If you are planning a trip to the Eastern Cape and have 48 hours at your disposal then stay put because I have scribbled an itinerary of things to do in Port Elizabeth in 48 hours AND, I am giving something away (so keep your eyes to your screen).
The seaport city of Port Elizabeth is the ideal weekend breakaway and if your wandering soul is asking for adventure, nature and a dash of culture then pack your bags because the welcome mat is out, open and ready to be explored.
Before we get to the things to do in Port Elizabeth, why don’t you have a look at the Nelson Mandela Bay Pass Card that will give you free access (or discount) to a variety of attractions and experiences.
Things to do in Port Elizabeth in 48 hours
For the love of the weekend, let’s assume that you have a good boss who gave you the afternoon off, and that you are arriving on a Friday at 15h00 and leaving on a Sunday at 15h00 again…
These suggestions below might pop up in many articles or blogs, but with good reason – iconic attractions are iconic for a reason and it’s not a been-there-done-that attraction when it is actually a been-there-done-that-returning-again-and-again attraction.
Day 1 – Friday
15h00: Welcome to Port Elizabeth
You won’t rest much this weekend, so you need coffee. Go to Friendly Stranger in Baakens Valley (less than 3 km from the airport); this coffee shop is in, what is believed to be, the oldest building in Port Elizabeth. Don’t forget to head down the narrow stairs where there is a small lounge area.
While you are at Friendly Stranger, keep your eyes open for the street art of Joff (Steven Carter), one of his murals is on the wall of Friendly Stranger and there are two more pieces – much bigger – if you head left as well as right from Friendly Stranger for a few meters.
17h00: Check into your hotel
Stay in one of the many guesthouse or lodges situated in Humewood and Summerstrand and drop your bags; smile, wave and head out of the door again because the Bay is waiting.
18h00: Go for a walk
Go for a stroll along the promenade which goes pass Humewood Beach, Hobie Beach and King’s Beach. But don’t stop there, take off your shoes and feel the sand between your toes and venture onto the sand. Don’t forget Shark Rock Pier, if you are lucky you might even spot dolphins or whales.
19h00: Dinner time
As the sun sets on the other side enjoy the orange-pink-red sky with a sundowner at one of the restaurants on the beachfront like Blue Waters Café.
Get some sleep because you will need it.
Day 2 – Saturday
Rise and shine! If you want to catch that sunrise you better have your camera ready and be out of the door by 05h30 in October.
08h00 : Fuel up
You have a long day ahead of you; if your hotel or guesthouse does not offer breakfast visit Company Social Brasserie. They open at 07h30 every morning and have a wide variety of breakfasts from granola pots to waffles.
09h00: Time for Art
Visit artEC in Bird Street and catch an art exhibition. There are also beautiful colourful murals outside that will make you grab your camera plus a few more picture-worthy street art finds in Bird Street. You can also visit the Athenaeum in Belmont Terrace for art exhibitions and performances in the Little Theatre.
No trip to Port Elizabeth is complete without tasting Mastertons coffee and without leaving the Bay with one of their unique blends. Mastertons coffee is available at chain stores, but if you have time make your way to Russell Road (less than 2 km from artEC) and pick up a souvenir. They close at 13h00 on a Saturday. Click here to read more about why I love their coffee so much.
11h00: Hello Uitenhage
Uitenhage is Port Elizabeth’s next door neighbour and forms part of Nelson Mandela Bay. Visit Cuyler Manor, a 200-year-old homestead which operates as a museum; Cuyler Manor Museum will not only give you a glimpse into the town’s history, but you will also have the opportunity to meet Rosie. She has been working at the museum for 30 years; she is an encyclopedia of stories and gives the warmest hugs. Make sure to ask her if she has any roosterkoek (it is simply the best).
If you have enough time in Uitenhage, also visit the old world charm of the Old Railway Museum and enjoy the mix of colonial and Cape Dutch architecture in the town’s centre.
13h00: Sjiek Shack
Soak in the rust charm and design of Sjiek Shack between Uitenhage and Despatch and indulge in their light meals, variety of decadent desserts and special vintage high teas. If you have some extra space in your luggage, don’t leave without one of their unique décor features, jewellery or a gift for someone back home.
14h00: The elephants are waiting
Go to Addo Elephant National Park and enter through the main gate. This is also where you will spend the night so make sure you book ahead of time; you can camp, stay over in ta Safari Tent, at the Spekboom Tented Camp, a chalet or a cottage. Go on a self-guided game drive and and enjoy all the animal sightings.
