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Port Elizabeth 101 Everything You Need to Know Before Moving to the Windy City

Port Elizabeth 101: Everything You Need to Know Before Moving to the Windy City

Ah, the Windy City! Port Elizabeth or as we locals call it, Gqebera or PE, is a coastal city located in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. 

It’s the fifth largest city in the country and is considered an important economic centre for the region. The city is well-known for its scenic beaches, wildlife reserves, and cultural landmarks, making it a popular destination for both tourists and locals.

Because PE has so much to offer, it can be overwhelming to choose which area to move to. 

If you need help picking out the best neighbourhoods to live in, look no further. This article covers the standout areas in the city and which suburbs to look out for.

Why is Port Elizabeth called the Windy City?

South Africa’s Port Elizabeth is called the Windy City because of the strong and persistent winds that blow throughout the year.

Being a coastal city makes it more prone to windy conditions, and the winds usually come from the south and southeast, bringing refreshing sea breezes during the summer months. 

However, during the winter months, these winds can become quite robust, reaching speeds of up to 70 km/h.

The Windy City’s gusts of wind can have both beneficial and adverse effects. While it keeps the air fresh and clean, which is great for locals and tourists alike, it can be disruptive for outdoor activities such as surfing and beach-going.

Despite the challenging winds, Port Elizabeth remains a popular destination for locals and tourists. The city offers a plethora of attractions, including historical landmarks, magnificent beaches, and stunning natural wonders.

Where should I live in Port Elizabeth?

The best neighbourhoods to live in Port Elizabeth are Walmer, Summerstrand, Humewood, Mill Park, Richmond Hill, and Lovemore Heights. This is based on factors such as safety, proximity to amenities, and overall livability.

Read on to learn more about each of these neighbourhoods.

How We Chose the Best Neighbourhoods in Port Elizabeth:

  • Safety –  These neighbourhoods are known for being safe and having lower crime rates than other areas in the city.
  • Proximity to amenities – They are situated close to important amenities like schools, shopping centres, restaurants, and hospitals.
  • Access to transportation – They have good access to public transportation, which makes it easy to move around the city.
  • Quality of housing – The housing in these neighbourhoods is typically well-maintained and of high quality, with a variety of apartments, townhouses, and houses available.
  • Cost of living: Although these neighbourhoods may be pricier than other areas in Port Elizabeth, they offer a good balance of quality of life and affordability.

The Best Places to Live in Port Elizabeth

1. Walmer

LocationApproximately 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) south of Port Elizabeth’s city centre
Property ratesAverage price for a standard one-bedroom house is
– R 699,000R 799,000 for a two-bedroom house
– R 1,899,000 for a three-bedroom house
– R 3,650,000 for a four-bedroom house

Walmer is located in the eastern part of the city and is considered one of the most desirable neighbourhoods in Port Elizabeth due to its high quality of life and range of amenities. 

Originally a farm, the suburb was later divided into residential plots and named after Walmer Castle in Kent, England, the birthplace of Sir Rufane Donkin, a British army officer who founded the city of Port Elizabeth. 

This suburb has a mix of historic homes, modern apartments, and townhouses available and is known for its tree-lined streets, large properties, and well-maintained gardens. 

Walmer also offers several shopping centres, schools, and recreational activities, including golfing and nearby beaches. The area is located close to major highways and has good access to public transportation. 

The  Port Elizabeth International Airport is also located at Walmer, which is awesome in terms of accessibility.

Walmer is considered a safe neighbourhood with a lower crime rate compared to other parts of PE. We also recommend this area as they have an active neighbourhood watch program to help keep the community safe. 

Take note, though, that the cost of living in Walmer is about 15% higher than the city average. However, this is in line with other affluent neighbourhoods in the city.

Also, in contrast with neighbourhoods that have lower living costs, Walmer definitely offers a better quality of life.

