South Africa

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Port Elizabeth often simply referred to as PE, is located half way between Cape Town and Durban. This costal city, on the shores of Algoa Bay is a very popular holiday destination with South Africans, and boasts some superb safe beaches with an abundance of water sports. The city also has some picturesque old buildings and monuments which can be viewed in the form of a self guided walking tour, but if you are on your own it would be wiser to join in with one of the many organised tours that are available. The summer months of December and January can become very crowded so a visit just prior or just after this period may be a better option.

Port Elizabeth has been an important port and harbour on the South Africa’s east coast ever since the first British settlers arrived in 1820. Today the city is home to a very large multi cargo port and a good deal of heavy industry.

The summers are warm and the winters mild and pleasant. Port Elizabeth is renown for its clean beaches, among the best is the Kings beach, Hobie beach and Humewood beach. Located ten minutes from Port Elizabeth and a favourite with the locals is Sardinia Bay which is situated within a protected natural area and borders on the Chelsea Downs Nature Reserve which is open to the public and accessible from the beach.

A very popular attraction in Port Elizabeth is the Boardwalk entertainment complex located opposite Hobie beach, the complex has a series of man-made lakes and well laid out gardens and it is claimed that at night it is lit by 40,000 lanterns. The Victorian Casino reflects the grace and style of bygone times. The Boardwalk also has a selection of international style restaurants, a Craft Workshop, a selection of specialist shops,  and a multi-screen cinema.

An idea of Port Elizabeth's historical past can be had by taking a walk to the Market Square, which is home to a number of historic buildings. The centrepiece of the square  dating from 1858, is the very grand City Hall with an imposing clock tower.

Also located in the Market Square is the public library which was built in 1835 and was originally used as a courthouse. The buildings facade was manufactured in England, shipped to Port Elizabeth and assembled. It stands as a fine example of Victorian Gothic architecture. A marble statue of Queen Victoria was placed at the entrance to the building in 1903.

At the top of Donkin street there is a monument to the memory of Elizabeth Donkin, the wife of a governor of the Provence, Sir Rufane Donkin. Elizabeth died in India before the city that carries her name was even built. The stone pyramid has a plaque on which it is written “One of the most perfect human beings, who has given the name below to this city”. Next to the monument is the old lighthouse, which was built in 1861 and is now an information centre.

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