Port Elizabeth’s major attractions as a holiday destination are its wide sandy beaches and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Sardinia Bay, 20km south of the centre past the airport, is easily the nicest in the area, though beware of strong currents. There are broad beaches south of Central; Kings Beach stretches from the harbour to Humewood. Further east you'll find Hobie Beach, which is the beach of choice for windsurfers, sailors and kite-surfers, but sunbathers will also love it. There are more beaches at Summerstrand, which are all fairly sheltered.
There are some excellent dive sites around Port Elizabeth, with shipwrecks and reefs all over Algoa Bay. Expect plenty of colourful soft corals and stunning underwater topography, including huge pinnacles and gullies. Fish life is prolific and includes ragged tooth sharks, which are often found swimming through the network of gully formations at various dive sites inside the bay. Most sites are suitable for novices and experienced divers alike.
PE is not known as the ‘windy city’ for nothing; windsurfers and sailors will find what they need at Hobie Beach, 5km south of Central.
PE's best surf breaks are found between the harbour wall and Summerstrand, and at Pollok beach.
From luxurious ventures and self-catering flats to flashpackers and B&Bs, PE's stock of sleeping options caters to all wallets. Choose your base carefully depending on your priorities – not everywhere is close to a beach or major sights.
The culinary scene in PE is increasingly sophisticated. Stanley St is the centre of the up-and-coming Richmond Hill neighbourhood, with a vibey string of more than a dozen places to eat, serving cuisine ranging from Asian to Mediterranean. Walmer and Baakens Valley also boast excellent restaurants and cafes. Of course, you'll find a great selection of dining options along Beach Rd.
Drinking & Nightlife
Nightlife in PE is not especially thriving but there are some great places to sip a cocktail or swill a beer. With outside tables, the Richmond Hill and Walmer restaurants are great for a drink. You'll also find several bars with ocean-facing terraces along Beach Rd. Baakens Valley has an emerging drinking scene, with a few hip venues serving craft beers.
There are craft shops at the Boardwalk mall. Head to the Kings Beach flea market on Sunday mornings for curios.