Historical Interests - PE

The 1820 Settler history and architectural delights of the historical central city can be explored at leisure on a self-guided walking tour. Amble along the 5 km Donkin Heritage Trail, which links 47 places of historical interest in the old Hill area of central Port Elizabeth. The Donkin Heritage Trail booklet is sold at Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism’s Donkin Reserve Information Office.


Fort Frederick is a stone fort built in 1799 by the British Forces to defend the mouth of the Baakens River. It was named after Frederick, Duke of York, and was built by English troops sent to Algoa Bay to assist the Graaff-Reinet rebels in preventing a possible landing of French soldiers. Yet ironically, no shot was ever fired in anger from the Fort. The Fort, containing a powder magazine and a guardhouse, was originally defended by two eight-pounder guns.

Prester John Memorial is dedicated to the mythical king-priest, Prester John, and the Portuguese explorers who discovered South Africa. It was the quest for Prester John as a Christian ally that led to expeditions to reach him by sailing around Africa. The monument consists of a large Coptic cross. In the central circle are the figures of Prester John and a Portuguese navigator.

Market Square and City Hall are in Govan Mbeki Avenue. The beautiful colonial-style City Hall was built between 1858 and 1862. The attractive clock tower was added in 1883. A replica of the Diaz Cross, donated by the Portuguese Government to commemorate the epic arrival of Bartholomew Diaz in Algoa Bay in 1488, can also be seen in Market Square.

No. 7 Castle Hill Museum is regarded as one of the oldest surviving Settler dwellings in PE. Following renovations, the building was opened as a museum in 1964. The interior of this charming family dwelling represents a picture of domestic life enjoyed by an English middle-class family in Port Elizabeth in the mid-nineteenth century. The building has yellowwood floors and beams and a restored slate roof, and displays beautiful early Victorian furniture and household items. Entrance fee charged.


The Campanile (meaning bell tower in Italian) was erected to commemorate the landing of the 1820 British Settlers and is situated at the entrance to the railway station and harbour. The 53.5 m Campanile contains a chiming clock and the largest carillon of bells in the country. The observation room can be reached by climbing a 204-step staircase, offering a magnificent view of the harbour and surroundings.

Donkin Reserve and Lighthouse was proclaimed a public open space in perpetuity by Sir Rufane Donkin. It includes a stone pyramid monument, with a touching inscription, erected by Sir Rufane Donkin in memory of his late wife, Elizabeth, after whom the city was named. The Lighthouse, built in 1861, also houses the Tourist Information Office.


The Horse Memorial was erected and dedicated to the horses killed during the South African War (1899 – 1902). It is an outstanding and famous piece of sculpture which reads “The greatness of a nation consists not so much in the number of its people or the extent of its territory as in the extent and justice of its compassion”.


We look forward to showing you our remarkable city, and will tailor make a trip to suit your requirements.

Our service is personalised. Transfers to and from your B & B, Guesthouse, Lodge, Hotel or Airport can be arranged, should you not be staying with us at "Ebubeleni".

For more information please feel free to contact us at info@ebubeleni.com. We can facilitate your arrangements and make your stay in Port Elizabeth - (Nelson Mandela Bay) a lifetime memory.

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