2. Summerstrand

Location6 km (3.7 mi) south-east of the Port Elizabeth city centre
Property ratesAverage price for a standard one-bedroom house is
– R 962,500R 1,599,000 for a two-bedroom house
– R 2,250,000 for a three-bedroom house
– R 2,950,000 for a four-bedroom house

If you love being near the water, Summerstrand might be a great neighbourhood for you and your family. This wealthy and scenic suburb is located on the shores of the Indian Ocean and is known for its pristine beaches, majestic views, and luxurious homes. 

Some of the most sought-after beaches in the area include Hobie Beach and Pollok Beach, which are popular spots for swimming, surfing, and other water activities. 

No need to fret if you’d like to keep your feet on the ground, the nearby Donkin Reserve and St. George’s Park offer opportunities for hiking and walking, while the Port Elizabeth Golf Course is a popular spot for golfing.

Residents love that that this coastal suburb is situated close to major highways and has good access to public transportation, including buses and taxis. 

Summerstrand is home to several shopping centres, including the Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World, which has a variety of stores, restaurants, and entertainment options. 

You’ll also find The Nelson Mandela University in Summerstrand, making it a popular area for students.

However, luxurious living comes at a price. Generally, the cost of living here is higher than in other areas of Port Elizabeth due to the high-end housing, amenities, and attractions in the area.

Despite that, it’s still considered more affordable than other major cities in South Africa, like Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Summerstrand also has a lower crime rate compared to other parts of Port Elizabeth. Private security companies regularly patrol the suburb, ensuring that the community is safe.

3. Humewood

LocationAbout 5 kilometres from Port Elizabeth city centre
Property ratesAverage price for a standard one-bedroom house is
– R 917,500R 1,299,000 for a two-bedroom house
– R 1,424,200 for a three-bedroom house
– R 2,447,400 for a four-bedroom house

Humewood is another awesome coastal suburb of Port Elizabeth to reside in, with a rich history dating back to the early days of the city.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Humewood became a fashionable seaside resort, with many large, elegant homes and hotels being built along the coastline. 

Today, many of these historic buildings have been preserved, which in our humble opinion, adds to the suburb’s charm.

There’s a good variety of housing options in Humewood, which includes a range of historic homes, modern apartments, and townhouses. 

Homes in the area are carefully designed to make the most of the outdoor living experience and offer breathtaking views of the ocean.

Humewood is also known for its beautiful beaches, including Kings Beach and Humewood Beach. The suburb is also home to the Humewood Golf Course, one of the oldest courses in South Africa. 

The neighbourhood also offers a range of restaurants, shops, and entertainment options, including the famous The Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment Complex. 

The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, which hosted matches during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, is also located in Humewood.

While living in Humewood isn’t really leaning towards the cheaper side, the neighbourhood offers a safe and comfortable living.

4. Mill Park

Mill Park
LocationJust a few kilometres south of Port Elizabeth’s city centre
Property ratesAverage price is
– R 3,701,563 for a three-bedroom house
– R 4,619,625 for a four-bedroom house

We recommend looking into Mill Park if you’re interested in living in a deluxe neighbourhood amongst the wealthiest in Port Elizabeth.

Mill Park is a leafy suburb located in the city’s central area, just a few kilometres from the city centre. It’s known for its well-manicured gardens, tree-lined streets, and large, stately homes.

Mill Park was developed in the early 20th century, primarily as a residential area for the city’s elite. Because of this, many of the suburb’s original homes were designed by renowned architects and feature a mix of colonial, Victorian, and art deco styles. 

There are also a number of modern apartments and townhouses available in the area, offering a range of options for those looking to buy or rent. As expected, the housing here is more expensive than in other neighbourhoods further away from the centre. 

Residents love this area for its location, which is easily accessible from the city centre and major highways. It’s also within a short distance of many of the city’s top attractions, including the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and the Donkin Reserve.

