Gateway: Port Elizabeth, South Africa


Port Elizabeth  is South Africa’s fifth largest city and is located on the Indian Ocean coast half-way between Cape Town and Durban, in the Eastern Cape, about 260 km from Knysna.  It can be easily reached using Star Alliance miles on South African Airways or One World miles on British Airways. Using Avios is a good deal here as the JNB-PLZ route is 564 miles so only costs 4500 Avios one way.  Using United Mileage Plus would require 12,500 miles for the same route.  You may be able to get a good price using an online travel agent such as Expedia too.


Port Elizabeth is a pleasant city at the end of the Garden Route but for eco-tourists it will just be a jumping off point to nearby game reserves and the Hogsback region further east which has one of the subspecies of Cape Parrot which I will cover in a separate post.  You won’t want to stay here long, maybe a day or two if you make the day trip to Birds of Eden (separate blog post) in Plettenburg Bay.

Club Carlson:  Radisson Blu Port Elizabeth costs 38,000 points per night, with a BOGO if you have the credit card.

I wouldn’t worry too much about hotel points here as there are plenty of guest houses and hotels under $75 including these two.


If your flight lands early enough, you may just want to pick up a rental car and head off straight away.  Warning, automatic cars are quite a bit more expensive than manuals.  In my example, there were manual cars starting from $46 a day.



Port Elizabeth is well placed to see several game parks.

  • African Dawn (Wildlife Sanctuary), Thornhill, 042 2860 710,  9am-5pm. African Dawn Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary offers a selection of birds and wildlife to view including Cheetahs, Servals and much more. Braai and picnic places available.
  • Kragga Kamma Game Park, (Follow the M15 west from the city center for about 15 minutes), +27 (0)41 379-4195 ( Gates are open from 8AM to 5PM. You can either sleep in the camp or take self drives during the Day. White Rhino, Buffalo, Cheetah, Giraffe, Zebra and others. Excellent value small park. R30 entrance fee.
  • Roseate Tern hiking trial, Next to Pine Lodge Resort off Marine Drive, Summerstrand, +27 (0)41 585-9711. 9 km circular trail.
  • Pumba Private Game Reserve, +27466032000.   Day guests can experience the Day Safaris, which are conducted all year round. Each package is tailored to the needs and wants of the individual group, but individual safari times will depend on the season. Visitors can look forward to seeing cheetahs, rhinos, elephants, hippos, lions, buffaloes, White Lions, leopards and a host of other exciting animals.
  • Visit Addo Elephant National Park.
  • Kariega Game Reserve, (90 minutes outside PE), +27 (0)46 636-7904.
  • Shamwari Game Reserve, (45 minutes outside PE), +27 (0)42 203-1111 (fax: +27 (0)42 235-1224).
  • Visit Mountain Zebra National Park.
  • Visit Tsitsikamma National Park.