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.