Mill Park features a number of parks and green spaces, including Settlers Park and the St. George’s Park Cricket Grounds. The suburb is also located close to the Port Elizabeth Golf Club, one of the city’s premier golf courses. 

In addition, Mill Park is known for its excellent schools, with a number of prestigious private and public schools located in and around the suburb. 

These include Grey High School, one of South Africa’s oldest and most respected boys’ schools, and the nearby Collegiate Girls’ High School.

Mill Park also has a strong focus on safety and security. In fact, private security companies here have made an almost-zero crime rate possible!

5. Richmond Hill

Richmond Hill
LocationEasily accessible from the city centre
Property ratesAverage price for a standard one-bedroom house is
– R 484,000R 650,000 for a two-bedroom house
– R 1,125,000 for a three-bedroom house
– R 1,225,000 for a four-bedroom house

We love Richmond Hill for its old-world charm, colourful houses, and stunning views of the city and harbour. For us, this is the perfect place to live if you’re into arts and design.

The community was established in the early 19th century and grew into a hub for the city’s creative community over time. Today, Richmond Hill is a vibrant and diverse neighbourhood, with a strong sense of community and rich cultural heritage.

The housing in the area is characterised by a mix of Victorian and art deco architecture, with many bright, bold colours and ornate detailing. 

Its location is also the suburb’s strongest asset as they’re located on a hill overlooking the city centre and are easily accessible transportation-wise. 

Richmond Hill is home to a number of restaurants, cafes, and boutique shops, and has a vibrant arts scene with many galleries, theatres, and performance spaces.

On top of that, we can promise you that you won’t get bored in Richmond Hill!

Nearby attractions include the Donkin Reserve, a public park and monument complex with stunning views, St. George’s Park, a large public park with sports facilities, and the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, a world-class sports and entertainment venue.

Richmond Hill is also included in Port Elizabeth’s safest communities with almost no reports of crime in recent years.

While property prices have increased in recent years, Richmond Hill remains a relatively affordable and desirable neighbourhood compared to other affluent suburbs in Port Elizabeth such as Mill Park and Walmer.

6. Lovemore Heights

LocationApproximately 16 kilometres from the city centre
Property ratesAverage price for a three-bedroom house is
– R 2,672,500R 4,899,500 for a four-bedroom house

For a quiet and peaceful lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle of the city, we suggest considering Lovemore Heights, a peaceful suburb located in the western part of Port Elizabeth. 

It’s a mainly residential area, with large homes and gardens, known for its beautiful scenery and upmarket lifestyle.

Security is a major concern for many residents of Port Elizabeth, and Lovemore Heights is no exception. However, the area is considered relatively safe, with very low crime rates compared to other suburbs in the city. 

The community continues to invest in improving the residents’ safety, with regular neighbourhood watches and security patrols, which help maintain a secure environment.

One of the things we love about this suburb is it’s close to nature reserves, hiking trails, and beaches, making it ideal for outdoor enthusiasts. 

The community also features excellent schools, including Victoria Park High School and Lorraine Primary School. You’re also set with a well-equipped shopping centre with stores and services to meet residents’ needs. 

However, access to public transportation in Lovemore Heights is limited, with no direct bus or train services in the area. 

Residents would have to access public transportation through nearby suburbs such as Lorraine and Walmer, which can be a dealbreaker for some.

We guess a peaceful life isn’t necessarily cheap, as Lovemore Heights’ cost of living is generally higher than the Port Elizabeth average, reflecting the suburb’s well-off status.

It can be a bummer how property prices are significantly higher than the city average. Residents, on the other hand, can live a luxurious lifestyle with access to high-end amenities and a tranquil setting.

The Perils of Port Elizabeth: Exploring the Most Dangerous Suburbs

The Perils of Port Elizabeth Exploring the Most Dangerous Suburbs

Despite all the wonderful attractions P.E. has to offer, it’s important to acknowledge that the city also has some of the most dangerous suburbs in the country. 

