Port Elizabeth and the Eastern Cape in which it is situated are really beautiful parts of South Africa and remain somewhat untouched. The vegetation is scrubby in places, and densely lush in others. The landscape includes mountains, rivers, forests and beaches, making the fauna and flora interesting and diverse.
Those that enjoy spending time in the tranquillity of nature, admiring its splendour and abundance, will be well rewarded in and around Port Elizabeth.
Seven must-sees for nature-lovers visiting the Friendly City
Port Elizabeth, as a landmass, forms a hook that encloses Algoa Bay, with the Indian Ocean on the other side. As such, most areas are within very close proximity to a beach. The variety of animal and plant life that can be found in the rock pools of the shoreline and the azure depths of the Indian Ocean is inestimable. So, even a day at the beach can yield some awesome natural finds. For the more adventurous, snorkelling and SCUBA diving outings are fabuous ways to spend a warm summer’s day.
The South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre is a rehabilitation and protection sanctuary. It focuses mainly on penguins, of which there is currently a colony of 40 at SAMREC. There are also two Cormorants being cared for. Situated in Cape Recife, this is great for children and adults alike and encourages volunteering and assistance from the public.
As the home of about 550 African Elephants, this national park is a favourite destination for visitors to PE. It is situated about an hour outside of Port Elizabeth. In addition to elephants, there is an impressive array of other animals, birds and plants here.
Game drives can be self-guided or conducted by a professional. There are several watering holes with lookout points that allow visitors an optimal view of wild animals within their natural habitat.
This game park, situated within the countryside of PE, is absolutely brimming with wildlife. Game drives (guided or self-guided) will showcase rhino, buffalo, cheetah, giraffe and a huge variety of antelope.
There are over 200 bird species, so visitors are urged to keep their eyes open. Picnic and barbecue facilities are available, as is a restaurant and curio shop.
This park focuses on lions and lion breeding programmes, but is also the home of the Siberian Tiger, leopard, giraffe, crocodile, lynx, and many more. Close-up contact with the animals is a feature that sets Seaview Lion Park apart.
Visitors can look forward to playing with energetic lion cubs before they get too big to be gentle.
This valley runs through most of Port Elizabeth, dividing the two sides of the city, with the Baakens River flowing into the harbour. This valley is a lush retreat from city living and, as such, is home to a fabulous number of birds and small animals. The fauna and flora are best enjoyed on the hiking, walking and mountain biking trails through the valley.
This gorgeous coastal route runs for 8km between Sardinia Bay Beach and Schoenmakerskop through the Sardinia Bay Nature Reserve. It is a relatively easy trail with plenty of stunning flowers and birdlife along the way. Dolphins are often seen frolicking in the waves and the occasional whale is not uncommon.
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