The city’s high season months are December and January. This is a popular time for both international visitors and locals who head to the beach to enjoy the sun and temperatures of up to 25 degrees Celsius. If you are hoping to find cheap flights to Port Elizabeth then it would be best to avoid these months. Another peak time is April, when the Nelson Mandela Bay Splash Festival takes place. This four-day festival features water sports competitions, a food and craft market and live shows.
May to August marks the winter period, which, in general, is the low season in Port Elizabeth. Temperatures however, can still be pleasant, ranging from 9 to 22 degrees. Some visitors prefer to book flights to Port Elizabeth during this time, especially those escaping high summer temperatures back home.
If crowds are not your thing, but you would prefer slightly higher temperatures than winter, a holiday either side of the peak season may be more preferable.
Known as “The Friendly City” or “The Windy City”, Port Elizabeth occupies a 10-mile (16 km) stretch along Algoa Bay. It was founded in 1820 to house British settlers (the Campanile Memorial was built in 1923 to commemorate this landing; there’s a climb of 204 steps to the Observation Room, which offers magnificent views of the harbour and surrounding area below) and is now part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, along with Uitenhage and Despatch.
Lying on the south-east coast of the East Cape province and fringed by beautiful beaches, Port Elizabeth offers a wealth of options for travellers who like to raise their adrenaline levels. Cycling, quad biking and 4×4 trails are all great things to do on land. Off shore, there’s surfing and kite surfing, kayaking, wreck diving, shark diving and deep-sea fishing.
A flight to Port Elizabeth will also give you access to the Garden Route and the Sunshine Coast, which is to the west of the city, and Frontier Country and over two million acres of game reserve, which are to the east.
Port Elizabeth is the gateway to the Eastern Cape with all its fantastic parks and reserves. Go on a guided game drive of Addo-Schotia; this area is home to the densest populations of antelope, lion and elephant in South Africa. There’s whale and dolphin watching near St Croix Island and, 18 miles (30 km) outside of Port Elizabeth, the Lion Park. If you’re up for it, there’s skydiving and bungy jumping off Bloukrans Bridge too!
If all that physical activity gets too much, visit the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum at St George’s Park, the South African Air Force Museum (situated on the southern side of Port Elizabeth Airport) and the Red Location Museum. Red Location is one of the oldest settled Black Townships of the city, getting its name from the rusted, corrugated iron barrack buildings. The museum tells the story of historical struggle in South Africa.
Pretty much perfect, summer temperatures in Port Elizabeth range from 16 to 25 degrees. Winter temperatures hover between 9 and 22 degrees. One of Port Elizabeth’s nicknames is the “Windy City” and this refers to the frequency, rather than the strength, of the wind. The wind makes Port Elizabeth a fantastic destination for surfing.
PE is easy to navigate, whether in a car or on foot. There’s a public bus system but the main form of transport is the minibus taxi.
Travellers who take a flight to Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ) will find it conveniently situated just 3 miles (5 km) from the city centre, which can be easily and quickly accessed by taxi. There’s good bus and metered taxi services to the centre of Port Elizabeth. Many hotel chains and accommodation providers will run airport shuttles for their guests.