16 March 2017

On March 25th and 26th, the public will have free access to the Port of Port Elizabeth and will be able to experience the port like never before.


The first People’s Port Festival will allow visitors to step inside the theatre of port operations, and experience the lifestyle and opportunities the waterfront development offers the city of Port Elizabeth.


“Our port is one of South Africa’s many international gateways, and the city of Port Elizabeth showcases our rich culture and heritage,” enthuses Rajesh Dana, the port of Port Elizabeth port manager for TNPA “We want people to experience the unique operations in the port, and its exciting people-centered vision. The waterfront development in our port will have a hugely positive impact on the city’s tourism and economy.


"The port has already experienced an upswing in the number of cruise liners docking in the port of Port Elizabeth. In recent years, Transnet has had on average 24 vessels arriving per year, and we are working with all tourism role players to sustain and grow this number."


Evidence of this can be seen in the fact that the Port of Port Elizabeth attracted and retained international cruise liners such as the Queen Mary 2 which has visited our shores many times. The port actively encourages the public to view the docking and sailing of iconic vessels.


Ports are vital to the economy, and tourism has huge potential to contribute to the growth of our economy. The People’s Port Festival is an opportunity for residents of the metro, as well as domestic and international visitors to experience the port of Port Elizabeth, and its links to other leisure pursuits in the city, like never before.


About the People’s Port Festival

Throughout the weekend, there will be a number of unique experiences available for people to immerse themselves in:

  • The iconic SA Aghulas which has just returned Antarctica will be available to board, with some of its scientists available to meet
  • Winners of the event's various competitions stand a chance to board a tug and watch as it docks a cargo vessel or board a pilot boat and cross the breakwaters
  • Experience some of the technological advancements in the ocean economy, and the technology the port of Port Elizabeth has invested in
  • See the heavy machinery in action including a boat hoist that can lift 90 tonnes.


“The event isn’t just about showcasing the port and the cargo that is imported and exported,” adds Dana. “Visitors can enjoy entertainment from national artists, purchase fresh produce in our fish market and even participate in watersports.”

The diverse programme of activities, demonstrations and entertainment currently includes:

  • Automotive exhibition
  • Maritime careers exhibition
  • Discover ocean-based research in the Bay
  • Bayworld experiences
  • Virtual diving opportunities
  • Watersports
  • Family entertainment
  • Popular live artists and DJs including Mobi Dixon and internationally renowned Mafikizolo
  • Navy vessel tours including a navy strike craft
  • Evening yacht procession
  • Street soccer competition
  • Boxing tournament
  • Angling competition
  • Fish braai competition
  • Tugboat ballet
  • Firework display
  • Inter-quay ferry trips
  • Fish and farmers’ markets
  • Food trucks
  • Bocadillos pop-up restaurant
  • Lifestyle market

Entrance to the event will be via Baakens Street and the Campanile entrance. There will be plenty of free parking available with hop-on-hop-off buses within the port running between the parking areas and the festival activities.

Gates open at 10 am, and close at 10 pm on Saturday, and from 10 am to 4 pm on Sunday.

More information can be found at or the People’s Port Festival Facebook and Instagram pages.