Gqeberha is a city in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. It was previously known as Port Elizabeth or PE. Many people still call it by that name. The best things to do in Port Elizabeth revolve around the city’s history, coastal activities, and wildlife safaris.

The city was founded in 1820 by Sir RufaneDonkin, the Governor of the Cape. He named it after his wife, Elizabeth. A memorial dedicated to her is still one of the top places to visit in Gqeberha. The city was a major port during British colonial rule and played an important role in South Africa’s fight for freedom.

Many of the Port Elizabeth tourist attractions are dedicated to the freedom struggle and the people who fought for it, especially Nelson Mandela. Most of these places of interest in Port Elizabeth can be found on the famous Route 67. You will also see many attractions in PE from the colonial period including lighthouses, opera houses, forts, and public buildings.

However, people visit Port Elizabeth for the fun activities. Incredible landscapes surround the city. You have forests, beaches, sand dunes, and savannahs. These are the most beautiful places to visit in Port Elizabeth. Let’s start closer to the city, with the beaches of PE. It is a paradise for those who love the oceanside, its calm, happening and adventurous aspects. These golden sand beaches are absolutely beautiful.

Some are known for leisure, sunbathing, and beach sports. While other best beaches in Port Elizabeth are popular for entertainment, shopping, dining, and nightlife. There are also some beautiful things to see in Port Elizabeth by the coastline. This includes massive sand dunes, historical sites, coastal forests, and nature reserves.

Going more towards the land, you can explore the incredible wilderness. Wildlife safaris are among the most fun things to do in Gqeberha. There are various nature reserves, game parks, and national parks where you can see a variety of wild animals. The most popular ones include lions, elephants, rhinos, buffaloes, leopards, zebras, antelopes, African penguins, and many more. Catching a glimpse of these animals in their natural habitats is one of the most fascinating things to see in Port Elizabeth.

Finally, you have the adventurous side of Gqeberha travel. These different landscapes create possibilities for a variety of fun activities to do in Port Elizabeth. You can explore the nature trails through the forests and coastlines.

At the coastline, you can enjoy scuba diving, snorkelling, kayaking, swimming, and water sports. Exploratory activities like sandboarding, offroading, and boat cruises are also major Port Elizabeth attractions. You have a lot to do, see, and explore when you visit Gqeberha.

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Top 21 Tourist Places to Visit in Port Elizabeth, South Africa

1. Kragga Kamma Game Park

What trip to Africa is complete without Wildlife Safari? It is one of the best things to do in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. This game park is home to a variety of animals. You will get to explore the savannah forest in a jeep. The journey will bring you face-to-face with rhinos, giraffes, cheetahs, buffaloes, zebras, and more.

This reserve has both guided and self-guided tours. If this is your first trip to Gqeberha attractions then go for a guided one. You will get to know a lot of interesting facts about the forests and the animals. There are many options, ranging from an hour to 5 hours.

2. Donkin Reserve

This park was established by the founder of Port Elizabeth in 1820. It serves as the starting point for Port Elizabeth sightseeing. Both Donkin Heritage Trail and Route 67 begin from Donkin Reserve.

The park is also known for the stone pyramid. It is a memorial dedicated to Sir Donkin’s wife Elizabeth. You will need 20 to 30 minutes to explore this park.

3. Addo Elephant National Park

Spanning 444,000 acres, this is the third-largest national park in South Africa. The park is home to more than 600 elephants. If you want to see these majestic giants, there are no better Gqeberha tourist attractions.

The jeep tour takes you through the savannah forest and the coastline. You will get to explore a variety of landscapes and encounter different animals. You will come across some of the most beautiful things to see in Port Elizabeth. Aside from elephants, the national park is also home to black rhinos, cape buffalo, zebra, spotted hyenas, and African penguins.

The place is also well known for several outdoor activities to do in Port Elizabeth. This includes horseback riding trails, hiking, and night safaris. The park has many different routes to explore. Even for the shortest one, you will need at least 2 hours.

4. Route 67

This is a sightseeing tour to visit many attractions in PE dedicated to Nelson Mandela. The route takes you on a journey of 67 years from Mandela’s life expressed through art.

You will see murals, paintings, sculptures, mosaics and other art forms created by artists from the Eastern Cape. The styles blend both African culture and British art styles. These are must see places in Port Elizabeth for art and history admirers. You will need about 2 to 3 hours to complete this tour.

5. Best Beaches in Port Elizabeth

The coastline of Gqeberha has some amazing beaches. People come here for leisure, sunbathing, nightlife, watersports, swimming, dining, shopping, and partying. These beaches are clean and well-facilitated for a lot of fun activities.

