The Eastern Cape: Places to Explore

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Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth, or PE, may not have the range of attractions found in Cape Town or on the Garden Route, but it's a pleasant town that's worthy of a few days' exploration. There are some beautiful beaches (although you'll need to visit them early in the day in summer as the wind tends to pick up by midday) and some wonderfully preserved historic buildings in the older part of the city, called Central. A large part of the town's charm lies in its small size and quiet environment, but PE is not a total sleepy hollow. If you feel the need for a bit of nightlife, head to the Boardwalk complex near the beach, for its restaurants, cafés, theater, and casino, or to Parliament Street in Central, which has recently been pedestrianized and has a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene.

PE is a good base for exploring some other fantastic destinations, both wild and cultural, including Addo Elephant National Park. If you are traveling to any of the luxury game reserves east of Port Elizabeth (such as those in Addo, Shamwari or Kwandwe), it may be a good idea to spend the night before in PE, as many places advise you to check in before lunch and it could be a scramble to get there if you're driving or flying in that morning.

Port Elizabeth's suburbs can be a little confusing. Humewood and Summerstrand are PE's two main coastal suburbs, with Humewood closer to the city center. The Humewood Golf Course, one of South Africa's best, is in Summerstrand, not Humewood, however (just to keep you on your toes).

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