If you’re considering tripping to South Africa and are looking for a city that is rich in beaches, gastronomy, parks, culture, and a shopping complex, the city of Port Elizabeth happens to be one of the top-rated places to go to.
This friendly city does pull out all the stops when it comes to keeping its visitors entertained, chilled and loving life.
Port Elizabeth, called “PE” by the locals, is South Africa’s third largest port, with most of the country’s cleanest beaches.
The city has a charming coastline location that makes it the ideal place in the country for a tropical vacation.
Port Elizabeth is one of the top options for scuba diving, windsurfing, kiteboarding, swimming, sailing, or surfing in South Africa.
For better travel convenience, we have compiled a list of top fun things to do in Port Elizabeth.
Fun things to do in Port Elizabeth
1 Port Elizabeth Beaches
Porth Elizabeth beaches happen to be one of the top Destinations to check out whenever you’re in South Africa. The city boasts some of the tidiest and safest city beaches in South Africa.
The best beaches for swimming in Port Elizabeth include Wells Estate Beach, which has a kiddie pool and water slides, Humewood Beach, and Kings Beach, which is connected to shops, restaurants, a skate park, and other entertainment venues.
For outstanding water quality, safety, and environmental management, these beaches all received the coveted worldwide Blue Flag designation.
Another top beach in the city is Hobie Beach, which is close to the Boardwalk entertainment area. The beach has protected rock pools and is an ideal place for swimming and windsurfing.
Top surfing spots include Pollock Beach and pristine Sardinia Bay in a marine reserve; fishing is prohibited but these locations are fantastic for snorkeling and scuba diving.
2 St Croix Island Marine Reserve
Port Elizabeth St. Croix Island Marine Reserve which is rich with a tropical atmosphere, is another attractive location in the city.
St. Croix, a tiny, rocky island, is a significant marine reserve because it is the habitat of the world’s largest breeding colony of African penguins.
These distinctive black-and-white birds are only found along the southwestern coast of Africa, where they are considered an endangered species due to their rapidly declining population.
To revolve around this distinctive island a boat charter is required. The sea area is teeming with marine life and a well-liked spot for scuba diving.
3 The wreck of the Sacramento
Among the numerous things to do in Port Elizabeth is to visit the wreck of the Sacramento which is a bit of a drive from Cape Town.
Sometimes called the ‘miracle cannon’ because of the mint condition in which it was found, the cannon was salvaged from the wreck of the Sacramento, a Portuguese man of war that ran aground just outside Port Elizabeth in June 1647 on her maiden voyage.
It is located at the top of the cliffs at Schoenmakerskop, directly above where she was wrecked.
There is an interesting story associated with Sacramento’s sinking as the survivors, numbering about 70, sailed up the coast in the hope of finding a ship to take them home at a port in Mozambique.
The crew only set out 10 days after the catastrophe, and their intended route was 1 400 km. Naturally, only a few had lived by the time they arrived in Mozambique. They did, however, meet up with another group of survivors en route from the wreck of the Atalaya, who accompanied them to Lourenco Marques (Maputo).
Entrance is free and there are wonderful coastal trails to do between Schoenmakerskop and Sardinia Bay.
4 Fresh pastries at Grass Roof Farm
You’ll fall in love with this farm stand/patisserie/restaurant with real grass growing on the roof and a wide selection of delicious breakfast, lunch, and tea options. The farm stand and restaurant are open from 08:00 to 15:00.
In addition to stocking locally produced goods, Grass Roof Farm loves to offer its guests nutritious, healthful options for family-friendly dining.
5 Addo Elephant National Park
Addo Elephant National Park is South Africa’s third biggest national park located 72 kilometers north of Port Elizabeth and offers nature lovers the taste of a true African safari.
To prevent the death of the eleven remaining South African bush elephants, the park was created in 1931. Currently, the park is home to around 600 of these magnificent animals, as well as Cape buffalo, black rhinos, lions, leopards, zebras, spotted hyenas, various antelope, and over 185 different species of birds.
There are also night wildlife drives, horseback riding excursions, and hiking paths nearby. Visitors can pick among cottages, chalets, and campsites, all of which have access to a restaurant and a store.
Day visitors are welcome, and they can either join a guided tour or drive their car around the park.
6 Kragga Kamma Game Park
Kragga Kamma Game Park is a short drive from Port Elizabeth and welcomes day visitors for unguided or accompanied safaris.
The park is more reasonably priced than other places to see wildlife, and it has a remarkable variety of animals for its sizes, such as white rhinos, buffalo, giraffes, zebras, and monkeys.
One of the most popular attractions is the cheetah cage, which has a catwalk above for greater viewing. The other animals are all free to roam.