Some of the best beaches in Port Elizabeth include Algoa, Wells Estate, Humewood, Kings, Hobie, Pollock, Sardinia, New Brighton, and Bluewater. Most of these beaches have the coveted Blue Flag status. You can easily spend a couple of hours enjoying the best beaches in PE.

6. Bayworld Oceanarium

The oceanarium has two sections: one is dedicated to various African birds and reptiles and the other is a Cultural & Natural History Museum. The museum is dedicated to the rich diversity of Algoa Bay.

It is one of the best places to visit in Port Elizabeth for families. The exhibits focus on dinosaurs, birds, and animals. The museum also focuses on the region’s local history and maritime history. The biggest attractions of the museum are skeletons a Southern Right Whale and an Algoasaurus.

The oceanarium is also one of the best attractions in PE for families. It is home to African penguins, crocodiles, snakes, seals, turtles, and a variety of fishes. The feeding sessions for seals and penguins are especially popular. You will need 3 to 4 hours to explore the Oceanarium and the museum.

7. South End Museum

This museum focuses on the tragic period of the Apartheid era. It retells the story of the forced removal of residents from the South End suburb during the time. It is one of the top places of interest in Port Elizabeth to understand the regional history and culture. Alongside historical overview, the museum also focuses on personal stories of tragedy as well as triumphs. You will need about an hour or so to tour this museum.

8. Sardinia Bay

This bay is known for its clear waters, sand dunes and rich marine life. It is popular for a lot of cool things to do in Port Elizabeth including scuba diving, snorkelling, coastline hikes, horse riding, kayaking, and boat cruises.

With scuba diving and snorkelling you will get to see the colourful world under the ocean surface. You will see a variety of fishes, dolphins, seals, turtles, and more.

The bay is the starting point for the Sacramento trail. This trail takes you on a tour of the Sardinia Bay Nature Reserve. You will come across some of the most beautiful places to visit in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Alongside natural beauty, the trail also has several historical sites.

Sardinia Bay is also home to some of the best beaches in PR. It also has some very nice picnic spots where you can enjoy an outing with an ocean view. You can easily spend a couple of hours exploring the Sardinia Bay.

9. Opera House

This old cabaret-style theatre hails from the Victorian period. It has seen many historical events, performances, and artists. It opened in 1892 and is admired for its regal design.

The Opera House also has many urban legends of mysterious stories and ghosts. However, you should check this place out not for the hauntings but for the experience. The theatre still hosts some of the most important cultural events in the city. You should reserve an evening to enjoy a show at this historic venue when you visit Port Elizabeth.

10. Summerstrand Boardwalk

This venue is great for shopping, entertainment, dining, and a lot of fun things to do in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The complex is built around man-made lakes and gives you a seaside vibe.

The Boardwalk area has a shopping complex, casino, restaurants, shops, amphitheatre, movie theatres, amusement arcade, gaming zones, musical events, comedy shows, and more. In the evening you can enjoy an amazing light and fountain show.

The lakes have 100 jets that shoot water up to 60 meters high in a choreographed symphony with colourful lights adding to the magic. This is one of the most fun places to go in Port Elizabeth to enjoy an evening.

11. Cape Recife Nature Reserve

This nature reserve is perfect if you want to enjoy beach time but with less crowd. The reserve has a beautiful beach with both sandy and rocky patches to explore. The rocky terrains also form tidal pools where you can see vibrant marine life.

It is also popular for coastal hiking trails and an old lighthouse. This was built in 1851 and you can climb to the top to get a scenic view of the reserve. You can take the Roseate Tern trail to explore the reserve and encounter a variety of birds. It takes about 2 to 3 hours to explore this trail.

12. Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve

This nature reserve is home to hundreds of species of wildflowers brought from different parts of the world. The reserve has hiking trails that you can follow to discover all sorts of flowers of different colours and shapes.

It is also home to several small animals and birds which you would encounter on the trail. Besides hiking, you can also enjoy other fun activities to do in Port Elizabeth. This reserve also has trails for cycling, mountain biking, and offroading. You will need 3 to 4 hours to explore this nature reserve.

13. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum

This museum houses a great collection of historic South African Art. The majority of the exhibits were created between 1700 and 1900. You will works of both British and African artists as well as the influence of these styles on one another. It is one of the most insightful PE tourist attractions.

The museum also has ancient Indian miniatures and Chinese textile art among its exhibits. This gives you a glimpse of the trading between Asia and Africa in different periods. You will need about an hour to tour this museum.

