Port Elizabeth / Nelson Mandela Bay – An African Wildlife Hotspot

Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism has a brand new destination marketing video promoting the fact that Port Elizabeth with Algoa Bay and all it’s adjacent game reserve truly is an African Wildlife Hotspot.  At a recent tourism conference I attended, a representative of Kruger Lowveld Tourism in Mpumalanga implied during one of the panel discussions that the Eastern Cape doesn’t offer visitors an authentic wildlife experience.  So let’s see what Nelson Mandela Bay and surrounds have to offer.   
Algoa Bay with it’s 40 km of magnificent golden beaches has one of the most diverse marine eco systems in the world.  Bird Island is home to the largest Cape Gannetry in the world (110 000 breeding pairs) while St Croix Island has over 50% of the world’s African Penguin population.  Add to that the fact that Algoa Bay has been proclaimed as an International Hope Spot for the African Penguin, is the Bottlenose Dolphin Capital of the World and offers whale watching and excellent scuba diving opportunities.  
The area offers everything from rocky shores to indigenous floral fynbos, stretches of golden beaches and unspoilt sand-dunes (the Alexandria Dunefield is the largest coastal dunefield in the Southern Hemisphere) to lush indigenous forest and untamed wilderness areas.  This all means that the nature reserves in and around Port Elizabeth offer a wonderful range of options to the great outdoors. 
Then there is the cherry on the cake.  Addo Elephant National Park, home to the Big 7, and number of excellent Big 5 private game reserves within an hour and a half from the city means that this region has developed into one of South Africa’s main game viewing destinations.  Who needs Kruger and the Lowveld when the Eastern Cape has such an awesome and very much authentic (and malaria free) wildlife experience to offer visitors?