Port Elizabeth – Self Drive Tour of the Area

Port Elizabeth is located along the N2 highway, and is one of the most popular seaside destinations in South Africa. It’s famed for its breathtaking Indian Ocean beachfront, historic attractions and watersports, and is located within easy access of the Eastern Cape’s renowned game parks and the famous Garden Route. There are plenty of top attractions to get through and a self drive tour is a great way to explore the area. Read on for more…

You may not be aware but Port Elizabeth is highly recommended as a family destination, with many attractions designed to entertain children. Not only that, it’s ideal for young couples and also honeymooners, who can enjoy the vibrant nightspots, beachside attractions and great shopping. Algoa Bay boasts 25 miles (40km) of golden sandy beaches mapped by
the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

Attractions in Port Elizabeth…

Bayworld…

Bayworld is possibly the most popular attraction in Port Elizabeth. It’s a beachfront complex featuring the Oceanarium, Museum and Snake Park. The Oceanarium has an entertaining dolphin show, aquarium tank where you can view the vast array of marine life, including sharks and turtles through the glass! The Snake Park has a wide range of snakes to view. The Maritime Museum at Bayworld focuses on sea trading in the area in times past.

Market Square…

The architectural heritage of Port Elizabeth can be discovered through a leisurely stroll through the central city Market Square, which is dotted with many historic buildings. The City Hall, built in 1858, is topped with a gorgeous clock tower.

Donkin Reserve…

Located on a hill towering above the city centre is a stone pyramid monument with an adjacent lighthouse. The area was named after the British Governor of the area of the 19th century. The lighthouse was constructed in 1861 and this is where the tourist information centre in the city is situated. In the centre you can get a map, which describes a three-mile discovery trail through the hill area and city centre, taking in many historical sites and architectural beauty.

St George’s Park…

The park boasts well-landscaped gardens covering an area of 73 hectares. Home to the world famous Port Elizabeth Cricket Club, and perhaps the oldest Bowling Green in South Africa! The park is also home to the 1882 Edwardian Pearson Conservatory, a national monument filled with lilies, orchids as well as other exotic plants. An excellent arts and crafts fair is held here every second Sunday.

What to see on a self drive tour…

It’s recommended by most tourist advisors that you hire a car to take in the many beautiful sights and local attractions in the Port Elizabeth area. The following are some of the most popular excursions that we recommend in the area:

Addo Elephant Park…

The world-renowned game reserve, the Addo Elephant Park is located just a 45 minute drive from the city. The reserve is home to more than 300 elephants, and the park was recently enlarged. The park was originally created in 1931 to protect the remaining 11 elephants in the area. There are other animals for you to enjoy watching in the reserve, namely black rhinos, zebras, and warthogs. You can have a guided game drive in the reserve, or conduct a self-drive tour using the map you will receive when you enter the park. Accommodation is available here, and also a large restaurant and picnic sites.

The easiest way to get to Addo Elephant Park is to take the N2 highway from Port Elizabeth towards Grahamstown, and follow the signs for the park from there. The park is 72km from Port Elizabeth.

Find out more about Addo Elephant Park.

 

Shamwari Game Reserve…

The Shamwari Game Reserve lies less than an hours drive from Port Elizabeth and the park has been a huge success in re-introducing animal species into the plains of the Eastern Cape, chiefly lion, rhino, elephant, leopard and buffalo. You can also visit an African art and culture village to sample the local Xhosa culture. This is a private game reserve park and a multi award winner for its innovations.

To get to Shamwari from Port Elizabeth, follow the N2 highway on the Grahamstown road for 65km, turn left at the Shamwari sign (R342) for 7 kms, and then turn right at the Shamwari entrance sign.

Find out more about Shamwari Game Reserve.

 

Grahamstown…

Grahamstown is located 125km to the northeast of Port Elizabeth, and is overlooked by the 1820 Settlers National Monument, which is an arts and theatre complex where the town’s annual Arts Festival is held in July. There are several museums in this town, and it’s home to the renowned Rhodes University as well as top private boarding schools.

Grahamstown is located just off the N2 highway between Port Elizabeth to the west and East London to the east. 

Find out more about Grahamstown.

 

Jeffrey’s Bay…

A short drive, approximately 70km, from Port Elizabeth lies the surfing paradise of Jeffrey’s Bay. Also known as “J-Bay” the seaside town hosts the World Billabong Professional surfing contest every July and is famed for its perfect waves for the sport. The town is bustling during peak season, with several stores selling surfing equipment, as well as plenty of cafes and restaurants. The long stretches of sandy beach around the town are also renowned for their shells.

Take the N2 West highway from Port Elizabeth to get to Jeffrey’s Bay.

Molweni Game Reserve…

Molweni Private Game Reserve is located in a wilderness area of the Eastern Cape. It hosts a multitude of activities for you, the visitor and you will be guaranteed a warm welcome. Horse trail safaris, hiking, mountain climbing, biking, and the wonderful Nguni Cattle Roundup on horseback is something to savour.

Take the N2 highway from Port Elizabeth to King Williams Town, then take the R63 left to Adelaide, and follow the signs for Molweni.

Find out more about Molweni Game Reserve.

Maitland Nature Reserve…

The Maitland Nature Reserve is located 30km west of Port Elizabeth. Spanning 127 hectares, there are some interesting nature trails that you can discover the dense forests by. The main trails are the Sir Peregrine Maitland Nature Trail, Igolomi Nature Trail and the magnificent De Stades Nature Trail that covers a total of 9km and affords majestic views of St Francis Bay and the Maitland Dune Mountain. Take the N2 west of Port Elizabeth to get to this wonderful Nature Reserve.

Other areas to visit include the neighbouring towns of Despatch and Uitenhage, which form part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, an administrative area that covers the Port Elizabeth area.

Presently, Port Elizabeth Harbour, waterfront and city centre are being upgraded before the World Cup 2010. The city is one of the venues for the World Cup games. There are also plans to upgrade Port Elizabeth Airport.

So, if you’re planning a trip to Port Elizabeth and want to take a self drive tour of the area book car hire Port Elizabeth. The pick up point is Port Elizabeth Airport which is located about 5km (3miles) west of the city centre.



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