Port Elizabeth is known as South Africa’s ‘10-minute city’ for the ease at which you can explore it by foot. This makes it a great base for the motorhome traveller when you want to leave all of your gear in the car when you’re off exploring the sights. From Victorian houses in the Donkin Reserve park to the surfers’ haven of Jeffrey’s Bay PE (as it’s known by the locals) attracts tourists from around the globe.
Due to Port Elizabeth's central location, it is easy to get to Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.
Port Elizabeth campervan hire – compare the best deals
Port Elizabeth is the trendy side of the city, so while there are plenty of motorhome companies to rent from, their pick-ups are often near East London Airport. Motorhome Republic makes it easy to see which campervan rental company is right for you by comparing them all in one place. Everything you need to know is there on the results page.
Port Elizabeth road trips
Explore the Addo Elephant National Park, located only an hour north of Port Elizabeth. It’s a fantastic wildlife park with elephants and other animals walking on the road just a few metres next to your car.
The big dunes at Sardinia Bay are peaceful and secluded. This popular beach has picnic facilities and is regarded as one of the best walking beaches in the country.
Go to Jeffreys Bay, also known as J-Bay - the town is famous for surfing, white sand beaches and an abundance of sea shells. It’s a surf mecca and whether you’re good on the board or happy to sit and watch others, it’s a beautiful spot to chill out.
The wild of Africa is only 60 minutes from PE at Pumba Private Game Reserve. This Eastern Cape safari lodge has unrivalled beauty, world-class service and an abundance of wild animals. You’ll spot the big 5 plus rare white lions.
If carnivores aren’t your thing, visit Mountain Zebra National Park - home to the very rare and endangered Mountain Zebra. Just drive around in your campervan rental and animal spot. There are also hiking trails, which allow you to experience wildlife and nature up close.
At Kragga Kamma Game Park, you can either sleep in the camp or take self-drives during the day. You may get to see white rhino, buffalo, cheetah, giraffe, zebra and more beautiful creatures.
Motorhome camping – places to stay around Port Elizabeth
Bergrivier is situated in a tranquil and peaceful environment at the beginning of the Baviaanskloof route. This is paradise for birdwatchers and a perfect place to get away from the city – a true eco-retreat.
Hume Park Caravan Park is in the centre of Port Elizabeth, with views of the sea and harbour. Watch ships docking as you cook a braai and see the sunset over spectacular seascapes. It’s only two minutes from the beachfront, amusement park and city centre, with the Boardwalk Casino on your doorstep.
Oceanview Holiday Resort is a beautiful caravan site, in a park-like setting. Birds and wild animals are abundant despite being only 4km from nearby restaurants, and only 20 min from the centre of the city. Plus nearby you can try your hand at rock fishing.
In the depths of the Elandsriver Valley, 40km from PE, is Solitude. By name and nature it is an ideal spot to get away from it all. Try the Quad Biking, 4x4 trails, Children’s Parties, Huge Rock Pool and much more.
Eat local – restaurants in Port Elizabeth
Ginger is simply good food, excellent service and great atmosphere in an ideal location. Situated on the Port Elizabeth beachfront next to the Beach Hotel, the food is a combination of the finest, fresh ingredients with an Eastern Cape influence.
For a night to remember, head to Old Austria Restaurant. It specialises in German cuisine and has a live piano performance playing classical pieces and Frank Sinatra compositions. The food is delicious, especially the Jäger Schnitzel – a veal escalope in a creamy thin brown sauce with tomato and green pepper concassé and mushrooms, served with spätzle.
The Royal Delhi is in a simple, renovated house in central Port Elizabeth. Inside, brightly coloured walls and decor greets you. This unassuming little place offers some of the finest curries and Indian cuisine in the city. For quality coffee and brekkie, Vovo Telo is the place to go. Now on offer all across South Africa, this institution has sumptuous breads, pastries and rolls.
Tabú is a wonderfully relaxed restaurant for an all-round dinging experience. Views out over the Indian Ocean are as spectacular as the food. Elephant Walk offers big, hearty African ingredients and flavours with finesse. Using local ingredients, including herbs picked in the restaurant garden, Elephant Walk offers a relaxed but sophisticated dining experience. Expect smoked springbok and escargot, prepared in the traditional Burgundy way or with Roquefort cheese - a nod to the chef’s Belgian heritage.
Lazy days in PE, what to do in Port Elizabeth
Travel back to the 19th century as you walk along streets of beautifully restored Victorian buildings at Donkin Reserve park. This was opened for Rufane Donkin and his wife Elizabeth, after whom the city is named. Climb up the lighthouse built in 1861 for excellent views. There’s a great tour with Tour Nelson Mandela Bay City, taking you through the reserve, Town Hall, Feather Market Hall, the Old Post Office, Fort Frederick, Settlers Park and the Horse Memorial.
Wezandla African Arts and Crafts Gallery is a quiet place to avoid the heat and an excellent chance to browse African Art. There are some stunning examples of local and national work. Soak in the sun on the sandy Sunshine Coast. Or try your luck at diving. There are amazing spots around PE and hiring places for gear and instructors.
Bell Buoy - Depth 12m to 18m. Colourful soft coral and a rocky bottom.
Devil’s Reef - Depth 7m with pinnacles up to 1m.
Evan’s Peak - Depth 12m to 40m. Close to St. Croix Island.
Haerlem Wreck - Depth 21m. Navy vessel sunk in 1987
Phillips Reef - Visibility up to 10m.
Riy Banks - Depth 18m to 40m. Coral and game fish.
Thunderbolt Reef - Depth 15m to 30m. Orange and lilac hard coral.
For shopping, head to ‘The Bridge’ – Greenacres Shopping Centre. There are many retail outlets and plenty of restaurants. The Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World complex is another way to enjoy an indoor afternoon. Avoid the throngs of people by heading here midweek or between holiday periods.
PE is a wonderful jumping-off spot for game viewing. There are elephants and other birds and animals at Addo Elephant National Park and many privately owned game reserves in the area, as well as great spots to view marine life in the form of dolphins, whales and African penguins.
Port Elizabeth motorhome guide
A few handy tips for your South Africa campervan holiday:
If you are in a camper and not in an RV, remember you need a torch to go to the toilet.
Essentials such as sunscreen, hats and insect repellent are a must.
Pre-book some of your campsites, particularly in the more popular areas and game parks.