Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

🇿🇦 Port Elizabeth, officially renamed Gqeberha and colloquially often referred to as PE, is a major seaport city and the most populous city in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. It is the seat of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, and the sixth-most-populous city in South Africa and is the cultural, economic and financial centre of the Eastern Cape.

The city was founded as "Port Elizabeth" in 1820 by the government of the Cape Colony when 4,000 British colonists settled Algoa Bay to strengthen the border region between the Cape Colony and the Xhosa. It is nicknamed "The Friendly City" or "The Windy City". In 2019, the Eastern Cape Geographical Names Committee recommended that Port Elizabeth be renamed Gqeberha, after the Xhosa and Southern Khoe name for the Baakens River that flows through the city. The city's name change was officially gazetted on 23 February 2021.

Located on the western portion of Algoa Bay along the south-eastern coast of South Africa, the city lies 770 km east of Cape Town. It is east of the Garden Route and faces the Indian Ocean. It covers 251 square km of the Nelson Mandela Bay metropolitan area, South Africa's sixth-largest metropolitan municipality. The city's warm oceanic climate ranks it among the top cities in the world for pleasant year-round weather. The city is known for many blue-flag beaches along the city's urban coastline; its popularity as an international and local holiday destination; and its rich and diverse cultural heritage. It is a gateway city for the Eastern Cape's adventure, outdoor and African big five game safari tourism.

Economy The economy is primarily oriented towards automotive assembly, manufacturing and export industries, and the city is also a major South African and sub-Saharan African destination for investment. Foreign direct investments of $19,8 billion has been secured over the past decade. Several Fortune 500 companies are present or have their African operations headquartered in the city.

Trade and industry Historically, the majority of trade in the region came through Port Elizabeth and it became a free port in 1832. Exports included wine, brandy, vinegar, ivory, hides and skins, leather, tallow, butter, soap, wool, ostrich feathers, salted beef, wheat, candles, aloe, barley, and more.

Home of South Africa's motor vehicle industry, the city boasts most vehicle assembly plants, General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, Continental Tyres and many other automotive companies. As of 2018, after GM's exit from South Africa, Isuzu took over their production plant in Struandale. In 2016, Chinese state-owned automotive manufacturer BAIC and South Africa's Industrial Development Corporation announced a R11 billion joint venture for the establishment of a semi knock down vehicle assembly plant in Coega. The FAW also have built a multi-billion rand plant in the region. Most other industries are geared towards the motor vehicle industry, providing parts such as wiring harnesses, catalytic converters, batteries and tyres to the vehicle manufacturers.

The largest economic sectors in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro are manufacturing, finance, community services and transport. Community services, trade and manufacturing sectors are the sectors that create the most employment in the Metro. The city offers a wealth of tourism and recreation opportunity due to its bio-diversity, beaches and open spaces. Further still, Nelson Mandela Bay is a preferred region for the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, flour, meat, frozen vegetables, soft drinks, chocolates, cheese, yoghurt, ice cream, paper and leather products.

The city is also a major seaport, with the most significant car loading facilities in the southern hemisphere. As part of the ongoing development, a new Industrial Development Zone with expanded port facilities has been built at Coega.

Tourism Located at the end of the picturesque Garden Route along the Cape coast, the city has beaches in and near it. The most popular swimming beaches include King's Beach and Hobie Beach. Many local historic attractions are linked by the Donkin Heritage Trail. These include the Campanile (bell tower), built in 1923 to commemorate the arrival of the 1820 Settlers and offering a viewpoint over the city; the city hall (1862); the Donkin Reserve park and monument; and the old stone Fort Frederick itself (1799). The CBD also boasts the towering Eastern Cape post office headquarters.

Route 67 is a walking trail consisting of 67 public artworks, symbolising 67 years which Nelson Mandela dedicated to the freedom of South Africa. The artwork is a celebration of South African culture and history and is scattered along the route as it starts from the Campanile, up the stairs to the Vuysile Mini Market Square and to the large South African flag at the Donkin Reserve. The artworks were created by local Eastern Cape artists.

Other attractions include the gardens at St George's Park, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum (formerly known as the King George VI Art Gallery), the museum and oceanography room at Humewood, and the new Boardwalk waterfront complex.

The wider area surrounding PE also features game viewing opportunities, including the Addo Elephant National Park, 72 km (45 mi) to the north near the Zuurberg mountain range. It is also a destination for whale watching with humpback whales sighted between June and August, and again between November and January, southern right whales sighted between July and November, and Bryde's whales sighted all year round.

Property development Nelson Mandela Bay has experienced a construction boom led by the Baywest Mall and Coega Development Corporation (CDC). Baywest Mall which opened in 2015 is the largest shopping centre in the Eastern Cape located on the western outskirts of the city and forms part of the Baywest City. Baywest City is a planned mixed-use development area and is striving to become a major development hub in the city's western suburbs. Coega located just outside of the city once an industrial development zone (IDZ) has now deemed the status of a special economic zone (SEZ). It also houses the second and the newest port of Nelson Mandela Bay and South Africa, Port of Ngqura. This multi-billion rand project aims to drive local and foreign direct investments in export-oriented industries and position South Africa as the hub for Southern African trade.

Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa 
<b>Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa</b>
Image: Diriye Amey

Port Elizabeth is rated Sufficiency by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. Sufficiency level cities are cities that have a sufficient degree of services so as not to be overly dependent on world cities.

Port Elizabeth has a population of over 876,436 people. Port Elizabeth also forms part of the wider Nelson Mandela Bay metropolitan area which has a population of over 1,152,115 people.

Twin Towns – Sister Cities Twin towns and sister cities include: 🇲🇿 Beira, Mozambique; 🇸🇪 Gothenburg, Sweden; 🇺🇸 Jacksonville, United States; 🇨🇳 Ningbo, China.

Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license | GaWC