Nelson Mandela Bay is located at the very bottom right of the map of Africa. It is a metropolis that includes Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage, Despatch and the surrounding rural area.
It boasts a magnificent coastline, and is in close proximity to several top class game lodges as well as the Addo Elephant National Park.
The area is a hub for industries such as car manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, agriculture and many more. In more recent years, the development of the Coega IDZ and deep-water port has given the area an economic boost.
Academically, it is served by Nelson Mandela University, which is spread over six campuses within the metro.
South Africa has 11 official languages! But you will find English is spoken everywhere. It is the primary language used in business, on road signs and on official documents.
Cash and Banking
The local currency is the Rand, which is divided into cents. You can find a converter here.
Banking hours are generally 9am to 3.30pm Mondays through Fridays, and 8.30am to 11am on Saturdays.
There are ATMs in malls, at most petrol stations, and often in convenience stores.
Visa and MasterCard are accepted everywhere, while some hotels and restaurants also accept Diners Club and American Express.
The Port Elizabeth airport is just a few minutes from the beachfront hotels and conference venues.
If you are attending an event there, you won’t need to hire a car – most of the hotels have a shuttle service, and there are also taxis and Uber. The beachfront has many restaurants, coffee shops and cinemas to keep you entertained… but you’ll probably enjoy watching the dolphins swim by most of all.
If you need to travel further afield, there are several car-hire companies based at the airport.
Port Elizabeth was known as the “10-minute city”, because that’s how long it took to drive anywhere. It’s probably more like 15 mins these days, but we don’t suffer from major traffic jams. Expect traffic to be a bit slow during the morning and evening rush hour.
The area has a very mild climate, without temperature extremes (it is one of the few major cities in the world where it is possible to live comfortably without indoor heating or cooling). It is, however, known as the “Windy City” for good reason!
Hottest months are December-February (day time temps around 25-30C)
Coldest months are June-August (day time temps around 10-18C)
250 volts, 50Hz
Plugs are round-pin, either 2pin (Type C, 2.5amp) or 3 pin (Type M, 15amp) as shown below.
Things to do in the area
While the Addo Elephant Park is the first thing that usually springs to mind for visitors, there are many other options for business visitors who would like to add a day or two to their stay.
- visit the African Penguin rescue centre
- take a trip out to surfing mecca Jeffrey’s Bay
- relax in our many excellent coffee shops
- visit the local game parks
- do a brewery tour & beer tasting
- hang out at the beach – swim, surf, scuba, suntan
- take a meander to the art galleries and the Donkin Reserve
- visit the AutoPavilion at Volkswagen
- or go further afield and head down the Garden Route towards Cape Town