Positioned at the Eastern tip of the Garden Route, Port Elizabeth is the perfect start to the ultimate South African road trip, but don’t rush though this underrated corner of South Africa. Stay a while in the ‘Friendly City’ and experience the adventure and family friendly fun available at every turn. Unspoiled beaches, warm Indian Ocean and famously diverse landscapes, PE is a nature lovers dream, mix in a fantastic city vibe and some great people and you have the perfect holiday destination.
The Valley Market
On the first Saturday of every month at the corner of Alabaster and Lower Valley Roads, Baakens Valley, The Valley market kicks into gear bringing good vibes, good company and some great food. This is what Saturdays were made for, spicy paella, gourmet boerie rolls, crisp pizza bases, freshly baked artisan bread and smoothies are just some of the delicious goodies you can discover. Open from 8am to 2pm, R10 will get you in with all proceeds going back into the community.
Van Stadens Flower Reserve
This 500 hectare reserve is a hiker’s and nature enthusiast’s dream and is only about 35 km West of Port Elizabeth. Known for its stunning display of Proteas, Van Stadens is particularly special as every season brings with it a new spectacle of stunning indigenous flowers. There are walks for every ability some easy shorter walks will take you past the dam and through the fynbos while the longer ones along the Forest and River trails sending you on an adventure leading into the gorge. Perfect for the whole family to enjoy some fresh air and for the kids to get out some of that seemingly endless energy.
The Cape Recife Lighthouse and SAMREC
With an incredibly rich history The Cape Recife Lighthouse is one of South Africa’s most iconic lighthouses. Book a tour and explore the inside of this stately black and white lighthouse or take on the 9km walk around the reserve but do take some time out to see it and learn more about its history.
While there, why not go visit the penguins at The South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre which is located nearby the lighthouse. The non-profit organisation takes in injured and sick penguins and other sea birds and serves as their temporary home where they are nursed back to health and given the proper care needed in order to be released back into the wild. Run by volunteers the centre is open from 09:30-17:00 every day and volunteers are more than happy to show visitors around and introduce their winged friends. Visit at 14:30 if you’d like to see the penguins being fed and be sure to refuel at their coffee shop “The Flying Penguin’ before heading out.
For lighthouse tours:
Contact 041 583 4004.
R25 for an adult and R15 per child
Public Library at Market Square
This grand piece of architecture is the only historic building in South Africa built as a Library which is still operates as a public library today. Situated in the North-Western corner of Market Square this excellent example of Victorian Gothic architecture was officially opened in 1902. A Sicilian marble statue of Queen Victoria watches over Market Square and keeps guard at the entrance to the library and an impressive stained glass dome inside completes the look and will have you feeling as if you’ve stepped into a time machine. Perfect for history and literature enthusiasts alike as the library is open every weekday for you to browse the never-ending shelves of books.
Port Elizabeth has a wealth of options when it comes to beaches and Hobie Beach is a firm favourite. Action packed with plenty of options for activities Hobie Beach is your one stop destination for volleyball, kitesurfing, exploring rock pools or just some good old fun in the sun.