Nelson Mandela Bay - Port Elizabeth

[ Port Elizabeth ] [ Uitenhage ] [ Despatch ] [ Colchester ] [ Township Culture ]

Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage, Despatch and Colchester), an excellent value-for-money-family-fun-in-the-sun-holiday destination, named after Nelson Mandela - humanitarian, freedom fighter and world icon of peace - is located 763 km east of Cape Town, is regarded as the "official" gateway to the scenic Eastern Cape Province and the world renowned Garden Route and is sometimes referred to (by the people who know her best) as the "friendly city" or the "water sport capital of Africa". Nelson Mandela Bay is also recognised as both the Mohair and Bottelnose Dolphin Capital of the World and is home to the largest breeding colony of the African Penguin.


Discover Nelson Mandela Bay, Discover Freedom!


Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage, Despatch and Colchester) has got everything a visitor expects to find on a South African holiday. The only city that boasts the Big 7 (Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino, Lion, Leopard, Southern right whale and Great White Shark) within it's municipal boundaries, Port Elizabeth (The Friendly City) is known for its over 40Km coast that boast a multitude of Blue Flag Beaches and hours of sunshine to enjoy them in. After a fun day out enjoy the fun and entertainment of the Nelson Mandela Bay nightlife. Port Elizabeth is also known as both the Mohair and Bottlenose Dolphin Capital of the World and the 5 Biome City.


Port Elizabeth Location map


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Situated on the shores of the Indian Ocean, overlooking Algoa Bay, this bustling seaport city flaunts an atmosphere of relaxed year-round fun and excitement. Warm, dry Summers and mild Winter temperatures entice water sport lovers to Algoa Bay throughout the year. The breathtaking seashore boasts a perfect combination of warm water, protected beaches and invigorating sea breezes. Here you will find some of the world's best sailing venues, first-rate scuba diving with colourful coral species, beautiful reefs and shipwrecks, near perfect conditions for wind-surfing, angling, snorkelling, kite-surfing, fly-fishing and canoeing. 


Dolphins in Algoa Bay Port Elizabeth - Photo by Raggy Charters

If your interest is sea life, go on a boat trip and experience close encounters with our "in-bay" seals, whales, dolphins and even ragged-tooth sharks. If lazing on the beach is your idea of fun then this is the place to be. Nelson Mandela Bay has received the "Cleanest Metro in South Africa Award" and "Blue Flag Status" has again been awarded to most of the beaches. This is an international award only given to those beaches that meet excellence in safety, amenities, cleanliness and environmental standards. 


Another draw-card to the metro is the charming architectural profile which follows a chronological historical pattern through out the city - starting with Victorian styles, followed by art nouveau, art deco and modern buildings. The biggest number of art deco buildings in South Africa is to be found in the city center of Port Elizabeth! 


Port Elizabeth Nightlife

The active tourist can enjoy the excitement of the Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment Complex in Summerstrand; boasting a full mix of family fun, entertainment, shopping, dining and gaming. Other entertainment options in the metro include cinema complexes, numerous sophisticated shopping malls, restaurants to suit any palate, a vibrant nightlife as well as annual and seasonal festivals and events.


The metro "townships" that came into being because of the apartheid laws, are steeped in history, tradition and culture. From their humble beginnings, they have flourished into hubs of activity and social life:. the feeling of "Ubuntu" (meaning 'Humanity' in Xhosa) surrounds their very existence. Visitors may opt for a selection of exciting social, historical and traditional township tours. Stand next to the figure of Madiba at the head of the Voting Line while craning your neck to look up at the largest South African flag in the world. All three of these and 64 other art pieces can be viewed along Route 67. Truly celebrating the coming together of the colonial and struggle history in one inspiring walking route. 

In addition, the city and environs offer a wide selection of attractions; the sheer diversity of which will excite and delight one. These include a rich historical heritage as well as nature-based eco-offerings, activities and experiences. The area supports the most diverse array of vegetation types in South Africa; six of the country's seven terrestrial biomes (bio geographic areas) are represented in the Eastern Cape! 

As gateway to the Western Region of the Eastern Cape, the metro is the perfect complement to the many scenic tourist routes that emanate from it. These include the Sunshine Coast, Frontier Country, Sundays River Valley, Kouga / Tsitsikamma / Garden Route as well as the Karoo Heartland Routes and Route 62. 


Nelson Mandela Bay is also the gateway to more than a million hectares of the malaria free game reserves of the Eastern Cape. This includes the Addo Elephant National Park as well as numerous private and upmarket reserves offering the 'big five" experience. The city that boasts the Big 7 (Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino, Lion, Leopard, Humpback Whale and Great White Shark) all within 45 minutes of the city. There are also smaller game parks available in the city for those rushed for time where you can explore the african wildlife on offer.


