The Most Unique Experiences in Port Elizabeth
Eastern Cape | © South African Tourism/Flickr
Fancy a day with a difference? Then look no further than the friendly city of Port Elizabeth, where choices vary from sedate river safari cruises to colourful food markets and heart-racing zip line adventures. With great weather throughout most of the year and oodles of action just outside the city limits, there is no time waste.
Mohair wool is produced by Angora goats that thrive in hot, dry summers and cold winters and the Eastern Cape is one of the biggest mohair-producing regions in South Africa. The wool is considered among the world’s most exclusive natural fibres and is used to make blankets, throws and clothing. Pick up some unique products at the Mohair and Wool Factory Shop and take them home as a memento of your visit to Port Elizabeth.
Mohair | © twistin/Flickr
Explore some spectacular reefs
Just a five-minute boat ride from Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth will take you to an underwater wonder world of shipwrecks, exposed reefs and a kaleidoscope of fish. The waters off the city are often considered some of the best for scuba diving as the bay is sheltered and the diversity of marine life is exceptional. Expect reefs covered in neon pink sea sponges and vivid blue sea squirts that sardines dash through followed by predators such as ragged tooth sharks.
Pro Dive, 189 Main Rd, Walmer, Port Elizabeth +27 41 581 1144
Visit Sarah Baartman
Sarah was a famous Khoikhoi woman who was exhibited as an oddity in 19th-century Europe and displayed in a cage, becoming an object of fascination due to her large buttocks, skin colour and exoticism. She died at a young age and her remains were eventually returned to South Africa at the end of Apartheid. Her burial site, in the hills overlooking the Gamtoos Valley, is a reminder to all to strive towards recognising injustices and working towards the upliftment of human rights, dignity and life.
Sarah Baartman Grave, Hankey
Sundays River Citrus Valley
Taking a drive from Port Elizabeth to the lush and leafy Sundays River Valley is a wonderful way to spend the day as you amble among citrus trees and explore the quaint little town. The Sundays River Valley houses some of the largest growers and exporters of citrus fruit in South Africa and the streets are lined with orange and lemon trees, complimented by colourful rose bushes that form hedges around the orchids. Blessed with abundant water, this evergreen valley is alive with the sweet scent of citrus and many sights to enjoy.
Sundays River Valley, Kirkwood
Craft beer, music, food and fun all mingle happily together at the Baakens Food Truck Friday. This monthly night market has become an increasing popular event in Port Elizabeth and brings Lower Valley Road in the Baakens Valley to life, showcasing the diversity of food and culture that the city has to offer. Live bands and DJs provide entertainment and patrons are encouraged to bring along picnic blankets and chairs as they settle down to some great food and an evening under the stars. More than 20 food trucks sell street food fare ranging from curries and pizza to Asian cuisine.
Street Food | © Tammy Gordon/Flickr
Hope Spots are special conservation areas that are considered critical to the health of the ocean and St Croix Island in Algoa Bay is considered one such spot. The island is an important breeding ground for endangered African penguins and this is where the Penguin Patrol tour begins. Set off from the Algoa Bay Yacht Club on a boat charter out to the island before returning to land for refreshments and a visit to Bayworld and SAMREC, a rehabilitation centre for injured and sick marine birds. For bookings contact Raggies Charters.
Nothing quite beats the feeling of flying through the air at a lightning fast speed while the ground below flashes past you. And when this happens in the fresh outdoors, the feeling is even better! The zip line is in the Sunday’s River Valley, approximately 45 minutes from Port Elizabeth, giving adrenalin junkies a reason to smile and the less-than-brave the option to test their mettle. The scenic starting point is 65m (213ft) above the ground and zip liners can reach speeds of up to 80kph (49mph) as they race across the scenic valley.
Adrenalin Addo, Happy Lands Farm, 1 Prospect Avenue, Summerville +27 78 911 1619
Sundays River Cruise
For those who prefer more sedate adventure, the Sundays River is also the perfect spot to chill out and step aboard a boat for a scenic river cruise. The Sundays River Ferry offers an exceptional river safari cruise along one of the top rated estuaries in South Africa, where you can marvel at spectacular natural scenery, enjoy the abundant birdlife and keep your eyes peeled for antelope such as duiker and kudu. Those who are lucky may even get a glimpse of the elusive water monitor, a large and prehistoric-looking creature.
The Sundays River Ferry, 121 Aquavista Cres, Colchester +27 41 468 0140