It may not be the easiest topic to discuss, but by highlighting these areas, we can raise awareness about the potential risks associated with living, working, or travelling to these suburbs. 

Our goal is to help visitors and residents make informed decisions about their safety and well-being. 

By shining a light on these issues, we can also bring attention to the underlying causes of crime and inspire solutions that can make the entire city safer and more secure. 

Ultimately, our mission is to create a more inclusive and safer community for everyone to enjoy.

What are the most dangerous areas in Port Elizabeth?

According to recent reports from the South African Police Service (SAPS), the most dangerous suburbs in Port Elizabeth are:

  • Gelvandale
  • Helenvale
  • Bethelsdorp
  • KwaDwesi
  • Kwazakhele
  • New Brighton
  • Schauderville
  • Motherwell
  • Booysen Park; and
  • Zwide

These areas are known for high rates of violent crimes, such as murder, assault, and robbery, as well as property crimes like theft and burglary. 

Keep reading to learn about these neighbourhoods.

1. Gelvandale


Gelvandale is quite popular for its diverse community, with a significant portion of the population being of Indian and coloured descent.

Unfortunately, it has also gained a reputation as one of the most dangerous suburbs in Port Elizabeth, and not without good reason. The area has struggled with a high crime rate for many years, with violent crime being the most prevalent. 

Gang-related activity is a significant issue in Gelvandale, with gangs responsible for a significant portion of the violence in the area. Residents often live in fear of being caught up in the crossfire of gang-related shootings and assaults.

Furthermore, the socio-economic conditions in Gelvandale exacerbate the crime situation in the area. Poverty and unemployment are prevalent, which can lead to desperation and criminal behaviour among some residents. 

The lack of opportunities and a sense of hopelessness can make some individuals feel that they have no other choice but to turn to crime to survive. 

Moreover, the poor living conditions and inadequate infrastructure in the area make it easier for criminals to carry out their activities undetected.

2. Helenvale


According to the 2020 crime statistics released by the South African Police Service (SAPS), Helenvale had the highest number of reported cases of murder in the city, with 27 cases reported during that year alone. 

The area is also known for high levels of gang activity, which is a significant contributing factor to the high levels of violent crime.

The SAPS has identified Helenvale as one of the areas in Port Elizabeth that require special attention in terms of crime prevention strategies. 

In 2019, the SAPS launched Operation Lockdown in Helenvale, which involved increased police presence and targeted interventions to address gang-related violence in the area.

3. Bethelsdorp


Gangs run rampant in Bethelsdorp, and their presence has instilled fear and danger in the community. Their acts of violence, which include shootings and assaults, have a lasting impact on the community, leaving residents feeling vulnerable and unsafe. 

The gravity of the situation is evident in a report by News24, which listed Bethelsdorp among the top ten police precincts in South Africa with the highest number of murder cases in 2019. 

The area recorded a staggering 84 murders in that year alone, with gang-related activity being a significant contributing factor. It’s a grim reality that residents of Bethelsdorp have to face every day.

A study by the Nelson Mandela University further supports the severity of the situation in Bethelsdorp. The study found that gang violence is a significant problem in the area, with residents feeling trapped and living in fear. 

Poverty and unemployment were also found to be significant contributors to the high crime rate in the area. 

Despite these challenges, there is hope for a safer community, with initiatives aimed at reducing gang activity and creating opportunities for the community to break the cycle of poverty and crime.

4. KwaDwesi


KwaDwesi is no different when it comes to the prevalence of gang-related crimes in the neighbourhood.

According to a report by Herald Live, KwaDwesi was among the top 30 areas with the highest murder rates in South Africa in 2019. 

The same report notes that gang-related violence is a significant problem in the area, with rival gangs engaging in shootouts and other violent crimes.

In addition to gang-related violence, poverty and unemployment are also significant issues in KwaDwesi. 

Moreover, a study by the South African Cities Network found that inadequate infrastructure and poor service delivery in the area also contribute to the high crime rate in KwaDwesi. 

