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10 awesome things to do in Port Elizabeth

Spilling down into the salt-spraying rollers of beautiful Algoa Bay, with the rugged rises of the Groot Winterhoek Mountains and the amazing Addo Elephant National Park on its fringes, Port Elizabeth could just be one of the best places in the whole world to do that TEFL internship. We certainly think so, what with surfing sessions and safaris, whale watching and wild walking routes all waiting for when you depart the classroom. Just check out this list of 10 awesome things to do in Port Elizabeth…

 

things to do in Port Elizabeth
King’s Beach, Port Elizabeth | © flowcomm/Flickr

 

Hit the beach

 

One of the real bonuses of opting to complete your TEFL training in South Africa’s Eastern Cape is the proximity to the ocean. Port Elizabeth is fringed by some seriously gorgeous beaches, too. There’s over 25 miles of sands on offer along Algoa Bay alone. Some of the top spots include bustling Hobie Beach and the surfer-friendly Kings Beach.

 

things to do in Port Elizabeth
Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa | © flowcomm/Flickr

 

Hit the surf

 

Whether you come in search of easy-going beach breaks that peel neatly left-to-right or hardy tubes with gnarly closeouts, the range of surf spots along this run of the Eastern Cape is sure not to disappoint. There are outfitters offering beginner lessons on Kings Beach just to the south of the city. More seasoned riders tend to coalesce at the famous swell at Millars Point – when it’s working.

 

things to do in Port Elizabeth
Lion, Addo Elephant National Park, Eastern Cape | © flowcomm/Flickr

 

Go on safari

 

This is Africa, remember. And even better than that, this is South Africa – home to the fabled Big 5 game. Less than an hour’s drive to the northeast of town is where you’ll find the iconic Addo Elephant National Park. Hop in the car and head there if you’re eager to glimpse buffalos and ostriches, lions and hyenas. Elephants are abundant there, too – hence the name – and so are breathtaking vistas of grassland and distant mountains.

 

Spot some whales

 

It’s not just majestic land animals that give the things to do in Port Elizabeth a wild edge. It’s also the creatures of the ocean. In fact, the wave-bashed coastline where the city sits is hailed as one of the best whale and dolphin watching regions in the whole Eastern Cape. You can hop on boats to seek them out over the sloshing waters, or simply hike the cliffs to spot all manner of other marine life.

 

There’s penguins, too

 

Once you’ve checked off elephants, lions, whales and dolphins from that safari bucket list, you can strike another line by hopping across to so-called Penguin Island on a boat charter. It rises in a series of craggy rocks and is home to – predictably – a whole troop of African penguins. There’s a whopping 22,000 of them clustering on the headlands in total, all ringed by cormorants and other rare seabirds to boot.

 

things to do in Port Elizabeth
Scuba Diving, Eastern Cape | © South African Tourism/Flickr

 

Go diving

 

Adding yet another outdoorsy adventure to the list of things to do in Port Elizabeth is the city’s excellent diving scene. If you’re eager to combine that TEFL qualification with a PADI course that’ll let you delve into open water all around the globe, this could just be the perfect place for you. Dive spots range from coral reefs littered with sea sponges to pier-side sites where glimpses of tiger sharks aren’t uncommon.

 

 

things to do in Port Elizabeth
Lions? | © Mark de Scande/Flickr

 

Go hiking

 

Be sure to pack the walking boots and hiking sticks, because trails abound around Port Elizabeth. You might want to break out to the untrodden Groot Winterhoek Mountains one weekend. There, the paths weave past babbling creeks and woodland by the Kwazunga River. If you prefer bracing walks by the ocean, the Sacramento Trail is perfect. That wiggles for five miles down through the wild Schoenmakerskop reserve with views over the waves and the beaches.

 

Go sandboarding

 

If you’ve tired of the rolling waves around Port Elizabeth, then surfing of a whole different sort can be found on the colossal Maitland dune mountain. It’s hidden in its own nature reserve to the west of the city, awash with hulking sand hills and coastal forests. Grab a board and try to conquer the steepest slopes – it’s sure to get the adrenaline pumping even more than the prospect of teaching vocabulary to five-year-olds!

 

things to do in Port Elizabeth
Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa | © flowcomm/Flickr

 

Get a fix of local history

 

Other things to do in Port Elizabeth take a turn for the more cultural and thoughtful. Hit the South End Museum on Walmer Boulevard. It chronicles the tumultuous years of the Apartheid regime and the social upheavals that went with it. First-account interviews, photographs and media clippings help to illustrate what went on in Port Elizabeth during the 20th century. Meanwhile, the South African Air Force Museum is one of the aviation buffs. It’s packed with helicopters and vintage planes.

 

Hit a round of 18

 

Keen golfers won’t be disappointed by the range of top-class courses that await around Port Elizabeth. You can grab the clubs and make for the Port Elizabeth Golf Club, the Humewood Golf Club, or the Little Walmer Golf Course. The latter is low-key but steeped in history – it’s one of the oldest in South Africa. It’s got nine holes and some pretty, palm-sprouting fairways.

 


 

Port Elizabeth is the chosen location for our immersive Teach in Africa program. You’ll get hands-on training to really augment that 120-hour TEFL course and get to explore one of the most amazing corners of the Eastern Cape to boot! If all these things to do in Port Elizabeth and the prospect of getting support and extra help for your EFL adventure has tickled your wanderlust, be sure to get in touch.

 

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