14. Shamwari Private Game Reserve

If you want to see all the Big Five of Africa in one trip, you should head to Shamwari. You will see Elephants, Lions, Leopards, Rhinos, and Buffaloes. Alongside you will also see Giraffes, Zerba, Hyenas, Gazelles, Hunting Dogs, Crocodiles, and more. The reserve is rich in wildlife.

It is a vast reserve with several luxury lodges, camping sites, and educational centres. You can enjoy wildlife tours that are both exploratory, adventurous, and educational. It is one of the best things to do in Gqeberha.

You can also see the animals up close at the rehabilitation and conservation centres of the reserve. You will need at least a day to explore part of the reserve. People also make multi-day trips to this reserve to explore it thoroughly when they visit Gqeberha.

15. South African Air Force Museum

This museum showcases the history of the Air Force of South Africa. It is specifically popular because of the massive aircraft displayed. You will get to see fighter planes, cargo planes, bombers, helicopters, and more. The museum is also home to the oldest surviving fighter jet in the country.

Some of the popular aircraft of the museum include Aerospatiale Alouette, Atlas Impala, Mirage F1, Havilland Vampire, Supermarine Spitfire, Westland Wasp, and Airspeed Oxford. The exhibits also include aircraft parts, memorabilia, uniforms, weapons, model planes, photographs and stories from the Air Force. It is one of the most interesting places in Port Elizabeth. You will need about an hour or so from Gqeberha travel to tour this museum.

16. Island Nature Reserve

This nature reserve is not actually on an island. It is spread over 480 hectares and is home to the Alexandria coastal forest. The reserve is best known for the Bushbuck Hiking Trail. The trail stretches for more than 16 km and is rich in wildlife.

You will come across a variety of birds as well as some animals such as vervet monkeys, bushbucks, antelope, bushpigs, and so on. It is one of the most famous places in Port Elizabeth for hiking and wildlife spotting. You will need 3 to 4 hours to explore the nature reserve.

17. Red Location Museum

This museum is built in one of the oldest townships in South Africa. It is called the red location because the rusting of the iron barrack buildings brings out the red colour on the exterior.

The museum focuses on the struggle for freedom. It also gives you a complete overview of the region’s and people’s history and culture. It is one of the best places to visit in Gqeberha to understand the place. A tour of this museum gives you a better perspective on the rest of the tour. You will need about 2 hours to tour this museum.

18. Maitland Sand Dunes

The massive brown sand dunes meeting the wild blue ocean is one of the most beautiful places to see in Port Elizabeth. While the dunes are a marvellous site, they are more popular for sandboarding.

It is loads of fun. You can get on a board and slide down huge sand dunes. It is one of the top things to do in Gqeberha for thrill seekers. You will need about 2 hours to explore the place.

19. Seaview Predator Park

Spread over 120 hectares, this wildlife park houses some of the most ferocious species of predators on the planet. This includes lions, tigers, and leopards. The park is also home to genetically exotic animals.

You will see white lions, golden Bengal tigers, white tigers, and black leopards. The park is one of the top Port Elizabeth attractions to easily spot these majestic animals. It takes about 2 hours to tour the park.

20. Holmeleigh Farmyard

This playful farmyard allows people to interact with a variety of farm animals. It is a great place to visit in Gqeberha for families with children. Children can pet bunnies, cows, goats, peacocks, ponies, ducks, and more. You can also participate in various farm activities such as feeding animals, milking cows, riding tractors, and so on. People can easily spend a couple of hours enjoying the place.

21. Fort Frederick

This 200-year-old fort was built to defend against French forces. You can tour the fort to see how the defensive structure was set up and how it played a role in various wars and invasions.

While much of the fort is destroyed, many of the parts are still very well preserved. You can see powder magazines, blockhouses, muzzleloader guns, and gunpowder storage. You will need about an hour to tour this fort.

If you are looking for more places to visit in Port Elizabeth, check out the sections below. We have compiled a complete list of attractions and activities you can enjoy in the city and around it.

