INFORMATION FOR TRAVELLERS


WEATHER

BW hotel

Port Elizabeth is fondly known as “Madiba Bay”, the “Friendly City” or the “Windy City”. The latter title might create the impressions that the wind is always blowing, which is not the case, but the wind can reach storm strength from time to time. Fortunately November is one of the less windy months. Weather in Port Elizabeth can be very difficult to predict and 4 seasons are often experienced in one day. November temperatures in Port Elizabeth are very mild, ranging from a night-time low of around 15oC (59oF) to day-time highs of around 23oC (72oF). Despite November being summer-time, evenings in Port Elizabeth can still be a bit chilly, and visitors are recommended to bring a light jacket or jersey along for the evenings. Sea water temperature in November is around 18oC (64oF) making for good swimming conditions.

 

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ELECTRICITY

Electricity supply in South Africa is 220/230V AC 50 HZ and electricity outlets are via large 3-pronged sockets as seen in the picture.

Adapters are available at shops at most airports in South Africa as well as specialized travel shops.

 

TRANSPORT

Travelling to Port Elizabeth

There are no direct international flights to Port Elizabeth. International visitors need to fly to OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg or to Cape Town International airport, from where a number of different airlines have regular flights to Port Elizabeth. An alternative for travellers with extra time in South Africa is to rent a vehicle in Cape Town and drive the scenic route of about 700 km (440 miles) from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth along the Garden Route. Travelling by road from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth is not recommended as it is about 1500 km (940 miles) of which a large portion is through semi-desert areas.

Car rentals

It is recommended that delegates who wish to explore more of Port Elizabeth and surroundings, and not only the immediate area close to the conference venue, obtain a rental car at the Port Elizabeth airport. There are many scenic routes and other attractions close to Port Elizabeth that are easily accessible by car, but which you might miss if you do not have your own transport, such as the coastal road to the mouth of the Maitlands River. All the major car rental companies such as Avis, Budget, Herz, Europecar, Bidvest and others have outlets at the airport in Port Elizabeth. It is advisable to pre-book a vehicle.

To and from airport

The conference venue at the Boardwalk, as well as the recommended accommodation for delegates in the Summerstrand area of Port Elizabeth, is a mere 4 to 6 km (2.5 to 4 miles) from the airport. Delegates opting against renting a car can easily obtain a taxi at the airport right in front of the arrivals hall. A trip from the airport to Summerstrand will cost R120 (about US$10).

To and from conference venue

Delegates staying at any of the hotels adjacent to the conference venue, listed under alternative on the website, or in guesthouses in Summerstrand between 1st Avenue and 5th Avenue, should be able to walk to and from the conference venue. Delegates staying further away will have to rely on rental cars or arrange private taxis.

Public transport

While Port Elizabeth does have a public transport system of busses and mini-bus taxis, these will probably not meet the needs of conference delegates. There are private taxi services, e.g. King Cab http://www.king-cab.com/, Mobile numbers +2782 959 5319 / +2772 800 9555, Landline numbers +2741 368 5559 / +2741 368 5632.

  

 

LOCATION OF CONFERENCE VENUEBoardwalk night

The conference venue – The Boardwalk Hotel and Conference centre – is 4 km (2.5 miles) from the airport and directly across the street from one of Port Elizabeth’s beautiful beaches. The hotel complex includes a casino, shops specifically catering for tourists, a variety of restaurants and coffee shops, entertainment centre for children, movie theatres, and an amphitheatre used for a variety of shows. These places are arranged around an artificial lake where free music fountain shows are presented every evening. The complex is within walking distances of a number of other restaurants, places of entertainment, and beaches. The Boardwalk complex has ample free open parking or paid under-cover parking for delegates using their own or rental vehicles.    

 

CONFERENCE DINNER VENUEWillows

The conference dinner will be held at a holiday resort called “The Willows” which is 14 km (9 miles) from the conference venue on a very scenic drive along the sea between the city and a small settlement called Schoenmakerskop. Delegates with their own transport should consider taking the drive to Schoemakerskop before the dinner while it is still light enough to enjoy the scenery. The Willows is a sea-side resort and delegates will be able to enjoy a wonderful sunset over the sea before dinner. Transport to The Willows will be provided for delegates without their own transport.

 

THINGS TO DOelephants

Port Elizabeth offers the visitor a variety of things to do, with the most sought after being game parks, beaches and shopping. A must see is the Addo Elephant National Park. Links to websites with more information about sightseeing, tours and places to go can be found on the conference website under the links for the venue, travelling and accommodation – see in particular the site of the PE B&B association (PEMBBA).   Most of these places are easily reachable by car. A tour operator will be available at the conference registration desk where delegates can book tours for the excursion day (Wednesday 25 November) as well as for periods after the conference. The cost of these excursions is not included in the conference fee. Port Elizabeth has a number of high quality “blue flag” beaches, including Hobie Beach directly opposite the conference venue. This is an excellent place for an early morning swim or a long walk/jog on the sandy beach (or paved walkway) after the day’s proceedings at the conference. More than one restaurant in the area provides the visitor with an amazing view over the sea while enjoying a meal or a drink.

 

SHOPPING

Port Elizabeth boasts a number of big shopping centres with the best probably being the recently opened Bay West Mall (including an ice-rink and an Imax movie theatre) and Walmer Park. Neither of these is however in walking distance from the Summerstrand area and can only be reached by car or taxi.

 

ACCOMMODATION

Delegates who have not yet booked accommodation are encouraged to do so as soon as possible. Delegates opting for a B&B or Guest House are recommended to look at places in Summerstrand, keeping in mind that the lower numbered avenues are closest to the conference venue.

 

CURRENCY

The local currency is the South African Rand (ZAR). The current (27 October) exchange rate is about R10 for 1AUS$, R13.70 for 1 US$ and R9.30 for 1 NZ$. Most shops and restaurants accept major credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard. Only in very rare cases will you find a shop in Port Elizabeth that accepts foreign currency in cash. It is recommended that delegates ensure they have some South African Rands to use. ATMs where cash can be drawn from credit cards are plentiful, including more than one in the Boardwalk complex and at all airports. There is also a foreign exchange outlet in the Boardwalk, as well as at all the airports.

 

SAFETY

South Africa is unfortunately sometimes pictured by the world media as a country with a high crime rate. While Port Elizabeth is still one of the safest cities in the country, delegates must take care of themselves and their belongings. In most cases problems can be avoided if common sense prevails. Some basic safety tips include: never leave a vehicle unlocked – always double check; don’t leave any goods or parcels visible inside a vehicle, but lock them away in the boot; don’t walk on your own at night and avoid unlit areas; always keep an eye on your possessions; lock hotel and guest house rooms; make use of provided safes for valuable possessions and documents and don’t display expensive cameras and mobile phones too openly in public, i.e. don’t look like a tourist! The Port Elizabeth seafront area is generally very safe any time of the day and night - in particular when walking in groups.

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

More information about local conditions and situations in Port Elizabeth can be obtained from Maritz Snyders at maritz.snyders@nmmu.ac.za

 

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