Visitors can easily tour the park in two to three hours, making this a fantastic option for individuals who don’t have time for a lengthier safari at a national park. The park offers guided excursions in open Land Rovers, but the tracks through it are fine for two-wheel-drive vehicles.
7 Visit Bayworld Oceanarium
At Bayworld, natural and cultural history blend seamlessly with slithery snakes and undersea marine marvels. Here, you may observe a shark from behind a pane of glass in the oceanarium before going on a close encounter with a native snake species of the Eastern Cape.
The third-oldest museum in South Africa, the Port Elizabeth Museum, is just next to Bayworld and has exhibits on everything from dinosaurs to maritime heritage to Xhosa beadwork. Every day at predetermined times, presentations involving seals, penguins, and snakes take place.
8 Route 67
Route 67 in the city’s historical hub is an art and heritage trail spotlighting 67 artworks created by Eastern Cape artists–one for every year Mandela devoted to public life.
The route narrates the tale of the events leading up to the 1994 elections while fusing the city’s British and African histories.
To follow the trail downhill, begin at the Donkin Reserve at the lighthouse. Visitors can stroll leisurely from here to take in the vibrant mosaics, paintings, sculptures, and engraved poetry. Along the road are many historical landmarks and art galleries.
Take note of the 67 steps leading up to Africa’s second-largest flag. Additionally, check for the metal cutout of Nelson Mandela, who is shown in 1994 leading a line of South African voters to the country’s first democratic elections while pumping his fist.
The trail ends at the Campanile, a 52-meter-high tower with a carillon of 23 bells erected in 1923 in honor of the first settlers.
9 The Donkin Heritage Trail
The Donkin Heritage Trail allows you to follow the route used by the British settlers in 1820. For those who don’t know, the 1820 settlers were the first British colonists to reach the Cape, and they played a major role in building much of what is still there in Port Elizabeth today.
The five-kilometer Donkin route connects 47 historical sites and national monuments that date back to Port Elizabeth’s founding.
Visitors get to see and explore numerous historical sites along the trail that were established by early British settlers.
10 Visit Nelson Mandela Stadium
A visit to the Nelson Mandela ultra-modern stadium is among the sightseeing things to do in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Visitors to the stadium can witness matches between South African soccer clubs at its 46,000-seat, five-tiered stadium. Along with hosting Bafana Bafana and the Springboks, the stadium is home to the EP Kings, Southern Kings, and Chippa United.
You can take a free stadium tour with your NMB card, but advance reservations are required. To make a reservation and ask about the NMB Pass deal, contact the stadium.
11 Volkswagen AutoPavilion
A pre-arranged tour of the Volkswagen Factory in Uitenhage will be a car enthusiast’s dream come true. You’ll get to meet Herbie and witness a laser-cut automobile, and see the oldest kombi in South Africa, among other numerous things.
The only car discovery center on the continent and only the fifth worldwide, the AutoPavillion, offers free tours to its visitors. This is one of the Port Elizabeth activities that is free thanks to the NMB pass.
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12 Visit the Algoasaurus at Bayworld
The bones of the Algoasaurus, a unique dinosaur to the Nelson Mandela Bay Area related to the Brontosaurus, were discovered near Despatch in 1903.
The bones were discovered by brickmakers at the Port Elizabeth Brick and Tile Company as they were searching for brick-making materials in a quarry.
Unaware of what they had discovered, they unfortunately crushed up some of the bones for bricks. Thankfully, a good number of them survived, allowing Robert Broom, an archaeologist, to create a replica of the dinosaur.
A visit to the Algoasaurus will educate you with everything you need to know about the lifespan of dinosaurs.
The museum is South Africa’s third-oldest institution of its kind. Other fascinating displays include a copy of the Dias Cross and the bones of the last southern right whale to have been harpooned in the bay.
You are entitled to free admission to Bayworld with your NMB pass. Entry is free for children under three years old.
13 Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds
The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds welcomes people of all ages to observe its rescued marine life and learn about these interesting species in the Cape Recife Nature Reserve.
The facility specializes in marine birds, especially African penguins from the nearby St. Croix island, which is home to the largest breeding colony of African penguins in the world.
One of the ideal times to go is around 2:30 pm during feeding time, when guests may pull up a seat in the coffee shop and observe these endearing animals chowing down on their meals and having fun around the pool.
A trip to this wonderful location will provide visitors with the best knowledge possible regarding coastal birds.
14 Valley Market
If you’re looking for a perfect place for shopping in Port Elizabeth, Valley market happens to be the ideal destination to check out.
