Port Elizabeth Events, Things to Do and Festivals

(Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa)

Picture of local crowdsMany of the events and festivals held annually in and around Port Elizabeth feature sporting activities of one kind or another.

From swimming and running to surfing and cycling, sporty visitors and spectators will be spoilt for choice when it comes to things to do.

Port Elizabeth also hosts a number of festival and fairs, which celebrate the local food and drink in South Africa, together with culture and the arts.

Port Elizabeth Calendar of Festivals and Events


  • Spar Ocean Racing Series - an action-packed event which is part of South Africa's top watersport series. Swimming, running and paddling races are included


  • Chilli Festival - held at the end of February, this annual festival features all things chilli-related
  • Spar Redhouse River Mile - a family open water swimming event just a few minutes' drive from Port Elizabeth


  • Prickly Pear Festival - nearby Uitenhage is the venue for a festival that celebrates this spiky fruit. The festival offers fun for all the family, with thousands of visitors coming to enjoy the traditional food and drink on offer each March


  • Spec-Savers Ironman South Africa - mid-April, Nelson Mandela Bay is the spectacular venue for this Ironman triathlon. There's plenty of entertainment for both spectators and racers, including dancers, musicians and a pasta party
  • Vodacom Splash Festival - a four-day festival each April, highly suitable for the whole family. As well as sports events, there are kids' competitions, music concerts and a great carnival atmosphere. Held at various places around Port Elizabeth, including the harbour and Kings Beach


  • Addo Elephant Marathon - this marathon offers something a little different for the runners who take part. The venue is a national wildlife park, located near Port Elizabeth, with the route following trails through the African bush


  • Absa Kirkwood Wildlife Festival - an event held just north of Port Elizabeth. Visitors can enjoy a mix of conservation, wildlife and entertainment, with wine tasting events, as well as hundreds of stalls, music performances and an annual auction
  • Bridal Fair - the Sahara Oval St George's hosts this popular annual June fair


  • Billabong Professional Surfing Contest - a short distance from Port Elizabeth, the popular resort of Jeffrey's Bay plays host to this famous sporting event where all the competitors hope to ride the perfect 'supertube'


  • Citrus Festival - held in late August in nearby Addo, with lots of stalls selling citrus products
  • Radio Controlled Model Airshow - a family event hosted by the Port Elizabeth Radio Flyers on an airfield near St Albans. The day features everything from helicopters to jets


  • Northern Arts Festival - held at the end of September, the Northern Arts Festival brings together a wealth of local music talent from the Eastern Cape
  • Steytlerville Rainbow Festival - a rich variety of cultural entertainment, including traditional arts and crafts, food and music


  • Amatola - an ultra-distance solo trail running event that is staged over two days
  • Discovery Men's Health PE KB Harbour Challenge - part of the Surf Ski Series. Other races in the series are held from October to December
  • Sherwood Garden Centre Spring Festival - a gardening exhibition which showcases the region's floral expertise to tourists and locals


  • PE Toy Run - said to be one of the biggest motorcycle charity events in the world, the Port Elizabeth Toy Run attracts on-road and off-road bikers who all have one aim in mind, to deliver thousands of toys to children in the Nelson Mandela Bay area
  • Energade Triathlon Series - the Port Elizabeth event in this series is open to teams and individuals. Starts from Pollock Beach each November


  • Miss Tropika - an annual pageant held at various locations around the city
  • Crusaders Port Elizabeth City Marathon - an event that is open to runners and walkers