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Port Elizabeth (PE) is not only home to stunning beaches, interesting museums and award-winning wildlife destinations, but also some of the friendliest people in the country. It’s no surprise to visitors that it’s called the “Friendly City”.

Port Elizabeth – or the Friendly City – is a coastal hub in the Eastern Cape where everything is only a 15-minute drive from the airport.

It’s one of the largest cities in South Africa, lying 770km east of Cape Town where it forms part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, which links the city with the inland industrial towns of Uitenhage and Despatch.

When you want to hit the beach, Algoa Bay, the coastal strip of Nelson Mandela Bay, is a 40km-stretch of beaches with protected areas for swimming at Kings Beach, Hobie Beach, Humewood Beach (a world-class, Blue Flag beach), Pollock Beach and Denville Beach. Fishing, surfing, scuba diving, snorkelling and sailing are enjoyed at the quieter spots including Wildside, Sardinia Bay, Blue Horizon Bay, Bluewater Bay, Beachview and Schoenmakerskop.

If you’re interested in culture, you’ve got to check out the Red Location Museum, a museum in New Brighton Township that portrays “both the horrors of institutionalised racism and the heroic efforts of the anti-apartheid movement”.

Then there’s the Donkin Reserve, where you can enjoy birds, walking paths, an opera house, a lighthouse and a memorial.

Don’t forget to make time for the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum and Prince Alfred's Guard Memorial, both in St George's Park – the oldest park in Port Elizabeth and home to the St George's Cricket Oval.

Since PE includes Nelson Mandela Bay, it’s also where you can find Route 67 – a collection of 67 art pieces celebrating the years Nelson Mandela devoted to public life. It’s a mix of visual arts, urban design and heritage, showcasing old Victorian churches and the terraced cottages on Donkin Street, where massive silver pipes catch the famous winds of Port Elizabeth and make music. You can also see the lighthouse that once guided ships into Algoa Bay, now accompanied by an awesome pyramid.

One of the highlights is the large metal cut-out of Nelson Mandela leading South Africans to vote in the country’s first democratic election. A moment that South Africans will always remember.

The city is an outdoor-lover’s paradise, so don’t miss out on boat cruises, scuba diving, and a visit to the Seaview Predator Park.

When you head into town take a walk through the Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment Complex, where shops, restaurants, an amphitheatre and casino will keep you entertained for hours on end.

Also worth a visit is a 52m tower with 204 steps leading to the top. It’s called the Campanile Memorial and stands watch over the Port Elizabeth harbour. Built in 1923, the monument honours the arrival of British Settlers all the way back in the 1820s.

Staying with history, another gem is No 7 Castle Hill, which was built not long after the settlers arrived in 1830. This is one of the oldest surviving settler cottages in the city, complete with a cobbled courtyard and an operational well, and it shows you what domestic life was like in the 19th century.

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Things to do
Active adventure

The Freedom Trail: coast to coast on a mountain bike

Active adventure
The Freedom Trail: coast to coast on a mountain bike

The Freedom Trail is an exhilarating mountain-bike route from East Coast to West Coast in South Africa that runs through some of the most spectacular natural beauty the country has to offer.

Active adventure

Surfing in South Africa: hot weather; cool waves

Active adventure
Surfing in South Africa: hot weather; cool waves

South Africa is a surfer’s paradise, and whether you’re a novice or an old pro, the different conditions of the West Coast, Garden Route, Wild Coast and KwaZulu-Natal offers something for everyone.

Wildlife safari

Port Elizabeth to Grahamstown/Makhanda: drive ‘the Wildlife Route’ through frontier history

Wildlife safari
Port Elizabeth to Grahamstown/Makhanda: drive ‘the Wildlife Route’ through frontier history

The ‘Wildlife Route’ from Port Elizabeth to Grahamstown/Makhanda in Eastern Cape offers a journey through European/Xhosa frontier history, exquisite birds, elephants and scenery, and delicious food.

Vibrant culture

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum: Discover the soul of Eastern Cape in Port Elizabeth

Vibrant culture
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum: Discover the soul of Eastern Cape in Port Elizabeth

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, boasts a diverse collection ranging from European and Asian art to many local pieces reflecting South Africa’s cultures.

Vibrant culture

Colourful culture – Xhosa beadwork

Vibrant culture
Colourful culture – Xhosa beadwork

Xhosa beadwork carries special cultural significance and can be seen and purchased in several places around South Africa.

Active adventure

Volleyball in South Africa

Active adventure
Volleyball in South Africa

South Africa offers both indoor- and beach-volleyball facilities, and anyone can start playing.

Sun-soaked coasts

Port Elizabeth’s beaches

Sun-soaked coasts
Port Elizabeth’s beaches

Port Elizabeth boasts several lovely Blue Flag beaches – King’s Beach, Wells Estate and Humewood – as well as family friendly beaches Bluewater Bay and Sardinia Bay.

Active adventure

A grand coastal caper – Grahamstown to Port Elizabeth

Active adventure
A grand coastal caper – Grahamstown to Port Elizabeth

Take a drive from Grahamstown to Port Elizabeth and explore the pubs, beaches, restaurants and seaside adventures that come with one of South Africa’s top coastal areas.

Wildlife safari

The Bird Island Group Marine Protected Area

Wildlife safari
The Bird Island Group Marine Protected Area

On a boat cruise around the Bird Island Group, protected by South African National Parks, you’ll see African penguins, Cape gannets, whales, sharks and dolphins.

Vibrant culture

South African art museums

Vibrant culture
South African art museums

There are many well-known historic and contemporary art works on display in art museums and galleries in each of South Africa's 9 provinces, with many important permanent art collections centred in the country's major cities.

Sun-soaked coasts

Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth

Sun-soaked coasts
Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth

Visit the Sunshine Coast’s Blue Flag Hobie Beach to enjoy a host of water sports, especially boardsailing.

Vibrant culture

Route 67 is a creative kaleidoscope of artwork in Port Elizabeth

Vibrant culture
Route 67 is a creative kaleidoscope of artwork in Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth's urban-based Route 67 is an arts, culture and heritage trail that includes longstanding landmarks as well as more contemporary elements.

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