Port Elizabeth (Xhosa: iBhayi, Afrikaans: Die Baai) (or just PE if you want to sound South African) is South Africa‘s fifth largest city. It is located on the Indian Ocean coast half-way between Cape Town and Durban, in the Eastern Cape, about 260 km from Knysna. It lives up to its reputation as the friendly city and the windy city.
A perfect complement to the Garden Route, the Friendly City is a major sea port and tourist destination set along the beautiful shores of Nelson Mandela Bay. The centre of the South African motor industry is spoiled by moderate and warm temperatures all year round with scattered rain throughout the year – climatic attributes which contribute to an outstanding quality of life. A popular and significant destination for water sports, Port Elizabeth also offers many historical attractions, such as the Historic Donkin Heritage trail, taking visitors along the footsteps of the 1820 settlers. British heritage is reflected in the Port Elizabeth Cricket Club, and the oldest bowling green in South Africa. Port Elizabeth’s greatest treasures, however, are malaria-free wildlife areas in its vicinity, and clean beaches washed by warm water.
Port Elizabeth was founded by British settlers in 1820 and was named after the wife of Rufane Donkin, Acting Governor of the Cape Colony at that time. The city is located on the Algoa Bay and with the neighbouring towns of Uitenhage and Despatch, it forms the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality. The Algoa Bay is reputed as the Bottlenose dolphin world capital, as pods of thousands of dolphins can be spotted at any given time in this bay. This is also a year-round whale watching destination.
The tourist information centres are in the Donkin Reserve in the town centre, at the Boardwalk (Marine Drive) and at the Airport Arrivals hall. These information centres are managed by the local tourism organisation, Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism, which also offers tourism passes that you can purchase online or at their tourism information centres. These tour passes give you access to free and discounted activities around Nelson Mandela Bay.
- 1 Port Elizabeth Airport (PLZ IATA) (about 2 miles (3.2 km) south of the city’s central business district, it is often called the “ten-minute airport” because it is said to be less than ten minutes’ drive from most major areas of the city). It has regular flights to Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and other South African airports. See also Discount airlines in Africa.