The infrastructure and accommodation facilities in Nelson Mandela Bay make this the perfect basis from where to experience and explore what the metro, the region and the surrounds have to offer. The constructive efforts of the local Town Council to make the metro one of the most growth-oriented cities in the "new" South Africa are eminent in the sound infrastructure, sophisticated services, communication systems and health care services available. 

The financial infrastructure of Nelson Mandela Bay is also well established. All the major banks, building societies, insurance companies, as well telephone companies, have their provincial regional offices in Nelson Mandela Bay. They are connected with all the major financial centers of Southern Africa and the rest of the world. Their managements have international exposure and their administrations are based on the most advanced technology. 


The port of Port Elizabeth, with its proximity to a heavily industrialized city, intensively farmed areas and the Coega Deep Water Harbour, has facilities for the handling of all commodities - bulk, general and container cargo. Being the centre of the country's motor vehicle manufacturing industry, the port imports large volumes of containerized components and raw materials for this industry. Today employment in the metro is mainly by the automotive, auto component, food, pharmaceutical, tourism, agriculture, textile and rubber industries. Nelson Mandela Bay has been dubbed the "Detroit of South Africa" while Uitenhage is host to Volkswagen SA, Port Elizabeth is home to General Motors and Ford Motor Corporation. 

Many formerly unemployed people have found work in South Africa's first industrial development zone (IDZ) 20km east of the Bay at Coega where a deep-water port is currently under construction. 

In other words: Whether your interest is wild life, sea life, agriculture, adventure, business or history, you will find Nelson Mandela Bay to be a perfect and exciting destination. 

Want to explore Nelson Mandela Bay? Use the NMB Pass for great savings! - See more at:

Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa 

Port Elizabeth’s rich cultural heritage guarantees history lovers a unique insight into the Eastern Cape and the Bay’s diverse and remarkable past.

The nomadic San were the earliest group of indigenous people known to live in the Eastern Cape. The Khoi displaced the San into the mountains and semi-desert area, early in the second millennium AD.

A journey of discovery to find a route to the East brought the Portuguese, Bartolomeu Dias to the area. He rounded the “Cabo da Roca” (Cape of the Rock) in February 1488 and entered “Baia da Roca” (Bay of the Rock). Dias also gave the name “Ilheus Chaos” (Flat Islands) to the Bird...


Uitenhage, Nelson Mandela Bay

Uitenhage, Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa

In Uitenhage you can still find buildings from the 1800s in their original form. The Old Drostdy Museum built in 1809 is now the home of the Uitenhage Africana Museum. It is the ideal setting through which to experience the history of Uitenhage.

The Old Railway Station built in 1875 which is reputed as one of the oldest railway stations in South Africa is another historical attraction found in Uitenhage. Vintage locomotives, a variety of coaches and period furniture and equipment are on display in this museum.

The Cuyler Manor Museum is a living museum that arranges demonstrations of traditional activities like soap and...



Despatch, Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa

Despatch is a charming town is the middle of Nelson Mandela Bay that received its municipal status in 1945. The name of the town was derived from the brick industry, an industry that this town was known for. These bricks were used to build many of Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage’s houses. Sadly, the brick industry is a remnant of the past.

The Despatch Museum boasts a mini model of a Stegosaurus, which was discovered in Despatch in 1903. The museum also displays two models of beautiful red brick chimneys built by a former town engineer. The walls of the museum are adorned with sporting memorabilia from many South African sportsmen that...


Colchester, Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa

The villages of Colchester and Cannonville are nestled on the banks of the beautiful Sundays River, a few kilometres from the river mouth where it flows into the Indian Ocean through the majestic and world-renowned Coastal Dune Fields. Only 40 km from Port Elizabeth, this small community boasts a wide selection of accommodation and is the closest point of entry (five km’s) into the Greater Addo Elephant National Park Southern Gate. 

The Sunday's River is a MUST SEE, and first on one’s list should be to experience an excursion on a river ferry which will transport guests to the river mouth, as well as up river for 6 – 12 km. Visitors...

Township Culture

Nelson Mandela Bay's townships are not merely places on the map; they are living, breathing entities steeped in history, tradition, and culture. The term "township" doesn't just refer to geographical locations; it encapsulates the heart and soul of communities that have flourished despite their modest beginnings. 

Township Origins:

The townships of Nelson Mandela Bay have diverse origins, each with its own unique story. From Walmer Township, Gqeberha's (Port Elizabeth) first township established in 1851, to the more recent Motherwell, formed in the late 1980s to accommodate the growing population, each area holds a piece of the city's history. The names of these townships, like New...