Port Elizabeth at a glance
This major seaport and tourist attraction is located along the glaring shores of Algoa Bay and is fondly referred to as one of the most welcoming cities. Named after the wife of the former Cape Governor Sir Rufane Donkin, Port Elizabeth has an interesting history with the first inhabitants being some 4000 British settlers in 1820. The city has boat cruises, museums, an oceanarium and far more. For those curious about history, Port Elizabeth proudly hosts one of the oldest surviving settler cottages, and also many museums.
Port Elizabeth is known for several blue-flag beaches along the city’s urban coastline; its popularity as an international and domestic holiday destination; and its rich and diverse cultural heritage. It is a tourism gateway city for the Eastern Cape and the only city with the closest proximity to malaria-free, Big Five game reserves.
A superb holiday mecca, the city offers an unbeatable and diverse blend of natures attractions as a family and escapade voyage destinations: scenic nature trails and magnificent wildlife experiences, splendid golden beaches, historic heritage sites and a unique coastal climate which produces temperate weather all year round.
With a great number of beautiful beaches, each with its own unique attraction and activities, Port Elizabeth is rapidly becoming known as the Watersport Capital of South Africa.
Port Elizabeth represents an outsized percentage of South Africa’s biological diversity and the city may therefore be a confluence point for five of the seven South African biomes, namely, the Thicket, Grassland, Nama-Karoo, Fynbos and Forest Biomes. A number of municipal nature reserves are included in and can be visited along the “outward bound route” of the town.
Located at the top of the picturesque Garden Route along the Cape coast, the town has beaches in and near it. The most popular swimming beaches include King’s Beach and Hobie Beach.
Other attractions include the gardens at St George’s Park, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum (formerly known as the King George VI Art Gallery), the museum and oceanography room at Humewood, and the new Boardwalk waterfront complex.
Port Elizabeth is also a destination for whale watching with humpback whales sighted between June and August, and again between November and January, southern right whales are sighted between July and November, and Bryde’s whales are sighted all year round.
Nelson Mandela University was formed by the amalgamation of the University of Port Elizabeth, Port Elizabeth Technikon, and the Port Elizabeth campus of Vista University. It is the largest university in the Eastern and Southern Cape, with around 29,000 students in seven faculties spread over seven campuses.
Bayworld offers a vast amount of live animal displays, including dolphins, seals, penguins, fish, and many mammals. Historical exhibitions include dinosaurs, shipwrecks, cultural facilities and beadworks, local fossils and many more.
The King George VI Art Museum, the Castle Hill Museum, and Gallery and the St. Croix Motor Museum are but a few of the many museums in Port Elizabeth.