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Port Elizabeth (Photo:Anke van Wyk/Shutterstock)
Port Elizabeth (Photo:Anke van Wyk/Shutterstock)
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

Cruise Critic Staff

Port of Port Elizabeth

Set nearly 500 miles east of Cape Town in the Eastern Cape province, the industrial-port city of Port Elizabeth (or, PE, as it's called) is a fixture on the South African cruise circuit, thanks to its revitalized central historic district, bustling beaches and, above all else, its proximity to the superlative elephant sanctuary and game reserve at Addo Elephant National Park featuring the "Big 5": lions, leopards, Cape buffalo, rhinoceros and elephants.

Here, sunbathers, active types (watersports and surfing abound), and old lighthouses fringe the swaths of sandy beaches (Humewood Beach ranks tops) hugging Algoa Bay. The city's central district sets the stage for a cluster of renovated Victorian buildings, historic sites and a surprising collection of engaging public art projects. Further afield, guided township tours propose insight into local African Xhosa culture and the nation's challenging political history. Visitors with a full day in port could tack on the can't-miss half-day excursion to Addo Elephant National Park with a half-day exploration of Port Elizabeth's urban-and-waterfront highlights.

Shore Excursions

About Port Elizabeth


Centrally located Port Elizabeth has lively beaches, a historic Old Town and easy access to the elephant sanctuary


Port Elizabeth is an industrial city and, as such, you should be cautious regarding petty crime

Bottom Line

This well-rounded city offers something for every type of traveler to enjoy

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Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The South African rand is the national currency (check www.xe.com for current currency conversion rates); ATM's are available throughout Port Elizabeth.


South Africa lists a staggering 11 official languages (with plenty more unofficial ones on top of that), but visitors needn't be concerned as English is spoken nearly everywhere. Apart from English, you're most likely to here Afrikaans and IsiXhosa spoken locally in the Port Elizabeth area.