As one of the largest cities in South Africa, not many people know enough about the southern seaside jewel of The Bay. If you haven't yet had the joy of visiting The Friendly City, here are our top 10 reasons why it should be your next holiday destination.
1. Not as windy as you think
Most people know PE as ''The Windy City'' but (having lived in Cape Town's City Bowl), PE's wind is but a breeze. PE does, however, live up to its name as ''The Friendly City'', where locals are more than willing to offer a passing smile or helping hand.
2. Have you seen the beaches?
PE boasts a 40km stretch of beach along the coastline that is not only pristine but also less crowded. The best time to visit is before or after high season to really avoid the crowds. Don't even worry about the sea temperature though; temperatures along the coast range from 18°C - 27°C.
3. Expanding food scene
A little known gem about PE is that it has amazing restaurants, and a large and diverse number as well. You'll find great places along the beachfront, in hustly-bustly city areas, and randomly plonked around wherever you may find yourself.
4. Everything is so close
Port Elizabeth Airport is incredibly centrally situated and commutes around the city shouldn't take you longer than 15 minutes. ''Traffic'' is also something that rarely consists of more than 5 cars backed up. Visiting PE means less time commuting, and more time exploring!
5. A short to drive to the capital of culture
Every year the Grahamstown National Arts Festival brings thousands of local and international visitors to the small university town. Only 2 hours from PE, Grahamstown has a calendar full of annual festivals or makes for a great day trip exploring picturesque architecture and various historical museums.
6. ...Or enjoy PE's very own culture
From open-air Shakespeare to amphitheatrical guitar tributes, Port Elizabeth's cultural scene has something for everyone. And did you know PE is home to the oldest theatre South Africa? The newly renovated Opera House is centrally located and regularly houses local and international theatre productions.
7. Game lodge galore
PE makes for easy access to great reserves that include Seaview, Shamwari and Addo. These places all ensure a top quality, game lodge experience in a malaria-free environment. Ideal for a weekend away or even as a day trip, PE goes a step further and can offer you sights of the Big Seven.
8. Shoppers' delight
Some may think PE shopping centres are nothing to write home about, but the town recently acquired an amazing shopping and entertainment utopia less than half an hours' drive outside of the city. Baywest Mall is complete with ice rink, bowling alley, IMAX cinema, massive choice of restaurants, and all the shops you need. Don't forget The Boardwalk Casino located right on the beachfront, offering endless hours of entertainment.
9. Route 67 experience
In PE you'll find Route 67: 67 public art works designed by Eastern Cape artists that symbolise Nelson Mandela's 67 years of work dedicated to the freedom of South Africa. Guided tours of the route are available and the route leads up to the Donkin Reserve to the second largest flag in Africa.
10. Gear up for the Garden Route
According to Wikipedia, PE isn't technically one of the ''ends'' of the Garden Route; but it is close enough to Storms River to boast as one. PE is beautiful in its own right, and beginning or ending your Garden Route trip in the city will never leave you disappointed.