Population: 1.2 million
Eastern Cape


You find Port Elizabeth, or simply PE, at the end of the Garden Route in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. Known as the “Friendly City”, the largest city of the Eastern Cape province and part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro is the destination for many Garden Route travellers coming all 770km from Cape Town. After visiting the smaller towns and villages along the pristine Garden Route, you will experience a hint of city life in PE with its more than 300,000 residents in the inner city.

Yachts in Port Elizabeth harbour


While Port Elizabeth is not on the “must see” list for most travellers to South Africa, it is well worth a visit, especially if you are into water sports. The sandy clean Kings Beach, Hobie Beach and Humewood Beach have a great reputation amongst sun-worshipers, while Wildside, Saldinia and many others along the 40-kilometre-long stretch of Agoa Bay are top spots for surfing and fishing or enjoying a boat cruise. PE’s second nickname, the “Windy City”, will give you an idea of what to expect at the beach.

Apart from Blue Flag beaches, the city is also rich in history and culture: join the 5km Historic Donkin Heritage trail to see over 40 historical buildings in the inner-city. The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum is a great spot for art lovers to spend a few hours. There are idyllic parks within the city limits to explore or you can stretch your legs on one of the hiking trails.

When you feel you’ve spend enough time relaxing in this peaceful city, exciting wildlife adventures await only a short drive away. Nearby are Shamwari Game Reserve (73km) and Addo Elephant National Park (55km) and some smaller game reserves offering a chance to see the ‘Big Five’ on a day trip from Port Elizabeth.

From PE, you can also continue exploring South Africa at the Wild Coast, Karoo, southern Drakensberg Mountains and the historical towns of the interior such as Graaff-Reinet and Grahamstown.