City Guide


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Though Port Elizabeth is the Eastern Cape's primary travel hub, its popularity with travellers is based on its proximity to some amazing national parks and historic sites, rather than to the charm of the place itself. Port Elizabeth is a little grubby and industrial but it does have a friendly, welcoming character and a lovely coastline.

The numerous worthwhile excursions out of the city far overshadow anything the urban area has to offer, and places like Grahamstown, Nieu-Bethesda, and Jeffrey's Bay are big drawcards nearby. Port Elizabeth is also close to some world-class game reserves. However, the city itself does have some fun attractions, particularly for those travelling with children.

On a hill above the centre of the city stands a stone pyramid with an adjacent lighthouse. This open public space was proclaimed in perpetuity by Sir Rufane Donkin, acting British Governor of the Cape, when the 1820 Settlers arrived in Algoa Bay.

Donkin named the new settlement after his wife, Elizabeth, who had died in India two years previously, and erected the pyramid to her memory. The lighthouse was built in 1861, and today houses the city's Tourist Information Centre.

Maps are available from the centre describing a three-mile (5km) discovery trail through the hill area and central city, taking in 47 historic sites and architectural delights. This is the perfect place to start a spot of sightseeing in Port Elizabeth.



Port Elizabeth's most popular attraction consists of a complex on the beachfront that includes the Oceanarium, a museum, and a snake park. The Bayworld Oceanarium features an aquarium tank where visitors can watch a vast array of marine life through glass portholes as they...  see full details

Market Square, Port Elizabeth

Market Square

Port Elizabeth's architectural heritage can be traced by taking a walk around the city's central Market Square, which features several historic buildings. The centrepiece of the square is the aesthetically pleasing City Hall, dating from 1858 and topped with an attractive clock tower. Also...  see full details

Edward Pearson Conservatory, St George's Park, PE

St George's Park

St George's Park has been a recreational centre for the city of Port Elizabeth for more than 150 years, boasting well-landscaped gardens covering 73 hectares. On site is the world famous Port Elizabeth Cricket Club, the second oldest cricket club in South Africa and...  see full details