A mix of ancient buildings and modern constructions
At the western end of Algoa (aka Nelson Mandela) Bay, your MSC cruise ship will await your return in Port Elizabeth, normally visited for the Addo Elephant Park. So it may come as a surprise as you sail on your MSC cruise to South Africa that this has long been a popular holiday destination for white families – but then the town beachfront, stretching for several kilometres along Humewood Road, has some of the safest and cleanest city beaches in the country.
As a city, Port Elizabeth is pretty functional. Although the town has been ravaged by industrialization and thoughtless modernization, one or two buildings do stand out in an otherwise featureless city centre, and a couple of classically pretty rows of Victorian terraces still remain in the suburb of Central, sliding into a revamped street of trendy cafés and restaurants.
Holidaymakers head for the beachfront suburbs of Humewood and Summerstrand where there are places to stay plus bars and restaurants. There is little to draw you away from the beachfront, but further afield in New Brighton, you’ll find Port Elizabeth’s most important museum, the Red Location Museum of the People’s Struggle, housed in an award-winning building, and there are also some excellent tours around Port Elizabeth and into the townships.
A Big Five reserve, Addo Elephant National Park is just 73km north of Port Elizabeth, and should top your excursions list. Addo is currently undergoing an expansion programme that will see it become one of South Africa’s three largest game reserves. Elephants remain the park’s most obvious drawcard, but with the reintroduction in 2003 of a small number of lions, in two prides, as well as the presence of the rest of the Big Five – buffalo, hippos and leopards – it has become a game reserve to be reckoned with.