Port Elizabeth City Guide

by Jose Marc Castro on August 17, 2007

Port Elizabeth is a city in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa that is one of the country’s foremost tourist destinations, drawing in thousands of visitors annually. The city’s mild climate and endless stretches of gorgeous beaches ensure a steady flow of tourists all year round. Often referred to simply as PE, Port Elizabeth is also known as “the Friendly City” or “The Windy City”. Both of these names are particularly apt descriptions given the warmth and friendliness of the local residents that more than make up for the city’s propensity for the occasional stiff breeze.

Residential Places in Port Elizabeth

Only a few short years ago, Port Elizabeth seemed largely untouched by the real estate boom that was sweeping across the rest of South Africa. While many major cities in the country were reaping the rewards of increased interest from both foreign and local property investors, Port Elizabeth seemed destined to remain a minor player in the South African real estate stakes. All that changed a few years ago however, when property interest rates hit its lowest point in 25 years, and a number of development projects–most notably the Coega Industrial Development Zone–came together and increased the viability of Port Elizabeth as a residential area.

During the initial buying frenzy that followed in 2004, many property buyers engaged in bidding wars for limited residential property, ultimately driving prices through the roof.

Today, while property in the city remains in great demand, prices have gone down to more reasonable levels and there is a fairly wide range of residential options available, from loft-style apartment units that go for about R420,000, to single detached homes that sell for R750,000 to R850,000. There are also bigger homes to be had, which start at about R550,000, and mid-level homes that sell for about R1.4 million. On the higher end of the scale, you can also find luxury homes that go for as much as R4.2 million.

Hospitals and Universities of Port Elizabeth

There are many large hospitals in Port Elizabeth, both public and private, and the quality of the facilities is generally excellent. There are also several smaller clinics and health care centers that you can go to for minor medical concerns. Among the largest hospitals in the city are the Netcare Greenacres Hospital and St George’s Hospital.

Netcare Greenacres Hospital is a state of the art medical facility that is able to handle virtually all types of medical concerns, from cardiology to dermatology and most any type of surgery. They can be found at the corner of Cape and Rochelle Roads in Greenacres. Their telephone number is +27 41 390 7000 and you can fax them at +27 41 390 7089.

St George’s Hospital is equally modern and well equipped, and like Netcare Greenacres Hospital is recognized in the industry as one of the best health care establishments in the country. They can be found at 40 Park Drive and you can call them at 041 392 6111. You can also fax them at 041 392 6000 and email them at [email protected].

Port Elizabeth is home to the largest university in the Eastern and Southern Cape of South Africa, The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University or the NMMU. Established in 2005, the NMMU is the result of the merging of three educational institutions namely: the University of Port Elizabeth, Vista University and the Port Elizabeth Technikon. Today NMMU has more than 20,000 students in eight campuses all over the country.

Commercial Places in Port Elizabeth

There is an absolute wealth of restaurants and various other food establishments in Port Elizabeth, which is reflective of the wide range of different nationalities that come to visit every year and have even made their home here. On any given day you can choose from an exotic menu of local favorites or perhaps something more familiar to keep you from missing home too much.

For a superb fine dining experience you can either go to Madison the Restaurant on First, which can be found on First Avenue in Walmer, or Old Austria on Westbourne Road.

If seafood is your thing, head straight to Ocean Basket at the Figtree Retail Center, where the catch of the day is prepared any way you want it right before your eyes.

Finally check out Mugg & Bean Port Elizabeth at the Green Acres Shopping Complex for breakfast, light meals and possibly the best selection of coffee in the city.

Service Establishments of Port Elizabeth

To get your electricity connected, you can contact the Eskom Company by telephone at 041 363 0924, or you can fax them at 041 363 2494. You can also visit their website at http://www.eskom.co.za for billing information and for other services that they offer.

For your telecommunications needs, you can contact any of the several telephone service providers in the city, among them, Unisys South Africa and Master Telecoms. Unisys South Africa offers voice and fax messaging mailbox services and you can call them at 041 581 6161 or fax them at 041 581 6169. You can also visit their web site at http://www.unisys.co.za/. Master Telecoms can be reached at 041 9228399.

Embassies in Port Elizabeth

For consular assistance in Port Elizabeth you can contact the office of the British Honorary Consul or the British High Commission in Pretoria. The British Honorary Consul can be reached at PO Box 35098, Newton Park, Port Elizabeth 6055 and you can call them at (27) (41) 3638841 or fax them at (27) (41) 3638842. You can also email them at [email protected]. Office hours are from Monday to Friday, 0800 to 1130 local time.

The British High Commission can be reached at 255 Hill Street, Arcadia 0002, Pretoria, South Africa. Their telephone numbers are

(27) (12) 421 7500 for the switchboard,
(27) (12) 421 7733 for general inquiries,
(27) (12) 421 7800 for consular services,
(27) (12) 421 7801 for passport related concerns and
(27) (12) 421 7802 for visa related concerns.

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