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Whats Happening In Port Elizabeth?

Quick Summary

Port Elizabeth, located in South Africa, is a vibrant city with a rich history and a variety of events and activities to offer. From major events and festivals to outdoor adventures and a bustling nightlife, there is something for everyone in Port Elizabeth. Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s cultural scene, enjoying the beautiful beaches, or indulging in delicious local cuisine, this blog post provides a comprehensive guide to what’s happening in Port Elizabeth.


Port Elizabeth, also known as “The Friendly City,” is a vibrant coastal city located in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. With its rich history, stunning beaches, and diverse cultural scene, Port Elizabeth offers something for everyone.

This bustling metropolis has evolved from being an important trading post during colonial times to becoming one of South Africa’s major cities today. Its strategic location along Algoa Bay makes it a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike.

In this blog post, we will explore what’s happening in Port Elizabeth – from major events and festivals to entertainment options and outdoor activities. Whether you’re looking for exciting nightlife or family-friendly attractions, there are plenty of things to see and do in this dynamic city.

So let’s dive into the heart of Port Elizabeth and discover all that it has to offer!

Overview of Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth, also known as “The Friendly City,” is a vibrant coastal city located in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. With its rich history, stunning natural beauty, and warm hospitality, it has become a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike.

Brief History:

Founded in 1820 by British settlers who arrived on ships from England to establish a trading post along the Algoa Bay coastline. The settlement quickly grew into an important port town due to its strategic location between Cape Town and Durban. Over time, Port Elizabeth played significant roles during various historical events such as the Frontier Wars and apartheid resistance movements.

Geographical Location:

Situated on Nelson Mandela Bay’s shores at the eastern end of Route 62 – one of South Africa’s most scenic routes – Port Elizabeth offers breathtaking views with miles of pristine beaches stretching along Algoa Bay. It serves as an ideal gateway to explore nearby attractions like Addo Elephant National Park (home to over 600 elephants), Tsitsikamma National Park (known for its lush forests), and Jeffreys Bay (famous surfing spot).


Port Elizabeth enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate characterized by warm summers and cool winters. Summers typically have temperatures ranging from around 20°C-30°C (68°F-86°F) while winter months see averages between 10°C-20°C(50°F-68°F). The region experiences moderate rainfall throughout the year but tends to be drier during autumn/winter seasons.

Population & Demographics:

As per recent estimates, Port Elizabeth boasts approximately 1 million residents making it one of the largest cities in South Africa. The population is diverse and reflects a significant mix of cultures including Xhosa, Afrikaans, British, and Indian communities. Port Elizabeth has also emerged as a university city with Nelson Mandela University attracting students from across South Africa and abroad.

With its fascinating history, stunning natural landscapes, and diverse population, Port Elizabeth offers a unique blend of cultural experiences and outdoor adventures. Whether you’re interested in exploring historical sites or enjoying the beautiful beaches, this city has something for everyone to enjoy.

Major Events in Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth is a vibrant city that offers a wide range of events throughout the year. Whether you’re interested in cultural festivals, sporting competitions, or live performances, there’s always something happening to suit your interests. Here are some upcoming events and popular annual gatherings worth checking out:

Nelson Mandela Bay Fashion Week

Date: TBA (usually held in March)

This prestigious fashion event showcases local designers’ talent and creativity on the runway. From glamorous evening wear to cutting-edge streetwear, this event celebrates South African fashion at its finest.

Ironman 70.3 World Championship

Date: September 2022 (exact dates yet to be announced)

Considered one of the most challenging triathlon races globally, Port Elizabeth hosts athletes from around the world for an intense competition featuring swimming, cycling, and running across scenic routes along Algoa Bay.

Port Festival

Date: TBA (Usually held during December)

The Port Festival is an exciting celebration of maritime heritage with various activities taking place at both land-based venues like The Campanile as well as waterborne attractions such as boat cruises showcasing stunning views over Algoa Bay.

Baywest Mall Ice Rink Opening Event

Date: TBA

Baywest mall opens up their ice rink every winter season, this family-friendly activity allows visitors young & old alike to enjoy skating sessions while enjoying music played by DJs.

The Herald Continental Cycle Tour

Dates: TBC (March/April)

Cycling enthusiasts gather annually for this thrilling race which features different distances catering for all levels. Participants get to experience breathtaking coastal scenery whilst competing against fellow cyclists.

