Port Elizabeth Cruise

A safe and clean city beach
The Red Location Museum of the People’s Struggle
The Addo Elephant National Park

Find South Africa Cruises

Port Elizabeth

A mix of ancient buildings and modern constructions

At the western end of Algoa (aka Nelson Mandela) Bay, your MSC cruise ship will await your return in Port Elizabeth, normally visited for the Addo Elephant Park. So it may come as a surprise as you sail on your MSC cruise to South Africa that this has long been a popular holiday destination for families – but then the town beachfront, stretching for several kilometres along Humewood Road, has some of the safest and cleanest city beaches in the country.
As a city, Port Elizabeth is pretty functional. Although the town has been ravaged by industrialization and thoughtless modernization, one or two buildings do stand out in an otherwise featureless city centre, and a couple of classically pretty rows of Victorian terraces still remain in the suburb of Central, sliding into a revamped street of trendy cafés and restaurants.

Holidaymakers head for the beachfront suburbs of Humewood and Summerstrand where there are places to stay plus bars and restaurants. There is little to draw you away from the beachfront, but further afield in New Brighton, you’ll find Port Elizabeth’s most important museum, the Red Location Museum of the People’s Struggle, housed in an award-winning building, and there are also some excellent tours around Port Elizabeth and into the townships.

A Big Five reserve, Addo Elephant National Park is just 73km north of Port Elizabeth, and should top your excursions list. Addo is currently undergoing an expansion programme that will see it become one of South Africa’s three largest wildlife reserves.  Elephants remain the park’s most obvious draw-card, but with the reintroduction in 2003 of a small number of lions, in two prides, as well as the presence of the rest of the Big Five – buffalo, rhino and leopards – it has become a wildlife reserve to be reckoned with.

Must see places in Port Elizabeth

Discover our excursions

    South Africa

    An appointment with the big five
    An appointment with the big five

    South Africa is the African continent’s trump card. Energetic and brimming with self-confidence, no other country can match it for sheer variety.

    It holds some of Africa’s very best attractions, neatly linked by an efficient, visitor-friendly infrastructure with good onward connections to other countries. 

    If you are on a cruise to South Africa and your idea of the perfect African adventure boils down to a spot of Big Five game-watching, a few days on a glorious beach and a quick taste of history and heritage, then this country will fit the bill nicely. 

    However, you’d be doing the place an injustice if you left it at that. 

    Make time during your cruises to stride along some of its many stunning hiking trails, sip Pinotage on its Cape Dutch wine estates, cruise its happening nightclubs or track down rare creatures such as great white sharks, southern right whales and African penguins, and you have the makings of a truly memorable trip

    Culturally, it’s complex and fragmented. A favourite wry quip is that while apartheid may be history, it’s not yet in the past. 

    To dig a little deeper into the realities of present-day segregation and survival in the Rainbow Nation you could take in a cultural visit to a rural district, or spend a day in a township with a local guide.