All that EU, US, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand nationals require to stay as a tourist in Port Elizabeth for a period of up to ninety days is a valid passport. In order to receive the required stamp on your passport, it must have two free pages and must be valid for 6 months beyond your date of departure from South Africa. Citizens of all other countries should check with their South African embassy to see what the visa requirements are for their particular nationality.
The currency used in South Africa is the Rand which is made up of 100 cents. Notes come in denominations of R10, R20, R50, R100, R200 and the coins in use are R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c.
South Africa has 11 official languages and of these 11, some of the main languages spoken in Port Elizabeth are Xhosa, English and Afrikaans.
Port Elizabeth has what is known as a subtropical climate. Summers here are quite warm with average temperatures for January and February reaching 21ºC. July is the city’s coldest month and temperatures for this time of year usually hover around 13ºC. Port Elizabeth doesn’t tend to see a huge amount of rain, however, on average May is the wettest month with around 61mm of rainfall. Port Elizabeth sees a lot of windy conditions too, which is unsurprising given the city’s nickname is the ‘Windy City’.
Port Elizabeth is located in the South African Standard Time (SAST) zone which is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
Shops in Port Elizabeth are generally opened from 9.00am until 5.00pm from Monday to Friday. At weekends, smaller shops may only be open in the morning while the larger malls have longer weekend opening hours.
The main tourist office in the city is located at the Donkin Reserve lighthouse but as this lighthouse is currently under renovation check out the tourist office in The Boardwalk on the corner of Marine Drive and 2nd Avenue.
Banks throughout the city offer currency exchange services. There are also a large number of ATMs throughout Port Elizabeth, from which you can withdraw local currency.
Electricity in PE is 200/250V, 50 Hz which is slightly different from the rest of South Africa. In Port Elizabeth you’ll need to use a round 3-pin plug.
To call Port Elizabeth from abroad you first dial 00, followed by 27 which is the country code for South Africa, the local area code 041 and the local number, but don't forget to drop the 0 on the area code.
If you wish to call abroad from Port Elizabeth, dial 00, followed by the international calling code for the country you are calling, the area code (without the 0) and then the local number.
The main post office in Port Elizabeth is at 259 Govan Mbeki Avenue.
While a service charge tends to be included in restaurant bills, it is still customary to leave a tip if the service was good. This tip usually amounts to 10%. Café employees, taxi drivers and tour guides should also receive a small tip.
It is worth noting what the public holidays are as the majority of businesses, banks and shops usually shut for the day. In South Africa they are New Years Day (January 1st), Human Rights Day (March 21st), Good Friday and Easter Monday (March/April), Freedom Day (April 27th), Workers Day (May 1st), Youth Day (June 16th), National Women’s Day (August 9th), Heritage Day (September 24th), Day of Reconciliation (December 16th), Christmas Day (December 25th) and Day of Goodwill (December 26th).