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Port Elizabeth is a large South African city and a popular tourist destination thanks to the beautiful beaches of Nelson Mandela Bay and the extensive water sports and diving opportunities. But the city has more to offer than sun, sea and sand. For example, you can follow in the footsteps of the first settlers (Donkin Heritage trail) and there are beautiful colonial buildings in the city. Just an hour's drive away from Port Elizabeth you can go on a safari and see the ‘Big Five’ (elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards and buffalo).
Port Elizabeth has a population of more than one million.
The city is on South Africa's south coast, just about at the separation of the Indian and the Atlantic Ocean. Because of its location, winters are mild; summers are hot, but not by far as humid and oppressively hot as in the northern regions of South Africa.
Port Elizabeth's economy revolves around the car industry and the port. There are plants of General Motors, Volkswagen, Ford and tire manufacturer Continental. The other activities consist mostly of suppliers for these brands. Port Elizabeth has a large port, including the largest ore handling facility in the Southern Hemisphere.
The city's airport is only 3.5 kilometers south of the center. Therefore, it is also called ‘Ten minute airport’, because you can get there within ten minutes from almost every part of the city (except during rush hours). There are no international flights to or from Port Elizabeth Airport (yet). The airport is easily accessible by rental car. From the center follow Settlers Way, turn right onto Walmer Boulevard and left at Third Avenue onto Alister Miller Road. The way is clearly signposted.
There are buses in Port Elizabeth, but the question is always when the bus will come. Furthermore, public transport is (just like in the rest of South Africa) not very safe. If you decide to take the bus, pay attention to your belongings.
Port Elizabeth Stadium was one of the arenas for the Worldcup in 2010. For that event, the roads in and around the city have been improved. You'll have no trouble finding your way in Port Elizabeth by rental car. You should always keep a few simple rules in mind though. Always keep your windows and doors locked. At night, don't stop for red lights when there are people hanging around, in that case it is safer to continue slowly through the red light. Rather a fine than to get robbed!
The best place to park your car is in a parking garage or at an official parking lot.
Port Elizabeth has a reasonable range of accommodation, varying from luxury hotels and holiday resorts to simple guesthouses. Around Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium you will find a cluster of popular hotels. Outside summer (October-March) it is easy to find a hotel that you like. If you would like to travel to Port Elizabeth in summer, then we recommend you to book your accommodation well in advance.
For more information about Port Elizabeth we recommend Google and the following sources: