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.
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.
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.
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!
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.