Gqeberha: The Friendly City
Gqeberha, formerly Port Elizabeth, is a charming, post-colonial seaport with British flair and Victorian gothic architecture located between Cape Town and Durban on the Southern coast in Algoa Bay. This beautiful port town is part of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan region of the Eastern Cape, which also includes Uitenhage and Despatch. Unofficially the Eastern Cape’s capital city, Gqeberha acts as the social, commercial, and financial centre of the Eastern Cape.
Talk of the Town
Port Elizabeth was established in 1820 when 4000 British colonists made Algoa Bay their home. The governor at the time honored his wife by naming the area after her. In February 2021, Port Elizabeth was renamed Gqeberha, which is the Xhosa word for the Baakens River that meanders through the city towards the ocean. Nonetheless, old Victorian landmarks peppered around the city are reminders of the rich history of this area. Over the years Gqeberha became a bustling port with a deep-water harbour and a thriving centre for trade. The current population is made of predominately Afrikaans, English, and Xhosa-speaking residents. Two colloquial names for Gqeberha have grown popular over the years. First is the windy city, and the other is the friendly city. Gqeberha is affectionately famed for its warm, welcoming residents.
Homeownership in Gqeberha
Due to the coastal lifestyle, affordable homes, and holiday feel, Gqeberha is an attractive option for those who have decided to ‘semigrate’ to coastal towns, retirees, young families, and people who work for the industrial sector close by. According to Lightstone, the market stock is predominantly made up of sectional title units, which make up approximately 75% of the households in Gqeberha, followed by freehold properties. The average household income in Gqeberha is R11, 000 – R22, 000 which allows for growing ease of access for young buyers between the ages of 18 and 35.
Franchisees, Iaan Fourie and Charisse Hendricks from Property.CoZa De Novo, and Paul-Fuller Petersen from Property.CoZa Promenade, have listings that span the entire city, extending from the renowned Jeffreys Bay throughout suburbs like Forest Hill, Lorraine, Richmond Hill, Parsons Ridge, Miramar, Fairview, and Summerstrand, through to Blue Water Bay. If you are looking for a property for sale or a property for rent, our Property Professionals are happy to help. You can also add your specifications to our property alert on our website to keep up to date with new listings available to view.
Algoa Bay, on which Gqeberha lies, boasts more than 40 kilometers of pristine coastline and the turquoise waters of the warm Indian Ocean beyond its shores. The weather in Nelson Mandela Bay is coastal, mainly warm and pleasant throughout the year, which leaves the beaches hiving with activity and the sea teeming with water sports enthusiasts. Windsurfers, fishermen, sailors, scuba divers exploring the reefs and wrecks, surfers, and happy swimmers pack their things and head off to the blue-flag beaches like Kings Beach, Bluewater Bay, Sardina, and Hobie most days.
For holiday-makers and residents alike, the natural landscape, fauna, and flora are of great interest. Nature trails and reserves such as Van Staden’s Wild Flower Reserve, The Cape Recife Nature Reserve, Maitlands Nature Reserve, The Island Nature Reserve, and Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area are often explored. Sea birds are abundant and game reserves like the nearby Addo Elephant National Park have elephants, rhino, and other big wildlife living on expansive plains near the Zuurberg mountain range. Humpback whales, Southern Right Whales, and Bryde Whales gently breach, dance, and play on the breakers offshore during the year.
Industry and Travel
Although Gqeberha is often seen as a holiday destination and coastal town, Nelson Mandela Bay Metro itself is the leading automotive industry in Africa. Also, the manufacturing of meat, vegetable, dairy, paper, and leather products is common in this area. In the Eastern Cape, Nelson Mandela Bay Metro is responsible for the majority of activity in sectors such as financial services, transport, and manufacturing. Gqeberha offers air, rail, and sea travel. In fact, the only air access in the Eastern Cape is found here and named the Dawid Stuurman International Airport. Ngqura, a busy seaport facilitates the transportation of goods like petrol, wool, ore, and fruit to other provinces in South Africa and beyond. Gqeberha’s railway network is fit for local commuting and long-distance travel to Johannesburg and Bloemfontein, as well as other long-distance travel routes.
Health, Leisure, and Learning
Gqeberha boasts multiple shopping malls, including Greenacres and Walmer Park, as well as Baywest Mall – the largest in the Eastern Cape – which is situated by the city’s western suburbs. Other indoor attractions include Bayworld and the Boardwalk casino. A considerable sports-lovers paradise, Gqeberha is home to The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, the annual Ironman Triathlon, multiple deep-sea fishing contests, and the Herald cycle tour. Facilities have been built all around the city for hockey, rugby, cricket, soccer, and athletics. The city has several top government-funded and private schools, such as Alexander Road High School, Collegiate Girls’ High School, and Victoria Park High School. For university students, there are plenty of choices; the Port Elizabeth Technikon, the Port Elizabeth campus of Vista University, Nelson Mandela University and the University of Port Elizabeth, Russell Road College, and AFDA. Gqeberha has 14 government and private hospitals, including; Dora Nginza Hospital, Nightingale Subacute Hospital, St George’s Hospital, and Westways Private Hospital.
The diverse heritage in Gqeberha makes for an interesting tourist destination, filled with many historic attractions, such as the Donkin Heritage Trail and the Campanile bell tower. One could spend the day strolling through St George Park and see its monument, visit Fort Frederick, which is over 200 years old. For a day filled with cultural delights, one could visit the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum or the Humewood oceanography room. The influence of early European settlers is still seen in the architecture of Gqeberha, especially the presence the of Art Deco style. Historical buildings in the city feature stained-glass windows, stonework, and wrought iron. Cape Dutch-styled homes are also common as well as Edwardian and Victorian.