08:00 – Make a run for it
Join the locals on PE’s promenade and get the blood pumping with a ‘parkrun’ – a wildly popular five kilometre (and free) fun run on Saturday mornings, starting at Hobie Beach. You may see dolphins gliding through the waves close to shore. Afterwards, refuel at Something Good Roadhouse, a recently refurbished 1950s Port Elizabeth landmark overlooking Pollock Beach. Order the ‘Millers’ poached eggs with avocado, smoked salmon and cream cheese, and enjoy some people-watching. Pollock (or ‘Pipe’ as it’s known) is a surfing hotspot – and it’s where the young and beautiful like to strut their stuff.
10:00 – Surf’s up
Back at Hobie Beach, the recently upgraded Shark Rock Pier shares centre stage with the Boardwalk Hotel complex and is the gathering place for people to watch the swimmers and surfski paddlers out at sea. Take the plunge and go snorkelling or splash out on some ocean kayaking – hire gear at Pro Dive Watersport Centre. Advance booking is essential.
13:00 – Laidback lunch
PE’s essential charm is that it’s laidback and unassuming. The BeerShack exemplifies this ‘come as you are’ attitude and offers a range of craft beer without the pretention, paired with substantial burgers unofficially rated by locals as being the best on the block – order the beef burger topped with cheese and bacon, plus a side of zucchini fries and judge for yourself.
15:00 – Peace out
After lunch, head southwards along Marine Drive to the nearby Cape Recife Nature Reserve. This wild deserted stretch of pristine beach and fynbos shrubbery is suitably tranquil after the hubbub of the beachfront, and is best explored on foot via a series of well-maintained trails. Observe the varied birdlife and seek out the World War II military observation post; you certainly won’t miss the black-and-white striped lighthouse, which rises up from the rocky shore with a wide blue sky as its backdrop.
20:00 – Sidewalk café culture
The quaint suburb of Richmond Hill is five minutes away from the beachfront. Packed with locals most nights of the week, Stanley Street’s distinctive sidewalk café culture provides a unique snapshot of PE’s diverse society. Restaurants come and go but the stalwart on the strip is Fushin, which serves Asian food with a twist. Try the New York uramaki, a California-style roll crammed with fresh tuna and avocado and topped with tempura prawns. Finish off with something sweet with at Salt – the ‘chocolate jar’ is a popular choice. More of an adult milkshake, it combines chocolate milk liqueur and vodka.