Port Elizabeth

Travel Guide Africa South Africa Eastern Cape Port Elizabeth

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Introduction

Port Elizabeth (also known as 'Die Baai' in Afrikaans) is an industrial city situated on the coast of the Eastern Cape in South Africa. A colourful blend of leafy middle-class suburbs and corrugated iron shanty towns, it's often the final stopping point for travellers taking the scenic Garden Route from Cape Town. The main attraction of the city is it's sandy beaches, and the South African surfing mecca Jeffreys Bay is just a short drive down the coast.

For those looking for a safari adventure, Port Elizabeth serves as a good base-point to travel to a number of nearby game reserves. The largerst is the Addo Elephant National Park, a Big-5 game reserve with one of the densest concentrations of African elephants on earth. A number of private reserves also exist in the area offering a more luxury bush experience, namely Shamwari, Amakhala, Lalibela and Kwandwe.

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Sights and Activities

The well-developed beachfront is the city's main attraction, but there are other worthwhile options for those spending a little time in the area.

The Donkin Heritage Trail is a 5-kilometre-long tour of the cultural history of Port Elizabeth. The route includes a 19th century lighthouse, the Campanile bell tower, the Port Elizabeth City Hall, and many other examples of Victorian architecture.

A small number of township tours operate in the city, offering an eye-opening insight into some of the lasting effects of the apartheid era.

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Events and Festivals

World Cup 2010

The big upcoming event on the South African horizon is of course the FIFA World Cup beginning on the 11th of June 2010. One of the most prestigious and popular world sporting events, the World Cup 2010 promises to bring throngs of passionate supporters from around the globe. Held once every four years, it's a football tournament (known as soccer in South Africa) where 32 world nations vie for the famous golden trophy.

Port Elizabeth will be hosting some of the World Cup matches at the Nelso Mandela Bay Stadium, which has a capacity of 48,000.

Ironman South Africa

The Ironman South Africa annual event takes place in Port Elizabeth. It attracts 1000+ triathlon competitors to the city for a superb and challenging event. This year, the Ironman event takes place on Sunday, 5 April. For more information, visit the Ironman website.

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Weather

Average temperatures are between 20 degrees in June and July to around 27 degrees in January. Nights average between 7 and 17 degrees respectively. Rainfall is quite evenly distributed throughout the year regarding the amount, but between May and September there are less rainy days, but with heavier shower.

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Getting There

By Plane

Port Elizabeth Airport (IATA: PLZ) offers a range of flights. Destinations include Cape Town, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, East London, Lanseria and Durban.

By Train

Shosholoza Meyl has the following trains:

  • Cape Town - Port Elizabeth via Oudtshoorn, 24 hours, premier class only, once weekly
  • Johannesburg - Port Elizabeth via Kroonstad, Bloemfontein and Craddock, 21 hours, tourist class twice a week and daily economy class (except Saturday)

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Getting Around

By Car

Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and First Car Rental have branches in Port Elizabeth.

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Eat

Brooke's Pavilion has excellent views over the beaches and ocean. Any one of the restaurants there are a good idea for breakfast with a view.

Blue Waters Cafe. Well priced and has an excellent view of the ocean.
Fishmonger, The Broadwalk, Marine Drive, Summerstrand, ☏ +27 41 583-6895. Indulge yourself in succulent prawns, calamari, fish & chips and curries.
Leonardo's, The Broadwalk, Marine Drive, Summerstrand, ☏ +27 41 583-1302, fax: +27 41 583-1304. Fantastic pizza, and has a very pleasant atmosphere.
Ocean Grill, Mercado Centre, Corner of Admiralty and Strandfontein Roads, Summerstrand. Seafood restaurant with classy and elegant decor ; serves good sushi and other seafood meals.
Old Austria. Just off Cape Road, it is one of the classier restaurants in Port Elizabeth.
The Oyster Catcher, ☏ +27 41 582-1867, fax: +27 41 582-1869. Located in the harbour. The seafood is particularly tasty. Very popular - if you want to get a table you must make a reservation.
Tiffany's, Brookes Hill, Beach Road, Humewood, ☏ +27 41 584-0696. Tea, coffee, light meals and fantastic pastries and cakes in a great location looking out over the sea.
Ginger Restaurant, Marine Dr, ☏ +27415831229. The atmosphere is friendly, airy and chic and the food a combination of the finest, fresh ingredients with an Eastern Cape influence.
Fushin Sushi & Eastern Cuisine, Shop 5, Stanley on Bain, Stanley Street, Richmond Hill. Port Elizabeth's most exclusive sushi restaurant, this place is trendy, intimate and friendly. Located in the upmarket, historic area of Richmond Hill and very centrally located.
Primi Coastal, Marine Drive, Humewood. A very trendy pizza restaurant ideally located on the beachfront.

