Port Elizabeth, South Africa

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Port Elizabeth - Spend less, do more

Port elizabeth town hallAlready prowled the wilderness on the hunt for a glimpse of the big five – the African lion, elephant, leopard, cape buffalo and rhinoceros at the Shamwari Game Reserve? Gotten the warm and fuzzies as you cuddled up to some lion cubs at Seaview Predator Park? Enjoyed a variety of water sports such as surfing, kite-boarding and sailing on the Algoa Bay region beaches (such as Hobie Beach), which are blessed with over 40 kilometres of sun-kissed paradise? If that is true, Port Elizabeth, or the "Friendly City" as it is known to locals, has so much more to offer in terms of authentic experiences off the beaten path.

For the history buff

Why not hike the Donkin Heritage Trail? Not only is it a pleasant stroll, the trail is one of the city's many sights that focuses on its diverse past and rich cultural history. Bringing together a whopping 51 cultural sites, or possibly even more, all linked to the British settlers who landed in the area in 1820, you will have a field day exploring their legacy. The trail itself is only around 6km long, (and let's be honest, that's pretty significant to the ordinary traveller) but takes you past various sites including monuments, historical buildings and the King George IV art gallery.

For those who fish for compliments with their dazzling tourist shots

Why not fish for actual fish instead? Avid anglers can partake in numerous fishing expeditions in Algoa Bay and Nelson Mandela Bay. These include deep sea fishing, river, dam, lake, rock and surf angling. All of these activities can be booked and each trip is undertaken with professional fisherman as your guide. You may even spot some dolphins or whales frolicking in the oceans during your trip! For the animal lover and conservationist in all of us, most of these trips operate on a "catch and release" system, ensuring the preservation of the ocean around the city. If you would like a seafood dinner, head to Cape Town Fish Market instead!

Instead of restaurants which specifically cater to the tastes of foreign tourists...

Enjoy the food of locals. Try some local township delicacies such as Umngqusho, a dish made with samp and beans and said to have been a favourite of Nelson Mandela. Wash that down with Umqombothi, a traditional beer made from maize. Also, don't forget to try some Amagwinya, fried dough bread, a local favourite – these would challenge even the meanest of spelling bee contestants.

If you are touring Walmer Township, consider visiting the Sakhume Museum and Xhosa Culture Centre, an excellent place to learn about the traditions of the Xhosa people.

Into sports?

Or even just pretending to be into sports? Join the locals in supporting the local rugby team, the Eastern Province Kings, in the Currie Cup! Grab some gear and head to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium! Get swept up in the atmosphere and cheer your team on!

You've saved on accommodation...

So why not go for a horse ride along the white sand beaches? Allow the picturesque seaside town of Sardinia Bay (between Schoenmakerskop Village and Seaview) to revitalize you as you lap up the wind in your hair and the freedom of enjoying the unspoilt beaches from horseback.

Once you're all shopped out, why not hire a car and take a side trip to Addo Elephant National Park? The third largest wildlife sanctuary in the country, at a whopping 180,000 hectares, it is home to over five hundred elephants, as well as numerous other forms of wildlife and diverse flora. Arrange either a game drive or a hiking tour to see the park in all its splendour...but only if you're game!

Still game after that? The Amakhala Game Reserve 85km north-east of Port Elizabeth is a must visit if you still haven't ticked off all five of the Big 5!

Spend Less, Do More

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