Driving in Port Elizabeth is a both a pleasure and the best way to get to the various places you may want to visit. Locals maintain that PE (Port Elizabeth) is a “20 minute city”; meaning it takes twenty minutes (or less) to get from one side of the city to the other. This is an unusual metropolis where traffic jams are an exception, not a norm. PE is commonly referred to as the “Friendly City” and the “Windy City”. Despite its “windy” reputation, it’s regarded as having one of the top four coastal city climates in the world and is known as the watersports mecca of South Africa. Water and weather temperatures are pleasant year-round and excellent for daily watersports, irrespective of the season.
If you want to find your favourite amongst a plethora of fantastic beaches, you’ll do quite a bit of driving in Port Elizabeth. There is a substantial selection of great beaches to choose from, and each one has its “specialty”. Different beaches are good for different watersports and activities: swimming and tanning, diving, sailing, bodyboarding, windsurfing and kitesurfing. Some of the beaches with big dunes are ideal for sandboarding and hang gliding. Others are great for walking and horse riding. Internationally recognised Blue Flag beaches include Humewood Beach, Hobie Beach and Kings Beach. Blue Flag status is awarded to beaches that are clean, safe and offer suitable facilities for visitors.
Should you want a break from the beach; PE caters admirably in terms of eating out, shopping, and local culture. The Greenacres mall, the Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World and St. Georges Park are all entertaining places to visit. Greenacres is a large, well patronised shopping mall. At the Boardwalk Casino you can laugh at a comedy show or watch a movie. It also offers great shopping and a remarkable Tivoli Gardens Showcase. The long established St. Georges Park offers lovely gardens and two art galleries. If you like, attend the “art in the park” market (a monthly event), browse the art galleries, or take in a cricket match. If you’re keen on history you may want to do the 5km Donkin Trail, a noteworthy walk following in the footsteps of the 1820 British settlers who arrived in PE. Other history-rich places to explore are Central Hill (full of settler history and monuments) and the 7 Castle Street Museum-an example of a 19th century Settler cottage.
The Bayworld Museum Complex is a popular PE attraction. The museum is known for its natural and cultural history and interesting exhibits. Check out the 15m Southern Right whale skeleton. The Oceanarium hosts daily dolphin and seal shows and the Snake Park showcases its variety of reptiles, including some rare species.
When you’re driving in Port Elizabeth, make sure not to miss out on its share of wonderful nature and game reserves. There are lovely trails to do and views to be seen at the various reserves, including the Sardinia Bay Nature Reserve and the Chelsea Conservancy. Some are right on the beachfront. The famous Addo Elephant National Park is a must-do day trip, and well worth staying overnight if you can. Addo is known for its Big Seven; the Big Five plus whales and the Great White Shark. Birdwatchers will be keen to take a drive to the Cape Recife Nature Reserve to use its bird hide and enjoy outstanding bird watching. These are just a few of the many diverse offerings of PE that make it a holiday city of note. Make the most of your stay in the Friendly City...