Things to do in Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Monuments, Museums & Historical Places to Visit in Port Elizabeth, South Africa

  1. Yellow Frame Donkin Reserve
  2. South End Museum
  3. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum
  4. South African Air Force Museum
  5. Red Location Museum
  6. Fort Frederick
  7. The Campanile
  8. Horse Memorial
  9. Cape Recife Lighthouse
  10. Prince Alfred Guard
  11. Monument to Prester John
  12. Port Elizabeth Museum
  13. Chelsea Sculpture Garden
  14. Drotsdy Museum
  15. GFI Art Gallery
  16. Port Elizabeth City Hall
  17. Bird Island Light House
  18. Anglo-Boer War Memorial
  19. Bird Street Gallery
  20. Seal Point Lighthouse
  21. Old Railway Station Museum
  22. Jefferys Bay Shell Museum

Nature & Wildlife Tourist Spots in Port Elizabeth, South Africa

  1. Kragga Kamma Game Park
  2. Addo Elephant National Park
  3. Sardina Bay
  4. Cape Recife Nature Reserve
  5. Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve
  6. Shamwari Private Game Reserve
  7. Island Nature Reserve
  8. Maitland Sand Dunes
  9. Lower Guinea
  10. Settlers Park Nature Reserve
  11. Molly’s Corner
  12. Humewood Six Pillars
  13. Newton Park Nature Reserve
  14. Baaken’s Valley
  15. Groendal Nature Reserve
  16. Nelson Mandela University Nature Reserve
  17. Kabouga Gate
  18. Jan se Gat Waterfall
  19. Cape Mosaics
  20. Nyosi Wildlife Reserve
  21. North End Lake
  22. African Dawn Wildlife Sanctuary
  23. Kwantu Private Game Reserve

Entertainment & Leisure Tourist Spots in Port Elizabeth, South Africa

  1. Bayworld Oceanarium
  2. Summerstrand Boardwalk
  3. Seaview Predator Park
  4. Holmeleigh Farmyard
  5. Happy Valley
  6. St. George’s Park Conservatory
  7. Victoria Park
  8. Jack’s Picnic Site
  9. Dodd’s Farm
  10. Wacky Woods
  11. Auto Pavilion

Shopping in Port Elizabeth, South Africa

  1. Wezandla African Craft Traders
  2. Baywest Mall
  3. Walmer Park Shopping Centre
  4. Greenacres Shopping Centre
  5. Pier 14 Shopping Centre
  6. Sunridge Village Shopping Centre
  7. Metlife Mall
  8. Cleary Park

Beaches & Islands in Port Elizabeth, South Africa

  1. Algoa Beach
  2. Wells Estate Beach
  3. Humewood Beach
  4. Kings Beach
  5. Hobie Beach
  6. Pollock Beach
  7. Sardinia Beach
  8. New Brighton Beach
  9. Bluewater Beach
  10. Summerstrand Beach

Offbeat Places, Tours, & Adventures in Port Elizabeth, South Africa

  1. Sandboarding
  2. Hiking
  3. Wildlife Safari
  4. Mountain Biking
  5. Cycling
  6. Boat Cruise
  7. Kayaking
  8. Scuba Diving
  9. Snorkelling
  10. Water Sports

Sightseeing in Port Elizabeth, South Africa

  1. Route 67
  2. Opera House
  3. Govan Mbeki Ave
  4. Shark Rock Pier
  5. Harbour Board Building

Food, Dining, Restaurants, & Street Food in Port Elizabeth, South Africa

  1. Backstreet Grill
  2. Something Good Roadhouse
  3. Muse
  4. This is Eat
  5. Sticky Fingers Woodfire Kitchen
  6. Savages Fine Food
  7. Black Impala
  8. De Kelder
  9. Izakaya Arata
  10. Royal Delhi
  11. Charlies Pizza & Pasta
  12. Vovo Telo Bakery
  13. Ginger The Restaurant
  14. Crossways Country Kitchen
  15. La Kouzina
  16. Elephant Walk
  17. Villa Borghese
  18. Tabu Grill Bar
  19. The Hussar Grill
  20. Gypsy Shawrmas and Fish
  21. The Coachman
  22. Tapas Bar

Where to Stay in Port Elizabeth?

Here we have listed Top Rated Luxurious, Mid-Range and Budget Hotels in Port Elizabeth. You can check below listed hotels for your perfect stay in Port Elizabeth.

Luxurious Hotels

Mid-Range Hotels

Budget Hotels


Custom Tours Package in Port Elizabeth

How to Reach Port Elizabeth, South Africa?

By Air

The city is served by the Dawn Dawid Stuurman International Airport. This airport receives direct flights to reach Port Elizabeth from Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg. You can get connecting flights to visit Gqeberha via Cape Town and Durban. You can get cabs and busses from the airport to reach the city.

By Road

You can get direct trains to travel to Port Elizabeth from Johannesburg and Bloemfontein. For other major cities in South Africa, you will need to get a connecting train from either of these destinations. The bus network is quite widespread. You can get direct buses from several towns and cities in South Africa.

If you are planning to travel to Gqeberha by road, you should head for routes 2, R75, or R335. These three routes intersect in the city.

By Water

Despite being a port city, there are no direct passenger water routes to reach Port Elizabeth.