Port Elizabeth, set along the beautiful shores of Algoa Bay, is located on the south eastern coast of Africa, and is a major tourist destination better known as the Friendly City! The city offers the best mix of eco-attractions as a holiday destination with a rich diversity: scenic nature trails and wildlife experiences, long golden beaches, historic heritage and a unique coastal climate. The calm waters of Algoa Bay, its shores lapped by the warm Indian Ocean, make Port Elizabeth a Mecca for all beach and watersport activities.
Port Elizabeth enjoys more sunshine hours and fewer rainy days than any other coastal city in South Africa. The city boasts a moderate climate all year round with sea temperatures ranging from 16 degrees C in Winter to 23 degrees C in Summer. The average temperature for Summer and Winter are 25 degrees and 17 degrees respectively - truly an ideal place to holiday!
Greater Port Elizabeth is often referred to as the Gateway City to the Eastern Cape: the famous Garden Route, Settler Hinterland and Sunshine Coast.
Port Elizabeth's population comprises over one million, making it South Africa's fifth largest city in terms of population and the second largest in terms of area.
The city is an important centre for the automobile industry and is a major transport hub; its well equipped airport, harbour and port linking Southern Africa with other national and international destinations.
The actual founding of Port Elizabeth dates back to the arrival by sea of 4 000 British Settlers in 1820 to become the first permanent British residents in the country. On 6 June 1820, Sir Rufane Donkin, Acting Governor of the Cape Colony at the time, named the city after his late wife, Elizabeth.
Port Elizabeth was incorporated into the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality in 2001. With its Neighbouring towns of Uitenhage and Despatch as well as the surrounding areas the Metropolitan Municipality can now add an agricultural sector to their "basket of goodies" . The metro has a population of 1.5 million and is one of five metropolitan areas in SA.
The city is situated 260 km from Knysna and +- 800km from Cape Town. It is known for its sunshine and safe sandy beaches .
Temperatures are moderate all year round with rain scattered throughout the year. The summers are warm with a very temperate humidity level. Winters are mild and pleasant, and it is significant that water sports, even surfing, boardsailing and diving, are practised year-round. In all, the visitor soon discovers that the climate is one major contributor to the reputation of the area as offering an outstanding quality of life.
Port Elizabeth has many historical attractions, one the most interesting being the Historic Donkin Heritage trail, which allows the visitor to follow in the footsteps of the 1820 Settlers on their journey of discovery and settlement. This 5 km trail visits 47 historical sites and architectural delights in the Old Hill area of central Port Elizabeth.
Shipping has played a vital part in the growth of the city and you can look down from the old lighthouse erected in 1861 on the Donking Reserve, onto the bustling harbour. The Reserve was proclaimed as an open area for all time in 1820 by Acting governor Sir Rufane Donkin, who also built on it the pyramid in memory of his wife, who had died in India and 'who has given her name to the town below'. Military history, especially that of the eastern Cape, is the theme of the museum in the building adjoining the old lighthouse. Displays include a fine selection of medals, weapons, uniforms and badges.
PARKS & WILDLIFE RESERVES:
Within the city there are some beautiful parks with well landscaped gardens, two of the larger ones are: St Georges Park, which covers 73 hectares and is home to the world famous Port Elizabeth Cricket Club, the oldest Bowling Green in South Africa, Prince Alfred's Guard Memorial and the 1882 Victorian Pearson Conservatory. The other Park being the 54 hectare Settler's Park in the city centre, which is a nature lover's paradise, as it boasts beautiful flora and fauna.
Tourists will be happy to hear that even at the seaside you can enjoy the awe inspiring wildlife of Africa, as there are a number of wildlife reserves in the area around Port Elizabeth. Just 73 km from the city is the exclusive, private Shamwari Game Reserve which is home to the "Big Five" of Africa. Early morning and evening game drives are available. Then there is the Addo Elephant Park, dedicated to the preservation of the Eastern Cape Elephant and the Cape Buffalo. There are other smaller reserves which are just as delightful and will prove a memorable African experience. The area is Malaria Free.
Port Elizabeth’s greatest asset is its clean and beautiful beaches. Water temperatures vary between 18 and 21 degrees Celsius during Summer and 14 to 19 degrees Celsius during Winter. The sea conditions are generally calm in the bay, except when the South Easterly wind is blowing. All beaches are patrolled by fully-trained professional life guards. Apart from the more "mainstream" sports, a temperate climate, unspoilt beaches and the warm seawater make this city perfect for thrilling watersports opportunities.
Algoa Bay boasts 40 km of magnificent beaches and, with its perfect combination of warm water, calm sea and fair breezes, it is one of the best sailing venues in the world, and a mecca for all beach and watersports enthusiasts.
The Southern Beaches offer safe and sheltered swimming, body surfing, sunbathing, boardsailing, excellent waves and surfing opportunities as well as interesting inter-tidal sealife while the Northern Beaches offer vast stretches of sand and dunes ideal for long beach walks as well as providing superb angling and swimming opportunities.