is affectionately known by its residents (a decidedly loyal group of individuals) by a number of designations – the windy city, the friendly city, 'Die Baai', and Ibhayi
. As one of the largest cities in South Africa (at a population of 1.3 million in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro area), and the primary economic and industrial hub of the Eastern Cape
however, it is remarkable that Port Elizabeth has retained its hospitable, holiday atmosphere; a fact bolstered by its enviable reputation as the watersports capital of South Africa, with scuba diving, game fishing charters, surfing, windsurfing and kiteboarding on offer, as well as cruises from its harbour and dolphin and whale watching tours.
subtropical climate makes it ideal for holidaymakers, providing warm but not overly hot or humid summers and mild winters. Visitors or residents looking for a day out have an embarrassment of riches on their front door, from beaches, natural wonders and game parks to art galleries, museums, cultural events and more. The city has a number of blue-flag rated beaches, including St George’s Beach
Bay, and as already mentioned the variety of beachside entertainment and activity on offer is nearly overwhelming. For nature lovers, Port Elizabeth is roughly at the end of the Garden Route
, and the Donkin Reserve on the outskirts of the city offers a snapshot of this outstandingly beautiful treasure of South African
wildlife. The Baviaanskloof Wilderness
, within a short driving distance of the city, is a simply breathtaking vista of mountains and waterfalls. The Addo
Elephant Park is also easily accessible, providing a variety game viewing in their natural habitat. And Cape Recife Nature Reserve has some of the best bird-watching in the country.
Within the city, the King George VI Art Gallery has a stunning showcase of classical pieces of art. The South African Air Force Museum displays a collection of immaculately preserved planes from as far back the World War II era. Bayworld Oceanarium houses colonies of Cape Fur and Subatlantic seals and African penguins, and also displays raggedtooth sharks, octopi, seahorses and more. Sporting facilities are many and varied, with St George’s cricket ground, the EPRU Rugby
Stadium and the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium holding league matches in their respective sports.
Port Elizabeth is the primary manufacturing centre for the automobile industry in South Africa, with factories for such companies as General Motors, Volkswagen, Ford and Continental Tyres. The city's seaport is also the most crucial ore loading facility in the southern hemisphere, serving the mining industry in southern South Africa. Additionally, an Industrial
Development Zone with expanded port facilities is being constructed to handle the ever-increasing volume of industrial demand in this bustling region. Families are also well-served with high-quality public and private schools such as Alexander Road High School, Collegiate Girls' High School, Grey High School, Pearson High School and Woodridge
College; as well as tertiary institutions including the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University with around 24,000 students spread over eight campuses. And with so much more to offer – large-scale shopping centres, casinos, low traffic congestion, a friendly, welcoming, ethnically diverse culture – isn't it time you discovered what Port Elizabeth holds for you?