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Things To Do In Port Elizabeth – 1, 2 and 3 Day Itinerary

Things To Do In Port Elizabeth – 1, 2 and 3 Day Itinerary

Port Elizabeth (PE) sits at the Eastern tip of South Africa’s infamous Garden Route, making it the ideal start or end to an epic South African road trip. With its unspoiled beaches, rolling sand dunes and warm Indian Ocean, PE is heaven on earth for nature lovers. Throw in a fascinating history, a buzzing city vibe, some very trendy restaurants and inhabitants renowned for being friendly and voila – holiday heaven!

Here is our suggested itinerary for a 1, 2 or 3 day visit to our incredible little city:


Day 1 – Best of PE


Beach Bliss (2-3hrs)

PE’s beachfront is the perfect place to kick off your visit. Put on your cossie and flip flops and park at Something Good Roadhouse. The beach in front is Pollok Beach a.k.a. “Pipe”, one of PE’s blue flag beaches and really popular for surfers, dog-walkers and families. Stroll along the beach, and paddle in the rock pool at the Western point where the waves crash through the hole in the wall. The view of PE from here is stunning, and if you’re lucky you might get to watch dolphins playing in the surf too. Walk up the promenade to PE’s iconic Shark Rock Pier, and enjoy an ice cream from one of the restaurants on the pier while you soak up the sun and incredible view.

Shark Rock Pier

Shark Rock Pier

Carry on strolling along the beachfront (on the promenade or the beach) towards Kings Beach. Choose a spot on one of the beaches along the way and build a sandcastle, bodysurf in the waves or just lie back and unwind. You can also rent a stand up paddle board from Oceanside Surfstore.

Tip – Wear lots of sunscreen and don’t carry too much stuff as it’s quite a long walk – a backpack with a towel will do

Lunch with a view (1-2hrs)

You will be spoilt for choice with all the fabulous restaurants to eat lunch at. Our favourites are Co. Social Brasserie and Ocean Basket, which have great food, amazing service and the best views in town.

Walk off your meal as you head back to your car.

The whopping Co. Burger

The whopping Co. Burger

Route 67 (2-3hrs)

Drive along the beachfront towards the city, and head up towards the Donkin Reserve. Park in front of the Edward Hotel. Route 67 is a collection of 67 public artworks symbolising Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of work dedicated to the freedom of South Africa.  It starts below the Donkin Reserve at the campanile, but we recommend just browsing around the artworks in the reserve rather than walking the whole route. In the Donkin Reserve you will get to see one of the largest South African flags in the world above a stunning mosaic leading to a lighthouse and stone pyramid built by Sir Rufain Donkin for his wife Elizabeth, after whom the city is named. Walk down the stairs below the flag and enjoy the mosaic picture they make as you look up. The voting line with Nelson Mandela at its helm is both evocative and powerful, and make sure to get a photo holding Madiba’s hand. Stroll around the park – everywhere you look there are amazing sculptures and outdoor artworks, and head across the road to the Athenaeum and Fort Frederick.

Largest flag in Africa

The Donkin Reserve

Dinner at Richmond Hill (2-3hrs)

After freshening up, visit Richmond Hill which is PE’s trendiest night spot. It is full of vibey restaurants – our favourite is Fushin on Stanley Street, but most of them are worth visiting.

Tip – Arrive early – Fushin does not take bookings and is always packed.


Day 2 – Elephants and Adrenaline

PE is the only city in South Africa with a “Big 5” national park only 30 minutes away. In fact, Addo Elephant National Park is the only national park to boast the “Big 7” (Big 5 plus Great White Shark and Southern Right Whale). And don’t get carried away with focusing on all the big things – Addo Elephant Park is also brimming with thousands of little things which guarantee an unforgettable day out.

Adrenaline Addo Zipline (2hrs)

Start out the day by zooming through the air above Addo’s citrus farmlands at the longest double zipline in Africa at Adrenalin Addo. It is such fun being able to go in pairs – getting to see your significant other flying through the air laughing their head off is almost better than doing it yourself.

Tip – Book ahead and try and get the earliest slot available.


Zipping over Addo

Lunch at Addo Elephant National Park (1-2hrs)

Head into the main gate at Addo Elephant National Park and start out with lunch at the Cattle Baron restaurant, or do your own at the day visitors picnic and braai area.

Tip – Take your braai lunch with (including charcoal and braai tongs), the braai sites overlooking the water hole are fantastic.

