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- 14 Dec 2019, 3 nights
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South Africa's Port Elizabeth is where cosmopolitan city and calming coastline come together. On Algoa Bay in Eastern Cape Province, the city is known for its plentiful beaches teeming with marine life. Here you can plunge into dazzlingly clear waters or walk the 5km promenade brimming with tasty eateries. Get stuck in with surfing or a boat tour to spot dolphins and whales or explore the town's trail of Victorian buildings, markets and art galleries.
To get back to nature, you can stay in a Port Elizabeth hostel with camping options. Cool off at a place with a garden and swimming pool or step back in time at a hostel that was once the harbour master's home and still has its wraparound terrace. Hostels in Port Elizabeth with communal barbecues are ideal for meeting other globetrotters, and you can grab a beer at a stay with its own bar. Most Port Elizabeth hostels have free Wi-Fi so you can post those beach pictures as soon as you get in.
The Central neighbourhood of Port Elizabeth has a bustling city vibe with new art galleries, bars and shops. Just next door is Richmond Hill, an upmarket but still central district known for its restaurant scene. Head here to see remnants of the town's Victorian history, including quaint cottages that make for great snaps. If you're off to the beach, set your sights on Humewood, a lively area right on the shore that's home to marine life reserves and water sports venues.
Life in Port Elizabeth is all about the beach. King's Beach, Hobie Beach and Humewood Beach all have Blue Flag status, meaning they meet strict environmental standards. Head to any one for swimming, surfing or simply to watch the sunset. Next to the sands is Beachfront Craft Market, a favourite spot for hand-carved wooden souvenirs. There's also the Donkin Heritage Trail, a 3-mile stretch that links 47 monuments to the first British settlers. Take a boat trip to the world's largest colony of African penguins on St Croix Island – you might just feel like you're in a nature documentary.
You can fly into Port Elizabeth International Airport. From there, it's just a 10-minute taxi ride to the centre. You'll find trains and buses at the Port Elizabeth Railway Station if you're travelling South Africa cross-country. See more of the city by getting around on foot or hail a bus or taxi for longer excursions.