A Day in Port Elizabeth, South Africa

by Paul Joseph on June 20, 2013 · 0 comments

What would it be like to spend a day in Port Elizabeth , you ask? Well, let me tell you that Port Elizabeth is deemed by all the locals to be a “small town,” especially in comparison to larger towns such as Durban, Cape Town, or Joburg (Johannesburg). While the city is actuality quite large and spaced out, it does have a “small town” feel to it. A unique thing about Port Elizabeth is its variety of languages. One really cool thing about South Africa is that it has eleven official languages. In Port Elizabeth, there are three of the eleven languages that are most commonly used—English, isiXhosa, and Afrikaans. This means that on any day in any area of Port Elizabeth, you will likely hear an assortment of languages. Being on the NMMU campus is one of the places that you will hear the largest assortment of languages—largely because of the huge array of students, including international students from all over the world. While the campus is where a decent amount of your time would be spent considering you are studying abroad, there is so much more to do in Port Elizabeth. On any given day, it can be incredibly windy in P.E., but when the wind doesn’t make you feel like you are about to get blown away, the weather is gorgeous and the beach is just minutes away! If you prefer more wild outdoor adventures, there are three different animal parks (Seaview, Schotia, and Addo) all within an hour or less driving distance! If the outdoors isn’t your passion, Port Elizabeth has a fair amount of shopping and dining. The Boardwalk is the closest area for shopping, but there is a much wider variety of shopping at the Greenacres Mall and the Walmer Park Mall. If you just need some retail therapy and a movie, these are great places to visit. The Boardwalk and these two malls are also great places to get some great food. Whether you prefer healthy wraps and smoothies, Asian food, Italian cuisine, cafés, or steak houses these shopping can fulfill almost any of your cravings on top of your retail needs. Perhaps you are looking for more traditional South African fair—then the Sunday Flea Market is the perfect place for you! A fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon is meandering through the flea market at King’s Beach looking at the art, wood carvings, metal work, jewelry, and other local goods. Not only is it a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon, but it also is a great place to purchase souvenirs! All of these places are great, but getting to them is another issue. One of the most frustrating parts of being an international student is the lack of a car; however, Port Elizabeth has an intricate and efficient taxi system. Upon arriving in Port Elizabeth, I was frequently warned to be careful with the taxis; however, I have found the local taxis (long white vans) to be the cheapest and easiest way to get around town. These taxis are long, white, and have men hanging out the window yelling, “Town.” It is actually quite intimidating at first, but once you get used to the sight and sound of these taxis, they are lifesavers! Only about a dollar each way, they are quite handy. But be warned, they rarely run at night and if you see one at night, it is not recommended to take them; so, it is always good to have a few different numbers of private taxi companies. These is a very limited idea of what to expect in Port Elizabeth, but I hope you get a better idea of what an amazing city this is! I hope you get the chance to visit! Michelle Peniche is the Spring 2013 CEA MOJO in Port Elizabeth, South Africa

[via CEA Study Abroad Programs]

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