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Port Elizabeth is South Africa's fifth largest city and is located on the Indian Ocean coast half-way between Cape Town and Durban, in the Eastern Cape, about 260 km from Knysna. Also known as the friendly city and the windy city, it tends to live up to both names.
Port Elizabeth Airport is located just a few kilometres out of the city centre and has regular flights to Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and other South African airports. See also Discount airlines in Africa.
The central train station is in the city centre near the harbour.
Shosholoza Meyl operates daily inter-city trains to Johannesburg and Bloemfontein. You can also get to Cape Town, Kimberley, Pietermaritzburg and Durban, to East London, to Mthatha or to Grahamstown.
Premier Classe operates twice-weekly luxury trains to Cape Town via George and Oudtshoorn.
MetroRail operates frequent commuter trains to Uitenhage and the surrounding suburbs during weekdays, with a reduced service over weekends.
The Apple Express is a narrow-gauge tourist train that operates from a separate station in Humewood Road near King's Beach. It departs regularly for Thornhill Village via the Van Staden's River bridge, the highest narrow-gauge rail bridge in the world.
Port Elizabeth is easily accessible by motorways from Cape Town (790 km) via the Garden Route, Bloemfontein and East London (310 km). Of course, you can also drive from Johannesburg.
What to see
Townships: organized tours are offered by the Tourist information. There is a safety concern regarding township tours though.
Alexandria Dune Fields. The largest coastal dune field in the southern hemisphere is located just outside PE at the villages of Colchester and Cannonville.
Tour Nelson Mandela Bay City, Dickens Street, Central Port Elizabeth. See Town Hall, Feather Market Hall, the Old Post Office, Fort Frederick, Donkin Reserve, Settlers Park, and the Horse Memorial all in one fabulous tour.
Wezandla African Arts and Crafts Gallery, 27 Baakens Str. Browse African Art
Museums, Galleries and Heritage
South Africa Airforce Museum.
Bayworld, Marine Drive, Humewood. Has a museum, oceanarium and snake park. There are currently no dolphin performances.
Red Location Museum. The museum which bridges the past with the future Adults:R12, Pensioners, Disabled and Unemployed: Free on Wed between 12pm and 4pm, Discount for students.
PE is a wonderful jumping-off spot for game viewing. There are elephants and other birds and animals at Addo Elephant National Park and many privately owned game reserves in the area, as well as great area for viewing marine life in the form of dolphins, whales and African penguins.
Raggy Charters. Whale & Dolphin Watching, Penguin Island Cruises and Beachfront Cruises
African Dawn (Wildlife Sanctuary), Thornhill. African Dawn Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary offers a selection of birds and wildlife to view including Cheetahs, Servals and much more. Braai and picnic places available.
Beaches. Hobie, Humewood, Kings and Wells Estate Beach are the main swimming beaches. Humewood, Wells, Kings and Hobie have all been awarded Blue Flag status .
Kragga Kamma Game Park, (Follow the M15 west from the city center for about 15 minutes). You can either sleep in the camp or take self drives during the Day.
The Mountain Club of South Africa. Climbs, walks and a rock climbing school.
Voetsac Hiking Club. There are a number of hiking trail, and walks in and around the city: Maitland Nature Reserve, Aloe Hiking Trail and more.
The Peoples Observatory, cnr Westview and Macfarlane, Newton Park. Meetings every first and third Wednesday of the month at 8PM. View the southern skies.
Roseate Tern hiking trial, Next to Pine Lodge Resort off Marine Drive, Summerstrand.
Sandboarding. The Maitland dune mountain is one of the largest in the country and perfect for sand boarding.
Surf. The Pipe at Pollok Beach is where you want to go for surfing.