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Drink

Barney's Tavarn, At the Boardwalk, ☏ +27 41 583-4500. Lively pub. It overlooks Algoa Bay and is a stone's throw away from the water's edge. The pub has a great balcony, with good draughts and food. A local favorite, many Johannesburg travellers' first stop is at this watering hole to catch up with friends. Live music is available most weekend nights.
Ekhaya Pub, ☏ +27 41 586-1156. For African Jazz.
Ibhayi Brewery Tours, 47 Kohler St, ☏ +27 41 404-3527, ✉ jenni.dewet@za.sabmiller.com. Tour the beer brewery and have a couple of pints at the Bay and Barrel afterwards.
News Cafe. It is at the Boardwalk and is always lively and full. They serve good food, and it is a nice place to catch a drink.
Blackbeards Tavern, Within The Chapman Hotel. Does a splendid Seafood Extravaganza.
Rasoi, 79 Heugh Road, Walmer, ☏ +27 41-581-0333. This is an excellent place for Indian food. The ambiance is nice, and the staff is extremely friendly. It is a great idea to catch a dinner at Rasoi when in PE.
Cubana - Port Elizabeth, Marine Drive, Humewood, ☏ +27 41 582 5258. Port Elizabeth's most exclusive nightspot - definitely not to be missed!

Coffee

Port Elizabeth offers coffees on par with the best the world has to offer. It is a city with a handful of baristas that are competitive in their inclination to produce the perfect brew.

Vovo Telo Corner Raleigh and Irvine Street, Richmond Hill. Phone: +27 41 585-5606 Hours: M-F 7:15AM to 3PM. This artisan bakery is the pride of locals who flock to get their fix. The food is wholesome and moreish. The Vovo almond croissant (when you can get one) is a firm favourite and the breakfasts, especially the creamy scrambled eggs with smoked salmon or bacon on Ciabatta are cornerstone meals. Samora and Xolani will fix you a coffee that caters exactly to your taste. Enjoy the old part of PE and listen in on the locals doing their business and revelling in an atmosphere that is part African, part Europe.
Brioche 181 Main Rd Walmer. Phone +21 41 581-2136 Hours: M-Sa 7AM to 3:30PM. The coffee is sublime, the Brioche space beautiful. The cinnamon buns are memorable. The menu is simple and taste driven, and the whole shop is filled with the smell of artisan breads. You can come here to experience the coolness of an old South African 'stoep' on a warm day. Hospitable service, too.
Urban Express 25 6th Avenue, Walmer. Phone +21 41 581-3390 Hours: M-Sa 7AM-3PM. Owned by Donovan McLagan, voted South Africa's No. 1 coffee taster - this man knows coffee. Just one sip of the brew served in 175ml cups proves just that. He represented SA at the world Coffee Tasters Competition and came in at 5th place. Port Elizabeth is proud to be a part of the coffee legacy of the nation. Connected to the renowned Pastryworks, Urban delivers on coffee and delicious breads, sandwiches and pastries. The interior is industrial, the service friendly.

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Sleep

Accommodation ranges from hostels to more luxury accommodation. Whatever you want, you can find without trouble.

