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Information on Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Conference Venues South Africa brings you information on Port Elizabeth situated in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa including information on Facilities and Recreation, Climate, Founding, History Suburbs, Town Planning and Geography.

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Port Elizabeth is one of the largest cities in South Africa, situated in the Eastern Cape Province. It is often shortened to PE and nicknamed The Windy City or The Friendly City, Port Elizabeth Streches along Algoa Bay and is one of the main seaports in South Africa. It is also referred to as Africa's Watersport Capital.

Port Elizabeth was founded as a town in 1820 to house British settlers as a means of strengthening the border region between the Xhosa and the Cape Colony. It now forms part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality.

The Port Elizabeth waterfront, city centre and harbour have been upgraded for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The city was one of the venues for World Cup games.

Port Elizabeth is home to  South Africa's motor vehicle industry and boasts most vehicle assembly plants. Most other industries are geared towards the motor vehicle industry.

Port Elizabeth is also a significant seaport, with the most significant ore loading facilities in the southern hemisphere. As part of the ongoing development, a new Industrial Development Zone with expanded port facilities is being built at Coega.

Port Elizabeth History

The area around Algoa Bay was first settled by indigenous tribes many centuries ago. It is said that the Khoisan and San people were amongst the first inhabitants, and the Xhosa came later. However, little is known as no written records exist from that time.

The first Europeans to have visited the area were Portuguese explorers Bartolomeu Dias, who landed on St Croix Island in Algoa Bay in 1488, and Vasco da Gama who noted the nearby Bird Island in 1497. For centuries, the area was simply marked on navigation charts as a landing area with fresh water.

The area was part of the Cape Colony, which had a turbulent history between its founding by the Dutch East India Company in 1652 and the creation of the Union of South Africa in 1910.

In 1799, during the first British occupation of the Colony during the Napoleonic Wars, a stone Fort was built, named Fort Frederick after the then Duke of York. This fort, built to protect against a possible landing of French Troops, overlooked the site of what later became Port Elizabeth and is now a monument.

In 1804, the town of Uitenhage was founded along the Swartkops River, a short distance inland from its estuary at Algoa Bay. Uitenhage formed part of the district of Graaff-Reinet at that time. The city of Uitenhage was incorporated in the new Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality together with Port Elizabeth and the town of Despatch in 2001.

During the Second Boer War, the port was an important transit point for materials, soldiers and horses headed to the front by railway. While the city itself did not see any conflict, many refugees from the war moved into the city. These included Boer women and children interned by the British in a concentration camp. Following that war, the Horse Memorial was erected to honour the tens of thousands of horses and mules that died during the conflict.

Port Elizabeth Climate

Port Elizabeth has a subtropical climate and experiences only light rain throughout the year. The area lies between the summer rainfall regions of eastern South Africa and the winter rainfall, Mediterranean climate zones of the Western Cape. Winters are mild, and summers are warm but considerably less hot and humid than more northerly parts of South Africa's east coast.

Port Elizabeth Tourism

Port Elizabeth is one of South Africa's major tourist destinations as it is located at the end of the picturesque Garden Route along the Cape coast as well as having many splendid beaches in and near the city. There are many historic attractions surrounding the city Many of which are linked by the Donkin Heritage Trail.

Other attractions include the new Boardwalk waterfront complex, the King George VI Art Gallery, the gardens at St George's Park  and the museum and oceanography room at Humewood. The wider area surrounding Port Elizabeth also features a number of game viewing opportunities, including the famous Addo Elephant Park.

Port Elizabeth is known commonly as the watersports capital of South Africa and boasts an ever increasing number of watersports events annually. Algoa bay is home to scuba diving, game fishing charters, surfing, windsurfing, kiteboarding to name but a few. There are many cruises offered from the harbour from sunset cruises to view dolphins to whale watching tours.

Towns and Suburbs of the Eastern Cape province of South Africa

Addo , Aliwal North , Bathurst , Beachview , Beacon Bay , Bluewater Bay , Cape St Francis , Cintsa , Coffee Bay , Cradock , East London , Gonubie , Graaff Reinet , Grahamstown , Haga Haga , Hogsback , Humewood , Humerail , Jansenville , Jeffreys Bay , Kei Mouth , Kenton-on-Sea , King Williams Town , Kirkwood , Nahoon , Mthatha , Paterson , Port Elizabeth , Port Alfred , Port St Johns , Qolora Mouth , Quigney , Rhodes , Richmond Hill , St Francis Bay , Storms River , Stutterheim , Summerstrand , Sunland , Swartkops , Tsitsikamma , Uitenhage , Walmer

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