Please remember that you are not allowed to get out of vehicle in the park – all the rules are on your entrance permit and map, just read it. Entrance to Addo Elephant National Park is free with the NMB Pass Card.
If you want a more private wildlife experience, clear out your schedule and visit Kuzuko Lodge which is situated in a private section of Addo Elephant National Park. Kuzuko Lodge is the home of the famous lion, Sylvester. You can get a free game drive and lunch with the NMB Pass Card.
20h00: Put a fork in it
Enjoy a meal at the restaurant at the main camp, Cattle Baron, or buy some wood and have a braai.
I made a short video about Addo Elephant National Park, have a look.
Visit Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape for a wild escape and a natural adventure. Addo Elephant National Park is in close proximity to Port Elizabeth which makes it ideal for a day or a weekend trip.
Day 3 – Sunday
You can sleep when you get home, the weekend is not over yet and there are still plenty of things to do in Port Elizabeth.
06h00: Sunrise Game Drive
If you want to make the most of your trip to Addo Elephant National Park, go on a guided game drive. Make sure you are packed and ready for departure upon return. Grab a quick bite to eat at Addo Rest Camp before you bid the elephants farewell.
09h00: Head back to the Bay
Wave the countryside and wildlife goodbye and go back to Port Elizabeth’s city centre.
10h00: Time for something old and something arty
Explore the Donkin Heritage Trail and parts of Route 67, a route with 67 art works symbolising the 67 years Madiba fought for freedom. This route is filled with 1820 Settler history, modern art installations and oh-so-beautiful Victorian architecture.
12h00: Take one for the road
On your way to your last stop before you head back to the airport, visit Something Good, the old (now revamped) roadhouse in Port Elizabeth for a coffee, ice cream or light snack.
13h00: Do it for a good cause
Head to SAMREC to be in the company of African Penguins and if your timing is right you’ll be there for feeding time. This centre does outstanding work educating the public about the plight of the African Penguin. With the NMB pass card you get free entry.
It is time to head back and leave the Bay behind. Don’t cry because it’s over, just make sure you come back again because there are more things to do in Port Elizabeth than the things listed. If you need flights to PE have a look at what Cheapflights is offering.
Alternative things to do in Port Elizabeth over a weekend
For the Foodies: Valley Market, the first Saturday of every month.
For the Craft Beer Drinkers: Do the Hop on Beer Route.
For the Historians: There are great number of historical museums in the Bay.
For the Mall Rats: Go to Baywest Mall.
For the Techies: Get yourself to the VW Autopavillion.
For the Adrenaline Junkies: Go sandboarding at Sundays River Valley or ziplining at Adrenalin Addo.
For the Crazy People: There is a haunted walk if you dare…
This itinerary is packed with things to do in Port Elizabeth. Just remember to go somewhere slowly; don’t try to do everything at once – rather come back or extend your stay if you can, visit www.cheapflights.co.za for flight deals.
WIN a NMB Pass Card!
You can win a Nelson Mandela Bay Pass Card!
That’s right, one lucky reader will win a NMB Pass Card (for two people). All you have to do is enter your e-mail address. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less! It’s as easy as one, two, three!
Competition is open until the 30th of October and the winner will be announced on Monday, 31 October 2016. Visit Going Somewhere Slowly’s Facebook page to stay up to date with the competition’s information, click here.
More things to do in Port Elizabeth
If you need more things to do in Port Elizabeth then visit these blogs:
Chasing the Rainbow – Things To Do In Port Elizabeth – 1, 2 and 3 Day Itinerary
IndiKate – 48 tried-and-tested hours in Port Elizabeth
Tazz Discovers – Things To Do In Port Elizabeth: Family friendly Nelson Mandela Bay
Firefly The Travel Guy – Things to do in Port Elizabeth – Grab a backpack and take a hike
Passing the Open Windows – My favourite things to do in the Friendly City
Just Ella Bella –Kid & Wallet Friendly Places in Nelson Mandela Bay
By Megan Kelly –Things to Do in Port Elizabeth (Kids + Budget Friendly!)
My Spreadsheet –Things to do in Port Elizabeth (with your toddler) this summer!
Disclaimer: This blog post was sponsored by Cheapflights. All opinions expressed are my own.