Kings Beach Backpackers, 41 Windermere Road, Humewood, ☏ +27 41 585-8113, fax: +27 41 585-1693, ✉ kingsb@agnet.co.za. Cool little backpackers with friendly staff. The staff can arrange safari trips to Addo and Schotia Safari Parks for around R1000 (be warned that this is R200 more expensive than doing it yourself, but this does include travel to and from the parks, which are approx 30 miles away. Dorm R140 pp.
Lungile Backpackers, 12 La Roche Drive, Humewood, ☏ +27 41 585-2042, fax: +27 41 585-2083, ✉ lungile@netactive.co.za. Offers private single and double rooms, dorms and a pool. Dorm R140.
Port Elizabeth Backpackers, 7 Prospect Hill, Central, ☏ +27 41 586-0697, ✉ pebakpak@global.co.za. Dorms R120. Doubles R280, singles R180pn.
Jikeleza Lodge Backpackers, 44 Cuyler Street, Central, ☏ +27 41-5863721. 6 to 8 beds per dorm. R120.
Helichar Backpackers, 23 Windermere Road Humewood, ☏ +27 41-5822597. 8 bed dorms. Dorm R110.
Island Vibe Backpackers, 4 Jenvey Street, ☏ +27 41-5831256. 6 bed dorm. Dorm R150.
Algoa Guest House, 87 Brighton Drive, Summerstrand, ☏ +27 41 583-3511. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. In the upmarket seaside suburb of Summerstrand - 200 m from the beach and in close proximity to the airport, university, golf course, restaurants and casino. Tourists and business people alike enjoy a relaxing stay at Algoa Guest House. All suites are private and comfortable with a mini kitchenette and their own entrances and patios. Suites are serviced daily and have free internet access, TVs and DVD facilities. from R320 per person sharing.
The Admiralty Beach House, 9 Admiralty Way, Summerstrand, ☏ +27 41 583-1271, fax: +27 41 583-3720, ✉ admiralty@intekom.co.za. 100 m from Summerstrands Beach, near Marine Drive. It features a wonderful garden and some rooms have sea-view. ADSL is available in all rooms From R340.
Alcyone Accommodation, 29 Admiralty Way, Summerstrand, ☏ +27 84 693-1483. Offers you self-catering accommodation in private en-suite units that sleep 2, family unit sleeping 4-5, and a 1 bedroom apartment with views sleeping max 3; 500 m from the beach, close to the Humewood Golf course and Hobbie Beach; self-contained, fully equipped and with complimentary Wi-Fi From R400.
At Sta-Plus Guest House, 11A 10th Avenue, Summerstrand, ☏ +27 41 583-34112, ✉ cornelia@atstaplus.com. Large sheltered swimming pool, BBQ facilities, off-street parking, laundry service. 150 m from Pollock Beach, 5 min from golf course, university, or boardwalk casino.
Beachwalk B&B, 1 Second Ave, Summerstrand, ☏ +27 41 583-3594, ✉ info@beachwalk.co.za. 60 m from the beach and 400 m from the Boardwalk. 4 star. From R250 pp sharing.
Bishops Inn, 14 Killarney Rd, ☏ +27 41 585-6828, fax: +27 41 585-6850, ✉ info@bishopsinn.co.za. Check-in: 2:30PM, check-out: 10:30AM. Bishops Inn offers superior rooms and 1&2-bedroom self-catering suites opposite Kings Beach. All rooms have Wi-Fi access. From R540 to R1200 per unit per night.
Conifer Beach House, 39 Windermere Road, Humewood, ☏ +27 41 585-5959, ✉ conifer@isat.co.za. 4-star accommodation. Saltwater swimming pool, 2 minutes walk from Kings Beach, off-street parking, laundry service, WiFi. Close to golf course, university and boardwalk casino.
Edward Protea Hotel, Belmont Terrace, ☏ +27 41 586-2056, fax: +27 41 586-4925. On the northern end of the Donkin Reserve. May have seen better times but still offers Edwardian style and wonderful views over the Donkin Reserve to the Ocean.
Holiday Inn, La Roche Drive, Humewood. Close to King's Beach. The hotel is a short walk away from Bayworld Aquarium. edit
Homeleigh Halt Guest House, 253 Main Road, Walmer, ☏ +27 83 414-3301, ✉ feets@homeleighhalt.co.za. From R290 per person per night incl. breakfast.
Jabula Lodge, 36 Avonmount, Summerstrand, ☏ +27 41 583-1263, ✉ jabulalodge@absamail.co.za. From R560 per room.
Kragga Kamma Game Park (Follow the M15 west from the city center for about 15 minutes), ☏ +27 41 379-4195, ✉ cantor@worldonline.co.za. Luxury tents, thatched chalets, log cabins and thatched lodges. Book for two nights or more and get a free game drive From R150 to R300 per person per night.
Pine Lodge Resort, Marine Drive, Cape Recife, ☏ +27 41 583-4004, ✉ enquiries@pinelodge.co.za. 3 star log cabins in the Cape Recife Nature Reserve From R300 to R1000 per unit per night.
Seaview Hotel, 20 km outside the city on the way to Seaview, ☏ +27 41 378-1611, fax: +27 41 378-1653, ✉ peseav@mweb.co.za. Build in 1935.
Sir Roys at the Sea, Cnr Perrot and Newcon roads, Humerail, ☏ +27 41 582-2377, ✉ roy@sirroys.co.za. From R350 pp sharing.
Treetops Guest House, 44 Albert road, Walmer, ☏ +27 41 581-0147, fax: +27 41 581-5525, ✉ info@treetopsguesthouse.co.za. Free transfers to and from the airport.
The Beach Hotel, Marine Dr, ☏ +27 41 583-2161, fax: +27 41 583-6220, ✉ resbeach@pehotels.co.za. The four-star hotel offers homely comfort in its 58 spacious, en-suite bedrooms with all modern amenities, a stunning pool deck and three superb restaurants.
Hacklewood Hill Country House, Prospect Road, Walmer, ☏ +27 41 581-1300, ✉ hacklewood@pehotels.co.za. Luxury five-star hotel in the classic country house tradition. Imagine a bygone era of colonial charm, good conversation and the fine dining.
The Radisson Blu, Marine Drive and 9th Avenue, +27 41 509 5000, offers the best that Radisson Blu brand has to offer.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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Keep Connected