These are just a few examples of major events that take place regularly in Port Elizabeth; however, the city has much more going on throughout each month. Therefore, it would be best advised visiting websites such as https://www.nmbt.co.za/list_events.html and https://allevents.in/port%20elizabeth-ec/all for the most up-to-date information on upcoming events in Port Elizabeth.

Whether you’re a sports enthusiast, culture lover, or simply looking to have a good time, there’s always something happening in this lively city. Make sure to mark your calendars and join in on the excitement!

Festivals and Celebrations in Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth is a vibrant city that celebrates its rich cultural heritage through various festivals and celebrations throughout the year. These events showcase the diversity of the local community, offering visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in traditional customs, music, dance, food, and art.

The Herald Continental Cycle Tour

One of the most anticipated annual festivals in Port Elizabeth is The Herald Continental Cycle Tour. This prestigious cycling event attracts participants from all over South Africa as well as international cyclists who come to challenge themselves on scenic routes along Nelson Mandela Bay’s coastline. Spectators line up along the route to cheer on their favorite riders while enjoying live entertainment and delicious street food.

Afrikaans Is Groot (AIG)

Another popular celebration is Afrikaans Is Groot (AIG), which translates to “Afrikaans Is Great.” AIG brings together some of South Africa’s top Afrikaans musicians for a weekend-long concert extravaganza at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Fans can sing along with their favorite artists during this unforgettable musical experience.

Traditional Xhosa Initiation Ceremonies

For those interested in experiencing traditional Xhosa culture firsthand, attending one of Port Elizabeth’s many initiation ceremonies known as “ulwaluko” or “amakrwala” provides a unique insight into this important rite-of-passage ritual for young men within Xhosa communities. While these ceremonies are not open to tourists due to their sacred nature, they play an integral role in preserving age-old traditions within local communities.

National Arts Festival

The National Arts Festival held annually also makes its mark on Port Elizabeth by showcasing diverse artistic talent across multiple disciplines such as theater productions, dance performances, and visual arts exhibitions. This festival draws both national and international performers, making it one of the largest arts festivals in Africa. Visitors have ample opportunities to enjoy world-class shows while exploring the bustling streets filled with craft markets and food stalls serving delicious local delicacies.

In addition to these major celebrations, the Eastern Cape province is home to numerous cultural events and festivals throughout the year. These include the Ebubeleni Music Festival, which celebrates African music and dance; the Nelson Mandela Bay Fashion Week, a platform for local designers to showcase their talent, and the Ironman South Africa triathlon event that attracts athletes from around the world.

Whether you’re interested in immersing yourself in traditional customs or enjoying world-class performances, Port Elizabeth offers a diverse range of festivals and celebrations that are sure to captivate visitors of all ages and interests.

Entertainment and Nightlife in Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth offers a vibrant entertainment scene with plenty of options to keep visitors entertained throughout the day and into the night. Whether you’re looking for live music, theater performances, or exciting nightlife spots, this city has something for everyone.

Overview of Entertainment Options

In Port Elizabeth, there is no shortage of entertainment venues that cater to various interests. From cinemas showing the latest blockbusters to amusement parks offering thrilling rides and activities for all ages, you’ll find it all here. The Boardwalk Casino & Entertainment World is a popular destination that combines casino gaming with restaurants, bars, theaters showcasing local talent as well as international acts.

Popular Nightlife Spots

When it comes to nightlife in Port Elizabeth, there are several hotspots where locals and tourists alike gather after dark. Richmond Hill is known for its trendy bars serving craft beers from local breweries along with delicious cocktails made by skilled mixologists. This area also boasts an array of stylish lounges perfect for enjoying drinks while socializing with friends.

Another favorite spot among party-goers is Stanley Street located in Central PE which features numerous pubs, clubs playing different genres ranging from hip-hop beats at one venue to jazz tunes at another, making sure every taste gets satisfied.

Live Music Venues and Theaters

For those who enjoy live music performances or theatrical shows, there are many venues scattered across town catering to diverse tastes. The Opera House situated on Whites Road hosts regular productions including plays, musicals, dance recitals, etc. The Barn Theatre within St George’s Park provides a platform for emerging artists to showcase their talents through intimate gigs.

If you prefer smaller, more laid-back settings, then Bridge Street Brewery should be your go-to place. They often host acoustic sessions featuring talented musicians performing original compositions alongside covers, creating a unique atmosphere.

Whether you want to dance until dawn at a nightclub or relax over some soulful melodies, the entertainment scene in Port Elizabeth will not disappoint. So, make sure to explore the city’s vibrant nightlife and entertainment options during your visit.

