Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Perched on Eastern Cape Provence’s coastline, and facing the gorgeous Algoa Bay, Port Elizabeth is the fifth largest city in South Africa, and is surrounded by charming countryside, stunning beaches and impressive national parks.
Port Elizabeth is home to the third largest port in South Africa which has played an important role in the history of the country ever since the first British settlers began arriving here in the early 19th century. As such, the city has a rich and proud history, most notably reflected in its many monuments, historical sites, and colonial architecture.
With the perfect blend of history, natural charm and friendly locals, Port Elizabeth is well worth exploring for a day or two. A range of dining and drinking options are scattered throughout the city, making your stay here as enjoyable as possible.
Cruise ships dock at Port Elizabeth Harbour, which is a short taxi ride from the city centre. Although the port is only a 10 minute walk into the city, walking is not recommended due to safety reasons. Taking a metered taxi into the city is a better option.
As Port Elizabeth Harbour is primarily used as an industrial port, it lacks many of the facilities cruise passengers would come to expect. However, the city centre is only a short taxi ride away and there you can find everything you need for a pleasant stay.
Facilities in the city centre include:
- Restaurants and cafés
- Shopping and supermarkets
- Tour booking agencies
- Car hire companies
- Wi-Fi and Internet access.
How to get around
Port Elizabeth’s city centre is best explored on foot. However, it is advisable to take a taxi once the sun sets for the day. Taxis can be found throughout the centre of Port Elizabeth.
It’s also possible to hire a car if you want to explore some attractions located outside the city centre – car hire offices can also be found throughout the city centre.
The most convenient and safest way to visit sites located outside the confines of Port Elizabeth city is to take an organised tour.
Travel times from the Port Elizabeth Harbour:
- It is a 1 hour and 15 minute journey to the Addo Elephant Park
- It is a 3 minute journey to the Donkin Reserve, where you can grab a copy of the Donkin Heritage Trail Map
- It is a 30 minute journey to the Maitland Sand Dunes.
- Currency - The currency in Port Elizabeth is the South African Rand, which comes in 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R 1, R 2 and R 5 coin denominations, and R 10, R 20, R 50, R 100 and R 200 note denominations.
- Time Zone - Port Elizabeth is on South Africa Standard Time (SAST). It is 2 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
- Weather - Port Elizabeth enjoys a subtropical climate. Summers are hot and humid, while winters are often cool to cold, and wet. During summer (December to February) the average daytime temperature hovers around 26 degrees Celsius, while during winter (June to August), the average temperature during the day is around 19 degrees Celsius.
- Walk the Donkin Heritage Trail - Spend the day getting to know Port Elizabeth’s rich and varied history by walking the Donkin Heritage Trail. The trail links 47 national monuments and historical sites that lie within the old Hill area of central Port Elizabeth. Points of interest along the trail are clearly sign-posted, making this walk very easy to self-navigate. Visit the Tourist Information Centre at Donkin Reserve for a copy of the Donkin Heritage Trail Map.
- Addo Elephant Park - Home to over 600 elephants and scores of lion, buffalo, black rhino, spotted hyena, leopard and numerous species of zebra and antelope, the Addo Elephant Park is South Africa’s third largest national park – at over 180,000 hectares – and well worth a few hours of exploration when in Port Elizabeth. The main entrance to the park is open from 7am to 7pm and entry costs $24 per adult and $12 per child for a day ticket.
- Sandboard at the Maitland Sand Dunes - If your body craves a little adrenaline, then head on down to the Maitland Sand Dunes for a day of sandboarding. Easily accessible from the centre of the city, and guaranteed to provide hours of fun, the best way to experience the thrill of riding sand is to book an organised tour. Half day sandboarding adventures start at around $80 per person.