How to spend 24 hours in Port Elizabeth – the Friendly City – with a R300 budget

So every South African knows whereabouts Port Elizabeth is, the city that known as the Friendly City or the Windy City. Besides just hanging around the beachfront, do you know where else you can go or do under 24 hours, and spend less than R300?

07:30 Start the day with some scrumptious breakfast at Victorian veranda of Savages Fine Food. There are many great breakfast spots in Port Elizabeth, Vovo Telo, Friendly Stranger to name a few, but my favourite have to be Savages Fine Food. While many eateries are booming with coffee culture, it is good to find a place that caters for the tea lovers. Their tea creation are innovative, just imagine popcorn in your tea! Their pastries and breads are freshly made at the premises so you wouldn’t find any pastry alike elsewhere.

09:00 Visit St George’s Park and Pearson Conservatory. After breakfast, take a leisure walk across the road and explore one of the historical landmarks in PE, St George’s Park. However my favourite part of the park is the quiet, 135 years old conservatory, it is quiet well-maintained and sooooo Instagram-worthy.

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10:30 Overlooking the coastline of the Friendly City at Donkin Reserve and appreciating the surrounding 67 public artworks. I have visited Donkin Reserve on numerous occasions but the view never dies on me. With the installation of the art project, Route 67, Donkin Reserve are more lively and vibrant than ever. You can actually spend a good 3-4 hours here!

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As one of the best known historical attractions in PE, Donkin Reserve features a renowned lighthouse and a stone memorial pyramid. Both the Donkin Reserve and St George’s Park are parts of the 51 historical landmarks on the Donkin Heritage Trail, so if you are a history or architectural fanatic, it is worthwhile to do a 5km self-guided walk to explore the rest of the interests. (Just do it in group so safety reason, please!)

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We have tried to explore as much artworks as possible, but as the wind start picking up (like a typical windy welcome from the city), the clouds and rain just came out from nowhere and have shortened our outdoor walk. But at least we get to see some of the my favourite landmarks in PE, like the architecture of public library, the artworks Voting Line and the beautiful Piazza Mosaic.

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13:00 Treat yourself to some fresh catch at This Is Eat. I could recommend many places by the buzzing Richmond Hill or the ever-popular promenade, but as a seafood lover, This Is Eat is a local’s favourite. By lunchtime, this simple and casual joint is packed with locals. With freshly prepared seafood, decent portions and very reasonable price, their fish and chips win my heart any time.

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14:30 Be a beach bum at Sardinia Bay Beach. This is my favourite beach in South Africa (so far), it is less crowded and the wildlife is undisturbed. The sand dune are just pure magnificent and is so high that you can sand-board freely, and kite-surfers can be spotted occasionally. Besides chilling on the sand, you can go for a tranquil 8km walk on the wild uninterrupted stretch of pristine beach, where further down you can snorkel in the tidal pools. Just remember to bring your gear because there are no shops around the beach.

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17:00 Sundowner by the Pier. If you go watch the sunset, I still think the pier have the most beautiful sunset in PE (unless there is another local can suggest a better one for me to go explore next time!). Get free parking inside the Boardwalk Casino and walk your way to the pier. The colours of the wild orange and subtle blue sky will amazes you.

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20:00 Burgers and shakes at Something Good or at the legendary Stage Door of Phoenix Hotel. If you want something casual roadhouse dinner, Something Good is located in a refurbished 1950s Port Elizabeth landmark overlooking Pollock Beach, or else you can head to Stage Door that have been opening its door since 1837 for some pub food. Both restaurants are well priced and popular amongst locals and travelers.

As a street art lover, I have also noticed a bit of graffiti masterpieces around the city, particularly the works of Joff. Love his work!

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Joff’s masterpiece by Something Good

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One of Joff’s works by Baakens Valley

There are lots more to do in Port Elizabeth and 24 hours are barely enough, next time I would also make time to visit the South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre (SAMREC) where they occasionally release rescued penguins and organize monthly moonlight walks.

But until next time the Friendly City!

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