Outdoor Activities in Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth, also known as the “Friendly City,” offers a wide range of outdoor activities and attractions for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Whether you’re looking to relax on pristine beaches or explore breathtaking wildlife reserves, there is something for everyone in this coastal city.


Port Elizabeth boasts some of South Africa’s most beautiful beaches. From popular spots like Hobie Beach with its calm waters perfect for swimming, to the more secluded Sardinia Bay Beach where you can enjoy long walks along the shoreline, beach lovers will be spoilt for choice. Other notable beaches include Kings Beach and Pollock Beach which are ideal for surfing.


For those seeking green spaces within the city limits, Port Elizabeth has several parks that offer recreational opportunities amidst natural beauty. Settlers Park Nature Reserve is a must-visit destination featuring walking trails through indigenous forests teeming with birdlife. The picturesque St George’s Park provides picnic areas, sports fields, an art gallery, and even a small zoo – making it an excellent spot for families.

Nature Reserves:

If you want to immerse yourself in untouched wilderness just outside of Port Elizabeth, you won’t be disappointed by what awaits you at nearby nature reserves. The Kragga Kamma Game Park allows visitors to get up close and personal with African wildlife such as giraffes, rhinos, lions, and cheetahs during guided game drives. Addo Elephant National Park, a short drive from PE, is home not only to elephants but also lions, buffalos, rhinoceroses, and various antelope species. It’s one of the largest national parks in South Africa and offers an unforgettable wildlife safari experience. Other nature reserves worth exploring include Seaview Lion Park, Samrec Penguin Rehabilitation Center, Cape Recife Nature Reserve, Bushbuck Trail at Maitland River Mouth, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum Garden, and Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve.

Adventure Sports:

Port Elizabeth is a hub for adrenaline junkies, offering an array of adventure sports and activities. Water enthusiasts can enjoy surfing, kayaking, jet skiing, windsurfing, and kiteboarding along the city’s coastline. For those who prefer to stay on land, hiking trails in nearby reserves provide opportunities for scenic walks and birdwatching. Other popular outdoor adventures include sandboarding, dune safaris, fishing charters, golf, cycling tours, and horseback riding on the beach. Whatever your preferred level of excitement, you’ll find plenty to keep you entertained in Port Elizabeth.

Whether you’re looking to relax by the beach or embark on thrilling outdoor experiences, Port Elizabeth has it all. With its stunning natural landscapes and diverse range of activities, this coastal gem promises unforgettable memories for visitors seeking adventure in South Africa.

Shopping and Dining in Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth offers a diverse range of shopping experiences, from modern malls to vibrant markets. Whether you’re looking for high-end fashion or unique local crafts, there’s something for everyone.

Shopping Malls:

  • Baywest Mall: Located on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth, Baywest Mall is one of the largest retail destinations in the Eastern Cape. With over 250 stores including major international brands and a wide selection of restaurants and entertainment options, it caters to all your shopping needs.
  • Walmer Park Shopping Centre: Situated in the heart of Walmer suburb, this mall features an array of shops ranging from clothing boutiques to electronics stores. It also boasts several dining options where visitors can enjoy delicious meals after their shopping spree.
  • Greenacres Shopping Centre: Conveniently located near popular hotels and tourist attractions, Greenacres Shopping Centre houses numerous well-known retailers as well as specialty stores offering everything from fashion items to home decor.


  • The Valley Market: Held on selected Saturdays at various locations around Port Elizabeth such as Baakens Valley or Tramways Building precincts; The Valley Market showcases locally produced food products like artisanal breads, fresh produce, and homemade preserves along with handmade arts & crafts by talented artisans.
  • Donkin Street Flea Market: This bustling market takes place every Sunday along Donkin Street showcasing an eclectic mix of second-hand goods, vintage clothes, jewelry, homeware, clothing accessories, etc. It’s perfect if you’re hunting for unique treasures!

Dining Options:

When it comes to dining out in Port Elizabeth, you’ll be spoilt for choice. The city has a thriving culinary scene that caters to different tastes. Here are some popular dining spots worth checking out:

  1. Stanley Street Precinct: Located within Richmond Hill, this trendy area is known for its variety of restaurants, pubs, bars, & cafes serving up a range of cuisines from Italian to Asian fusion.
  2. The Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World: Situated on the beachfront, The Boardwalk offers an array of dining options ranging from fine-dining restaurants to casual eateries. Visitors can enjoy everything from seafood platters at famous local establishments, to international cuisine, and even grab-and-go snacks.
  3. Richmond Hill Brewing Co: This microbrewery is known for its craft beers brewed onsite. They also serve delicious pub-style food with a South African twist, making it a popular spot among locals and tourists alike.

