We all know that Port Elizabeth is nicknamed the Friendly City, because the people who live there are very friendly and it's a city. That makes sense, but why are these people friendly? What is it about this specific town that makes you extraordinarily friendly?
It's probably got to do with the fact that everything is just so wonderfully relaxed in the town; and so, naturally, the residents are happy and friendly. PE is filled with plenty to do for the whole family, from surfing in the warm water to going on an elephant safari at nearby Addo.
We take a look at what to do in 24 hours in the Friendly City.
Before your busy day on-the-go, head to the Blue Orange Garden Cafe for breakfast. The cafe has a great little garden in a courtyard with plenty of seating. The Blue Orange serves a variety of bistro meals including many old South African favourites. Relax with a good cup of coffee as the sun fills the garden. To book a table at the restaurant go to WiningAndDining .
Hire a bicycle
Hire a bicycle and take a scenic cycle along the beachfront in Port Elizabeth to the lighthouse at Cape Recife. The lighthouse was built in 1851 to warn of the rocky coastline near Port Elizabeth, and stands 24 metres high and is just 7 kilometres from the town of PE.
It is an easy ride along the coastline passing beautiful beaches and dunes covered in coastal fynbos. Stop off along the way to go for a walk to enjoy this section of wild coastline with its birdlife and unspoilt vegetation. The bicycle hire is run by PE Bicycle and bikes are delivered and collected free of charge. Go to www.pebicycle.co.za to book a bike. Costs range from R150 to R250.
Follow the Donkin Heritage Trail
When you get back to town, take a walk along the Donkin Heritage trail. The trail is five kilometres long, and follows the footsteps of the 1820 settlers past 47 national monuments and historical points, providing a fascinating insight into the rich history of Port Elizabeth and South Africa. The Heritage Trail is named after Sir Rufane Donkin who was the Acting Governor of the Cape Colony at the time.
Points of interest along the trail are sign posted with information pieces. Sights include the city hall, a replica of the Dias cross, the Donkin Horses, the Donkin reserve, and a stone pyramid that was built in honour of Sir Rufane Donkin's wife, Elizabeth, after whom the city of PE was named. The trail has recently received a makeover with ten pieces of public art on display. These art pieces form part of a collection of 67 pieces of art throughout the city, commemorating Nelson Mandela's 67 years as a political activist.
Grab Lunch at The Verandah
Just a few metres from the beach is the Verandah restaurant situated on Summerstrand overlooking Hobie Beach and Shark Rock Pier. The restaurant is a popular stop for lunch and dinner. The sea view and relaxed atmosphere make for a great dining experience as you sit under a shaded verandah enjoying a light lunch.
The restaurant is located on Marine Drive, Summerstrand. To find out more go to WiningAndDining.
Take a drive to the Seaview Lion Park
Set in a 120 hectare park, the Seaview Lion Park is located just 25 kilometres outside of Port Elizabeth. Home to around 55 lions and lion cubs as well as 43 other species of wildlife; the park allows visitors to spend time in the company of the 'king of the wild', the lion. The park is home to a range of animals from jackals and caracals to giraffes and crocodiles. The main purpose of the park is to aid in the conservation and breeding of the white lions; in an attempt to increase their gene pool. Visitors can view the animals from elevated walkways as they play or lie in the sunshine.
One of the major attractions of the park is the opportunity to spend time with the lion cubs of 4-months and older. Guests can enter the enclosure and chat to the ranger while the cubs play close by. This a wonderful opportunity that comes highly recommended.
Watch the sun set on PE's Beaches
One of the most popular things to do in PE is to head down to the beach, with its warm waters and clean white sand. There are plenty to choose from with 40 kilometres of beaches stretching around Port Elizabeth.
At the one end of Port Elizabeth, beaches such as Hobie beach and Kings beach have a cosmopolitan feel with bars and cafés lining the beachfront. Further down the coast, beaches such as Seaview Beach, Sardinia Bay and Virgin Bay are more rugged and are ideal for long walks across the sand. Whales and dolphins can often be seen playing in the waves between May and November.
Dine at El Greco
Located inside the Boardwalk, El Greco overlooks a lake and offers great food and wine. The menu features Afro-Grecian fusion food, with typical South African steaks, chicken and seafood flavoured with delicious, spicy Greek sauces. The lamb shank, Fillet a la Greca and ribs come highly recommended.
To find out more about the restaurant, go to WiningAndDining.
Try your hand at some blackjack at the Boardwalk Casino
After dinner at El Greco, explore the rest of the Boardwalk entertainment complex. The centre includes a number of shops, cafes and a casino. The casino has 802 slot machines and 21 casino tables, so why not try your hand at some blackjack. Go in with a limit of how much you want to spend, and have a bit of fun at the tables.
After your day exploring PE, head back home for a good night's rest so that you're ready to continue exploring the rest of this summery coastal town.