Port Elizabeth beachfront – Image courtesy of brohomesandvillas.co.za|
Introducing Port Elizabeth
Port Elizabeth offers some of South Africa’s best beaches and is the perfect place to begin or end a honeymoon or romantic getaway tour of the country’s famous Garden Route.
With 40km of immaculate golden-sand beaches set within a protected bay, as well as numerous outdoor activities, nearby game reserves and accommodation options to suit every budget, Port Elizabeth is a perfect destination at any time of year.
What to do and see in Port Elizabeth
Choose from several safe swimming beaches and stroll streets lined with some of the best displays of 19th century Art Nouveau buildings in South Africa. Take a day trip or stay overnight at one of three game lodges that lie within a short drive of Port Elizabeth, in a malaria-free region of South Africa. Spot cheetahs and some of the more than 60 species of African wildlife at Shamwari Private Game Reserve.
See Africa's ‘big five’ (elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo) at Pumba Private Game Reserve then admire the largest elephant population in the world at Addo Elephant Park. Catch playful dolphins and seals at Oceanarium, adjacent to Humewood Beach.
Hike the 8km-long Sacramento trail from Schoenmakerskop to Sardinia Bay Marine Reserve, walk the Donkin Heritage trail, go horseback riding or quad biking across the wide sand dunes and ride the charming Apple Express.
If time permits, take a side trip to nearby Jeffreys Bay – an easy detour from the Garden Route and famous as home to the perfect surf wave.
Hotel options in Port Elizabeth include: Hacklewood Hill Country House, a gracious former Victorian manor house set in town; and the luxurious boutique-styled Windermere Hotel, conveniently located close to King’s Beach.
The Garden Route is famous for its indigenous forests, freshwater lakes, wetlands, hidden coves and long and sweeping white- and golden-sand beaches. The narrow coastal strip stretches for 185km from Mossel Bay via Plettenberg Bay to Storms River (near Port Elizabeth) and inland to the mountain peaks of the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma.
Highlights of the scenic route include Knysna's lagoon, Plettenberg Bay and the Tsitsikamma National Park, where you can wander through dense indigenous forests past bubbling streams and stunning cascades to dramatic shoreline vistas.
Best time to visit Port Elizabeth?
The best time to visit Port Elizabeth is any time. The climate is sunny year round with occasional showers, averaging 21˚C with a high of 26˚C in January, and 14˚C with a high of 20˚C in August.
Port Elizabeth (or PE as the locals call it) is located at the western end of Algoa Bay (Nelson Mandela Bay), around 748km east of Cape Town and 950km southeast of Durban.
› Port Elizabeth Map
Port Elizabeth receives daily flights from Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg; the Port Elizabeth Airport is 4km from the city centre. By car, Port Elizabeth is a 9-hour drive from Cape Town via the Garden Route.