Local Specialties:

No visit to Port Elizabeth would be complete without trying some of the region’s unique specialties. Here are two must-try dishes:

  1. Bunny Chow: A beloved street food originating in Durban but widely available in Port Elizabeth as well. Bunny chow consists of hollowed-out bread filled with curry (usually chicken or mutton). It’s messy, but incredibly tasty!
  2. Braai: As part of South Africa’s culinary culture, a braai (barbecue) is not just about cooking meat; it’s an experience! Head over to one of the many public parks along the coast where you’ll find designated braaing areas. Join locals as they gather around fires, grilling various meats while enjoying good company & conversation. It truly captures the essence of South African hospitality.

Whether you’re looking for retail therapy or indulging your taste buds, Port Elizabeth has plenty to offer. Shopping malls provide convenience and variety, while markets showcase local talent and products. Don’t forget to sample some traditional delicacies during your stay – you won’t be disappointed!

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: What are the top attractions in Port Elizabeth?

Port Elizabeth offers a range of exciting attractions for visitors to explore. Some of the top attractions include:

  • The Donkin Reserve and Pyramid, which provides panoramic views of the city.
  • Bayworld, a popular marine park that includes an aquarium, museum, and snake park.
  • The Boardwalk Casino & Entertainment World with its vibrant atmosphere and variety of entertainment options.
  • Addo Elephant National Park where you can spot elephants as well as other wildlife species on safari tours.

Question 2: How can I find accommodation in Port Elizabeth?

Finding accommodation in Port Elizabeth is easy due to its wide range of hotels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts (B&Bs), self-catering apartments or houses. You can use online travel websites such as Booking.com or Airbnb to search for available accommodations based on your preferences like location, budgetary requirements etc.

Question 3: What are some family-friendly activities in Port Elizabeth?

Port Elizbeth has plenty to offer families visiting with children. Here are some family-friendly activities:

  • Visiting Kragga Kamma Game Park where kids will enjoy seeing animals up close
  • Exploring Happy Valley Gardens located along Marine Drive offering playgrounds, walkways, and beautiful gardens
  • Enjoying water sports at Hobie Beach including swimming, surfing, kayaking etc

Question 4: Are there any free events or activities in Port Elizabeth?

Yes! There are several free events/activities one could engage into while being here:

  • Taking a stroll along Kings Beach Promenade enjoying scenic ocean views
  • Discover local art at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum without paying admission fees

Question 5: What is the best time to visit Port Elizabeth?

The best time to visit depends upon personal preference but generally speaking, the months from September through April tend be warmer and ideal for beach activities. However, Port Elizabeth has a mild climate throughout the year making it suitable to visit any time.

Question 6: How can I get around in Port Elizabeth?

Getting around in Port Elizabeth is convenient with various transportation options available:

  • Car rental services are widely available at the airport or within the city.
  • Metered taxis operate throughout the city and can be hailed on streets or booked through taxi companies.
  • Public buses run by Algoa Bus Company provide affordable transport across different areas of Port Elizabeth.

Question 7: Are there any guided tours available in Port Elizabeth?

Yes! There are several tour operators offering guided tours that cater to different interests such as wildlife safaris, historical walking tours, township visits etc. These guides will ensure you have an informative experience while exploring all that this vibrant city has to offer.

Question 8: What popular day trips from Port Elizabeth?

Port Elizabeth serves as a gateway to many exciting day trip destinations including:

  • Addo Elephant National Park
  • Tsitsikamma National Park
  • Jeffreys Bay (famous surfing destination)

Question 9: Are there cultural events/festivals happening here?

Yes! The annual Nelson Mandela Bay Splash Festival held over Easter weekend offers live music performances, family-friendly entertainment, and water sports competitions. Other notable festivals include Red Location Museum Jazz festival celebrating local jazz talent & Ironman South Africa which attracts athletes worldwide.

Question 10: Where can I find information about upcoming events?

To stay updated on upcoming events taking place in Port Elizabeth, you may refer websites like NMBT.co.za, list_events.com, Port Elizabeth Events Facebook page where they regularly post event listings along with dates, times, & venues.


  1. https://www.nmbt.co.za/list_events.html
  2. https://www.facebook.com/pelocalevents/
  3. https://allevents.in/port%20elizabeth-ec/all

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