Car rental in Port Elisabeth
Rent a car in Port Elizabeth

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Renting a car in Port Elizabeth is a great start you’re looking for the ultimate freedom to enjoy this equally cosmopolitan and nature-rich city. Although there are public transportation options available, they don't cover much of the city, even for locals. The area is filled with peaceful beaches and nature hikes, a wide selection of dining and unique experiences at your fingertips, and even more to discover outside of the city in every direction. When you rent a car, you can enjoy all of this at your own pace, safely and comfortably.

It's your choice: Where to go in Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth has made great efforts over recent years to upgrade its entertainment, cultural, and natural sites. The Donkin Reserve in the city centre is one such example. Both open park space overlooking the harbour and fascinating cultural site, visitors can climb up the lighthouse for a 360-degree view, or pop into the tourism office for information on the self-guided city walking tours. The Boardwalk entertainment complex houses a casino, restaurants, bowling alley, miniature golf course, and various shopping outlets for a fun day or night out, or simply a quick break. It's located just across the road from the beach, so you're never far from the sun and sand. Speaking of the beach, there's no shortage of them in Port Elizabeth. Everyone's covered, from keen divers and snorkelers at Shark Rock Pier, swimmers at Kings and Hobie beaches, surfers at the Pipe, and picnickers at Sardinia Bay. If you rent a car in Port Elizabeth, you can explore all of these great beaches however way you like.

Things to do in Port Elizabeth

There's plenty to get you up and out of your accommodation in Port Elizabeth throughout the year. Support local artists and learn more about South African art at venues like Gallery Noko, the Athenaeum, and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum. These locations put on various exhibitions and special events year-round. If you're looking to get outdoors, take a drive to the Lady’s Slipper Nature Reserve. The mountain here has a moderately challenging hike with fantastic panoramic views of the coastline at the peak. The Addo Elephant National Park is another short drive out of the city, and one of the best options for a safari near Port Elizabeth. If you’re up for some live sports, then catch a cricket match at St. George’s Park, the second-oldest cricket grounds in South Africa. Those who prefer football or rugby might get lucky and catch a game at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, one of the venues built specially for the 2010 football World Cup hosted by South Africa.

Important info about Port Elizabeth

Nicknamed 'The Windy City' as well as 'The Friendly City’, Port Elizabeth is a calm and pleasant place to spend a few days. Daily flights to Port Elizabeth Airport are available through most South African domestic carriers. Port Elizabeth and the larger Nelson Mandela Bay municipality (formerly Algoa Bay) is known for many things. The backdrop to many of the country’s most vital anti-apartheid movements, it's also home to three blue-flag beaches with relatively warm Indian Ocean currents. Port Elizabeth is also a key stop before or after travellers hit the famed Garden Route along South Africa’s south coast.

Weather in Port Elizabeth
Country South Africa
Language English, Zulu, isiXhosa, Afrikaans
Currency South African rand (ZAR)
Time-Zones SAST / GMT+2
Country Code +27

Good to know

Driving in Port Elizabeth and its surrounds is overall a calm and pleasant experience, with little traffic on most days. Drivers travel on the left side of the road, and cars are right-hand drive. Be prepared for the odd steep slope, particularly around the old central areas, but many of these lead to fantastic vistas over the city, ocean, and surrounding nature reserves. There may also be one-way streets in the old central district and some residential areas, but these are always clearly marked with road signs. If you’re lucky you’ll spot dolphins on their daily commute up and down the coastline as you drive along the seafront!

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What to taste in Port Elizabeth

Expect a wide range of dining options and experiences from restaurants in Port Elizabeth, from top quality fresh seafood to traditional Xhosa food and the best of South African wine. You can’t quite say you’ve had the full South African experience without going to a braai or shisa nyama (barbecue), which many restaurants and hotels in Port Elizabeth put on over weekends and national holidays. There is a growing craft beer scene in Port Elizabeth, with microbreweries serving their very own brews at their bars and even offering tours for visitors to learn about the whole process behind the scenes. There is no shortage of food from across the globe in the city's restaurants, with authentic pizza, dim sum and other Asian specialities, and more.

What to bring your friends from Port Elizabeth

Browse the craft markets at Kings Beach, Shark Rock Pier, and the Boardwalk Mall for locally handmade art and other souvenirs to take home. Consider shopping for a mohair sweater, blanket, or other home accessories from one of the city retailers, or direct from the shops at the factories and mills nearby. Many microbreweries will bottle and sell their beers to go, in unique and creative branding to boot. Visitors from outside South Africa can take wine from both the Eastern and Western Cape provinces home with them. Traditionally handcrafted biltong, or dried meat strips much like jerky, are a fantastic gift to take home as gifts. Biltong can be found for sampling and purchase in multiple flavours and meat varieties.