Internet

Big cities and most of the popular places in the country usually have an internet café though they are not as abundant as in, for example, Asia or South America. It's also relatively expensive, usually 20-30 rand an hour, sometimes even more. Many of the accommodation options have internet access available, either wireless with your own laptop or by their own computer(s). Wireless access is also available throughout the country in more and more cafes and eateries, sometimes free and sometimes for a small fee. Note that you usually have to login anyway and agree with the terms and conditions. It is cheapest to buy a prepaid cell phone starter pack (less than R10) and access the Internet with GPRS or 3G. Generally R2 per MB for out of bundle data from most providers (50c for Virgin Mobile), but it becomes a lot cheaper if you buy a data bundle. In general coverage is good except the more rural parts of the northern and northwestern parts of the country (especially Northern Cape).

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

South Africa's country code is 27. Telephone numbers in South Africa are 10 digits, including the local area code. There are also some prefixes like 0800 (toll free), 0860 (charged as local call) and 0861 (flat-rate calls). The general emergency number is 10111, ambulance is 10177 and police is 1011.

South Africa has very good phone facilities, which are also becoming more and more competitively priced, now that more operators are active on the market. The main ones are Neotel and Telkom South Africa. Local phone calls are cheap (about one Rand an hour), domestic long-distance calls are about twice as expensive. International calls start at around 6 Rand an hour but can be (much) higher to less usual countries. Note that public phones are about twice as cheap as new private phone centres. Phone calls tend to be the cheapest during the weekend and during business hours (8:00am to 5:00pm) on weekdays and more expensive during the evening and nights at weekdays.

There are also good mobile-phone facilities, with GSM and 3G networks. There are five cell phone providers in South Africa: Vodacom, MTN, Cell-C, Virgin Mobile and 8ta. SIM card prepaid starter kits are available from R10. You will need a passport and a proof of residential address and it has to be registered before you can call or receive calls. You can buy credit for prepaid phones just about everywhere, remembering you will usually need cash to do so from service stations.

Post

The SAPO (South African Post Office) is the nation's postal service. They have a track & trace system for parcels as well. Post offices are open from 8:30am to 4:30pm from Monday to Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Domestic and international deliveries are reliable but can sometimes take up to several weeks. If you want to send something oversees of any value, try using one of the private mail services, like Postnet. Also international courier companies like TNT, UPS and DHL tend to be fast, very reliable and competitively priced.

Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: -33.9581
  • Longitude: 25.6192

Accommodation in Port Elizabeth

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This is version 41. Last edited at 14:53 on May 29, 20 by Utrecht. 21 articles link to this page.

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