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Cruise Port: Port Elizabeth,South Africa

The ship docked at the all purpose port with lots of containers and cars waiting for export in view.

The port lies to the east of the city and several miles northeast of the best beaches.

There was no terminal and we were immediately loaded on to free shuttle buses. The town center is walkable in about 30 minutes but is not inviting.

There were no taxis visible either by the quay or at the entrance to the port area. A free shuttle bus took us to the Boardwalk, a casino and convention center with a strip mall and access to the beach.

Just inside, a band greeted us.

Shops in the mall included craft items as well as beach wear and sunglasses.

Restaurants, fast food joints, rest rooms and an ATM were available.

The highlight of the experience was the hourly display of fountains with piped in music.

You can see it all in less than an hour. The ride between the ship and the mall is probably the most interesting part of the trip as it gives you a look at the boardwalk and best beaches of the city.

Sites

Significant sites are difficult to find and/or visit.

Tourists come to Port Elizabeth primarily to enjoy the sunshine, beaches, water sports, and game viewing possibilities including the Addo Elephant Park. It is also the beginning or end of the Garden Route to Cape Town.

Background

The city’s origins go back to 1799 when the British built a fort there. In 1820 the first British settlers arrived and the town was named after the deceased wife of the acting Governor of the Cape Colony. Since then it has grown into a an important port, as well as a significant trading and manufacturing city, exporting mineral ores, citrus fruits, wool, and automobiles. With a population of about 1.5 million it is South Africa’s fifth largest city.

The unit of currency is the South African Rand. Banks are open Monday to Friday 9am to 3:30pm and Saturday 8:30am to 11am. They can be found in shopping malls and central Port Elizabeth.

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