It was emphasised how the lack of access to reliable essential services like electricity and water leads to poorly lit and maintained areas, which creates an environment that is favourable for criminal activities.

5. Kwazakhele

Kwazakhele is a township located in the western part of Port Elizabeth, between two major highways, the N2 and N10, and is bordered by other townships, including New Brighton, Zwide, and Motherwell.

The area is densely populated, with most residents living in informal settlements and low-cost government housing. Unemployment and poverty are significant issues in Kwazakhele, with many of its residents struggling to make ends meet.

According to the SAPS’s annual crime statistics report for 2020-2021, Kwazakhele is considered one of the most unsafe suburbs in Port Elizabeth, citing multiple reports of murders, assaults, robberies, and drug-related crimes.

6. New Brighton

New Brighton was established during apartheid as a designated residential area for black South Africans and is one of the oldest townships in the city. 

The township has a rich cultural history, with notable landmarks such as the Red Location Museum, which showcase the struggle against apartheid. 

However, the area is also known for its high crime rate, particularly in terms of violent crimes such as murder, assault, and robbery. In addition to violent crimes, property

crimes such as theft, burglary, and carjacking are also common in New Brighton.

7. Schauderville


Schauderville, located in the northern part of Port Elizabeth, is a diverse suburb with a strong sense of community spirit. The area is home to various community-based organisations that work tirelessly to foster a sense of belonging among residents.

However, like many other suburbs in Port Elizabeth, Schauderville has also experienced a high crime rate, particularly in terms of property crimes such as burglary and theft. 

From 2020 to 2021, Schauderville had a total of 461 reported cases of burglary and 522 cases of theft. In addition to property crimes, there have also been reports of violent crimes in Schauderville, including assaults and robberies. 

However, the crime rate in Schauderville is relatively lower compared to other nearby suburbs, such as Gelvandale and Helenvale. 

8. Motherwell


Motherwell is one of the largest townships in the city and is home to a diverse community of people, including both Xhosa-speaking and English-speaking residents. 

The area was established in the 1980s as a result of apartheid-era forced removals and is named after the anti-apartheid activist Raymond Mhlaba.

The township is divided into several sections, each with its own unique character and challenges. The area is densely populated, with most residents living in informal settlements and government-built housing.

Crime is also a significant problem in Motherwell, with reports of violent crimes such as murder, rape, and assault. 

From 2020 to 2021, Motherwell had a total of 106 reported cases of murder and 303 cases of rape, making it one of the most unsafe suburbs in Port Elizabeth.

The good news is, there are several community-based organisations and initiatives aimed at promoting social development and addressing the issues facing the area. 

The Raymond Mhlaba Sports Center, for example, provides a safe space for young people to participate in sports and other recreational activities.

The Motherwell Resource Centre, on the other hand, offers a range of services and resources to help residents access education and employment opportunities.

9. Booysen Park

Booysen Park has also recently experienced a high incidence of violent crime, including murder and assault. 

The SAPS’s annual crime statistics report for 2020 to 2021 reported 15 cases of murder and 68 cases of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm in the area. There have also been issues with gang-related and drug-related crimes.

To address the situation, local community policing forums and neighbourhood watch groups have been established. 

However, Booysen Park continues to have a high crime rate, and residents are advised to remain cautious and take steps to protect themselves.

10. Zwide

Zwide was established in the 1950s following the apartheid policy that enforced racial segregation in housing. Because of this, the majority of residents in Zwide live in informal settlements or government-subsidized housing.

The area is known for its vibrant culture and history, particularly as the birthplace of anti-apartheid activist and former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. Mandela’s childhood home, which has been turned into a museum, is located in the township.

However, SAPS’  annual crime statistics report for 2020 to 2021 cited Zwide as one of the most dangerous areas in Port Elizabeth after recording a total of 196 reported cases of murder and 579 cases of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

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