Things to do in Port Elizabeth over the festive season

2016-11-27 10:35 - Anje Rautenbach
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Cape Town -  When it comes to summer fun Port Elizabeth knows just how to keep you entertained and aim to knock the socks off your dancing shoes. Nelson Mandela Bay really has it all; there is the abundance of wildlife from the small African dung beetle to the elephants, there is watersports, plenty of shopping opportunities, soulful markets, shows featuring local and South African talent, pristine beaches, frolicking dolphins, a variety of restaurants and mouth-watering food.

And of course, Port Elizabeth is the perfect place to base yourself in to explore nearby towns like Jeffrey's Bay, Cape St. Francis, Port Alfred, Sundays River and Cannon Rocks on day trips for some more summer fun.

Sounds like your kind of getaway? Then grab a pen and paper and take note of all the things you can get up to in Port Elizabeth this festive season.

Get in the water

Port Elizabeth is home to three blue flag beaches and the coastline offers plenty of opportunities for swimming, diving, snorkeling, surfing, kitesurfing and boat trips.

A new arrival to the Bay’s water is Stampede Cruises who offers a variety of four different cruise packages to suit different budgets as well as different interests. The 38ft power catamaran do simple two-hour harbour cruises and also longer, full day cruises offering you the chance to see endangered African penguins in their natural habitat.

Make a day of it

Get behind the wheel and head east for a day to Sundays River for some river cruising and sandboarding, and if your stomach is growling for some road trip food, take the road a bit further and grab one of Nanaga Farm Stall’s renowned home-baked pies. 

If you prefer to stay dry and on land or want a bit more of an adventure try the 18m high free fall giant swing at Adrenalin Addo, visit the ellies of Addo National Park or, for a real family dining feast, head to Zuurberg Inn for a Sunday lunch buffet. At Zuurberg, you can also explore the mountainous area on horseback and make your way through the valleys via a hiking trail.

A photo posted by Jose (@joserber) on

Visit a market and grab a meal

To truly experience the Friendly City’s friendly atmosphere, head to a local market or join social get-together; the market and foodie culture in Port Elizabeth have enjoyed enormous growth in 2016 and the city recently just launched the first ever Baakens Food Truck Friday. Food Truck Friday is a monthly event taking place from 4pm to 9pm on the third Friday of every month and it is where good food (all costing R45 or less), friends, music, food trucks, tuktuks and live entertainment come together in Baakens Valley.

The next Baakens Food Truck Friday is on the 23rd of December.

There is also the wildly popular monthly Valley Market  on the 3rd of December and the 7th of January, a Valley Christmas Market on the 17th of December and the Port Elizabeth Craft Brew & Food Fest will be held in Baakens Valley 16 and 17 December.

For some Christmas cheer, head to the Christmas expo on the 18th of December or the Christmas in the Home Market from 1 to 4 December for handcrafted and locally designed goods, from food to clothing.  

For a bit of romance

Candlelight dinners, long strolls along the beach, private game drives, sundowners and stargazing at night… sound delightful, right? Port Elizabeth is definitely the ideal location for a bit of romance over the summer season. Go for a picnic at Thunzi Bush Lodge, where you can enjoy a gourmet feast while being surrounded by nature. You can even try your hand at bass fishing.

Catch a performance

The Bay will be filled with musical talents and theatre performances such as the Puss in Boots, Planet Ireland Irish Dance Show, Luna Paige, Ulagh & TwoTone Band,  ChapterTHREE #krismisfeelings , Ocean Rock presents Rocking the PEtunias 6, Valiant Swart en Abel Kraamsaal, Radio Raps, Weird Boy Showcase Part 1, Ebubeleni Music Festival, Bobby van Jaarsveld and last, but definitely not least, the Parlotones.

A photo posted by Uthando Baduza (@u_badu) on

Stay up to date with everything that is happening through Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism’s events page.

Join the friendly faces of the Friendly City, forget what you’ve heard about the wind and soak in all the summer sun and festive entertainment the Bay has to offer.  

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