Addo Elephant Park (3-4hrs)

Drive slowly through the park – don’t rush things. Stop and switch your engine off to observe all the animals, interesting plants and insects. If you are lucky enough to come across a breeding herd of elephants, open your windows, cut the engine and be amazed by how cathartic it is to be in the presence of these gentle giants.

Drive out through the Matyholweni gate, and take the N2 back to PE.

Tip – don’t drive over elephant poo, Addo is home to the endangered flightless dung beetle and they lay their eggs in the dung.


Elephant boys also bicker

Dinner at the Boardwalk (2-3hrs)

The Boardwalk in Summerstrand is an entertainment complex with loads of restaurants and a casino around a central lake. It is the perfect spot to enjoy dinner and it has a musical fountain display every night at 8pm.


The Boardwalk’s magical musical fountains

Day 3 – Sunshine Saunter


Marine Drive and the Sacramento Trail (2-3hrs)

Start at Marine Drive in Summerstrand and head East along the coast. Stop off at Cape Recife where you can view a magnificently wild beach and impressive lighthouse. Continue along Marine Drive to the sleepy village of Schoenmakerskop. Park off for a bit in any of the grassed parking areas overlooking the sea and see if you can spot any whales (look for the tell-tale spumes). The start of the Sacramento walking trail is all the way at the end of the village, marked with a canon from the ship Sacramento that sank off the coast in 1647. Don’t do the whole trail – walk until you get to the beacon and then head back to continue your drive.

The beacon at the Sacramento Trail

The beacon at the Sacramento Trail

Hot dog at Wurst Wagen (30 minutes)

Head one road up to Sardinia Bay Road and drive all the way to the beach at the end of the road. This, in our opinion is the best beach in the world and PE’s absolute crowning glory. There is a quaint hotdog stand in the parking lot which sells incredible footlongs, bratwurst and croquettes. Have a chat to the proprietor Gunter as he makes your order – he is quite a character.

Ordering hotdogs at the Wurst Wagen

Ordering hotdogs at the Wurst Wagen

Sardinia Bay duck pond (2-3hrs)

Climb over the dune to the beach and turn right. Walk along with your feet in the shallow waves until you pass the first point and reach “duck pond” – a series of still pools completely protected from the crashing waves by the surrounding rock reef. Find a spot to set up beach camp, sit back and enjoy the bird life, swim and snorkel in the warm water and watch loads of people, dogs and horses go by.

Tip – Take along goggles, a snorkel and a towel and not much else. It is quite a walk over the big sand dune.

Sardinia Bay beach

Duck pond at Sardinia Bay beach

Under the water at Sardinia Bay

Under the water at Sardinia Bay

Tea at Grass Roof Farmstall (1hr)

Head left past the Sardinia Bay golf course and pop into Grass Roof Farmstall for coffee and cake. It has a distinctive roof made of grass, a real country charm, a magnificent view and a fabulous shop full of local goodies.

Grass Roof Farmstall

Grass Roof Farmstall

Coastal Drive (1hr)

Head left towards Seaview where you take a left towards Maitland Mouth. Stop and admire the view, stroll along the wild beach and lagoon and climb the Maitland dune mountain. Drive back the same way, but when you approach town, head up to the Upper Seaview Road for more fabulous sea views.

Maitland dune mountain

Climbing Maitland’s dune mountain by Firefly the Travel Guy

Dinner at the Phoenix Hotel (2-3hrs)

Enjoy your final dinner at this historic hotel. Its Cantina restaurant is a visual feast of musical memorabilia and cooks up delicious steak and prawns. The staff have a self-deprecating sense of humour and although they promise the service to be terrible, its actually fantastic. You can’t help but have a good time in the festive and unique restaurant and it’s the perfect way to end your stay in Port Elizabeth.

Tip – book ahead as it is usually packed.


A feast for the eyes at the Phoenix Hotel (pic by Firefly the Travel Guy)


PE is a little city with so much to offer. Whether you spend 1, 2, 3 or more days in our lovely neck of the woods, we just know that you will fall in love with her like we did.


For the best value flights to Port Elizabeth, visit Cheapflights.

For more information on the city and surrounds, visit Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism.

Disclaimer. This post is part of the #Blogathon Things To Do In Port Elizabeth 2016 Campaign with CheapFlights, Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism and Travel Concept Solution. Credit to Firefly Africa for the photos of Maitland Mouth and the Phoenix Hotel.

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