Swimmers during the Splash Festival in Port Elizabeth.
By Amelia Meyer
Port Elizabeth Attractions
With it's 40km of unspoilt beaches and coast line in and around Algoa Bay and the fourth best rated climate of any coastal city in the world it is easy to see how Port Elizabeth is fast becoming known as the 'water sports capital' of South Africa.
Port Elizabeth has not yet been over run by massive over development by huge companies looking to cash into this bonanza and in there lies its major charm, it is still very much a lazy, laid back beach resort where most people take the time to enjoy their surroundings and each other.
I have never been able to determine if putting the Port Elizabeth Airport virtual right in the center of the city was by design or chance but by doing so the result is a traveller can quite conceivable land, disembark, get to their hotel, and be walking on the beach within a half an hour, very few places in the world where that that can happen.
Port Elizabeth has an exciting and vibrant nightlife that ranges from the usual bar to nightclubs where you can party and dance the night away. In the townships there are many informal drinking establishments, called shebeens in South Africa, that will get you up close and personal to the "African culture".
During the day there are many hotels along the beach front that have 'viewing decks' where one can sip a drink with a full course meal while watching the water activities in Algoa Bay.
Contestant finishing the Ironman in Port Elizabeth.
The Splash Festival that is traditionally held over the long Easter Weekend is a family orientated event usually held at Hobie Beach. This events attracts visitors from near and far and there is something for everybody to enjoy with numerous entertainers, food stalls and vendors selling tourism related memorabilia and a whole host of sporting related events, from beach soccer, volleyball and, of course, many water related events from surf ski races to swimming and a leg of the famous Ocean Racing Series World Championships.
Port Elizabeth also host a leg of the world famous Ironman Triathlon endurance sporting event, normally in April, during which the beachfront, Hobie Beach, sees over 2000 athletes from all over the world and the whole supporting staff and spectators close that part of the city down for the duration of the event. To learn more, please view: Iron Man
With the newly constructed Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, with its 64,000 seat capacity, that is a world class multi-purpose stadium, Port Elizabeth residents can look forward to many national and international sporting and entertainment events been staged there in the future. To learn more about this facility, please view: http://www.nmbstadium.com/
The Eastern Cape boasts on having the 'big seven' , the land (elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo) and in the Indian Ocean, whales and the Great White Shark. The Eastern Cape Parks Department manages some 438,000 hectares with plans to increase that by 10,000 hectares annually. As the Eastern Cape is the second largest province in South Africa and it has a landscape that ranges from the dry Karoo to the wet coastal forests of the Wild Coast, it is the only province in South Africa that has all three of the global biodiversity regions, the Cape Floristic Region, Succulent Karoo and Maputoland-Pondoland-Albany, Port Elizabeth is the gateway to all of this fantastic wildlife. In these many state and privately run game parks and reserves you will find the whole gamut of accommodation, from simple camping spots, to world class, five star, establishments that rival anything, anywhere in the world for luxury wildlife viewing. To learn more about the Eastern Cape Parks, please view; http://www.ecparks.co.za/