Every first Saturday of the month, the vibrant Valley Market serves up plates of artisanal food and drink options, making it a great place for foodies to get pumped.
It is located in an old industrial tramway building that comes to life with mouthwatering fragrances and vibrant food, luring guests to eat until they are stuffed.
Grab some dim sum, a gourmet burger, or some hot seafood paella, and finish it off with some homemade gelato. The great range of food available is an intriguing substitute for traditional eateries.
15 The Boardwalk Casino Complex
The Casino complex is one of Port Elizabeth’s most well-liked play areas and a terrific spot to have some fun, this one-stop entertainment center is a great place to unwind.
The casino’s flagship location has a ton of gaming options and a great assortment of restaurants serving everything from breakfast smoothies to supper and late-night beverages.
The scenario is completed by shops, an African market, theaters, and kid-friendly activities, and at night when the musical fountain performs, the central lake is illuminated by cascades of shimmering color.
16 St George’s Park
This lush recreational area is so much more than simply a park, it is the sixth-oldest cricket ground in the world and home to a cricket stadium, a swimming pool, meandering walking trails, and a good number of hungry ducks.
It also boasts Prince Alfred’s Guard Memorial and the opulent Victorian Pearson Conservatory, both of which were constructed in 1882 for the purpose of cultivating exotic plants.
Take a picnic and grab a spot on the grass while the kids work off energy in the playground, or catch an action-packed cricket match.
17 Sardinia Bay
This gorgeous stretch of beach, affectionately referred to as “Sards” by locals, requires a little legwork to get to, but once you are there, you will see why the hike was worthwhile.
Sardinia Bay is a serene and frequently deserted area that is a part of a marine reserve. It has waters that are popular with scuba divers and vast sections of sandy beach that are popular with horseback riders, dog walkers, and kitesurfers.
This is a place to spend time with your sweetie, whether it’s for a stroll in the early morning hours or a sunset cuddle on the sand dunes.
18 Double Zipline
One of the fun things to do in Port Elizabeth is the longest twin zipline experience in Africa! They have an automated stopping system in place for safety reasons so you can relax and take it all in without worrying about slowing down.
Outdoor enthusiasts, families with kids, and couples will have a nice day out at the double Zipline.
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19 Visit the South End Museum
The South End Museum, located on the seashore in Port Elizabeth, chronicles the history of the region’s previous residents’ forcible eviction during the apartheid era.
The human accounts of the era are brought to life through photographs, newspaper clippings, and recreations of homes, highlighting both the victories and the tragedies that people experienced during the period.
Despite having basic exhibits, the museum captures a significant aspect of the city’s history. Visitors are welcome but are requested to leave a donation.
20 Storms River Bridge
Among the fun things to do in Port Elizabeth is to visit the Storms River Bridge located on the eastern end of the well-known Garden Route, also known as the Paul Sauer Bridge, and the vicinity is a popular ecotourism destination.
The bridge itself, known as a deck arch bridge, is a work of art for engineering geeks and building it was a big deal in 1953.
The bridge, which serves as an entrance to Tsitsikamma National Park, is walkable. Take a moment to admire the magnificent views of the rocky gorge below.
Bungee jumping and canopy excursions are both available at the Storms River region, 20 kilometers to the west along the N2. It is done from the considerably higher Bloukrans River Bridge.
Until the neighboring Bloukrans River Bridge was built in 1984, this suspension bridge, which spans Storms River at a height of 36 meters, held the record for the highest concrete arch bridge in South Africa.
21 Cape Recife Reserve and Lighthouse
You can take the 9-kilometer walk around the reserve to see unspoiled beaches, wildflowers, and maybe even some whales. The lighthouse is another interesting spot in the reserve that will interest people of all ages.
At the Pine Lodge Holiday Resort gate, you must purchase a permit in order to drive inside the reserve. You might also park outside and access the reserve on foot.
22 Hobie Beach
Hobie Beach is a fantastic place to launch a boat, play a rousing game of volleyball, windsurf, swim, or simply soak up some sun, although Kings and Humewood beaches are the only ones with the blue flag designation. Kids, in particular, will enjoy exploring the tiny rock ponds.
Visitors can swim with their loved ones as the beach is clean and lovely for walking. Due to its combination of entertainment and a white sand beach, it is the most visited location along the coast close to Port Elizabeth.
People of various ages can enjoy it because it has cafes, bars, restaurants, gift shops, and photographers who will take your picture in exchange for money. Hobie beach can be quite crowded when the weather is good.
Best time to visit Port Elizabeth
September, followed by January and August, is the busiest month for travel to Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
The majority of the city’s seasonal events are best experienced during the period of the year, and it’s also a great time to explore and learn about the fascinating things events of the city.