of attractive so you will never be bored. You can head to one of the Blue Flag beaches or to the Boardwalk when the weather does not work with you. There are also a number of nature reserves around the city as well.
- The Best Beaches In Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Port Elizabeth is a great family holiday destination with something for everyone. If you are looking to spend time on the beach, there are a lot of choices available. Whether you want somewhere safe for the children to enjoy the water or want to go kitesurfing, there is a beach for you.
Blue Horizon Bay
If you want a bit of seclusion, this is the beach for you. It is a great beach to spend the day relaxing on the sand or strolling along the edge of the water. If you are there during the evening, you can watch the sunset over the water from the top of the dunes.
As the city is only a short drive away, this beach is great when the hustle and busy of the city become too much. You can stay in the small town of Blue Horizon Bay if you want to spend your holiday on the beach. The beach is also close to the Garden Route and all its appeal.
If you want your time of the beach to be a bit more energetic, you should head to Sardinia Beach. This is a long beach that is pet-friendly so your dogs can run around. The beach also has a safe bay allowing you to get into the water for an invigorating ocean swim.
If you want a bit more activity, the beach is popular with kite-surfers. As Port Elizabeth is known as the Windy City, you can take advantage of the gusts on offer. If kitesurfing is not for you, you can boogie board down the dunes along the beach.
If you love surfing, you should head to Pollock Beach or Pipe as it is known to the locals. This beach offers a fairly reliable left and right beach break making it popular with surfers. The parking lot is close to the water, so you do not have to carry your board very far. The Life Saving Club is on the beach ensuring regular lifeguards and beach patrols.
If you are not up for surfing, there are snorkeling spots and natural rock pools. There is also enough space for the children to build sandcastles. As this beach has so much to offer, it can become very busy. However, the Summerstrand hopping complex is opposite if you need to get off the beach.
This is a blue flag beach and often called the Clifton of Port Elizabeth. This beach has everything you could want, but it is extremely popular and will become very busy. The shoreline of the beach is sand trapped which creates the perfect swimming conditions.
The beach not only offers sand and sea, but it also has a promenade and restaurants. There are boat-launching sites and diving operators, so you never feel bored. The pier is also busy with people walking along it and enjoying the views of the water.
If you want to get away from the wind for a bit, this is the beach to visit. Known locally as Schoenies, this beach is full of rock pools, sandy bays for swimming and little coves. The numerous picnic spots also make it a great beach for children. It is also protected from the wind, so you never worry about sand in your food.
The beach is also the start of the Sacremento hiking trail. As you take the trail or sit on the beach, you should keep an eye out for dolphins in the waves.
There are a lot of great beaches in and around Port Elizabeth. There are some blue flag beaches that you can visit which are busier than other beaches. Regardless of what you want to do, there will be a beach that offers it.