Instant Win

CricInfo Travel

-> back to CricInfo homepage  
-> back to Travel homepage  
-> Email a friend  

Official England Supporters Tours

CricInfo Travel Navigation

This is the fourth of a series of World Cup city and venue guides in the lead-up to the tournament, starting on February 9, 2003.

Port Elizabeth
[ city and venue guide ]

Hosted Countries:

  • England


  • West Indies v New Zealand
  • England v Namibia
  • Australia v England
  • 1 Super-Six match
  • 1 Semi-Final


  • St George's Park


  • Sea level
  • Population of 1,200,000
  • Majority speak English


Port Elizabeth is a coastal city with sea temperatures ranging from 16°C in winter to 23°C in summer. The average weather temperature for summer is 25°C and for winter 17°C. Apart from being called the "Friendly City" it is also sometimes referred to as "The Windy City".


Port Elizabeth is a city big on surprises and has an unbeatable mix of holiday sensations. It features some of South Africa's most beautiful beaches. Get wet and wild on the water-sport scene or simply get lazy. Peep into bygone days of Settler history. Ride a steam train. Hike an Eco-trail. Surf with the dolphins. View big five game just half an hour from the sea. Dine out. And meet the locals over sundowners at festive beachfront pubs.

The Bay of Port Elizabeth is the gateway to the Eastern Cape, and is the perfect complement to the Garden Route, Frontier Hinterland and the Sunshine Coast. Located on the south-eastern coastline of Africa, this busy seaport and exciting tourist destination is situated along the shores of Algoa Bay.

The city offers a diverse selection of attractions as a family-fun vacation destination including Eco-attractions, scenic nature trails, wildlife and cultural experiences, as well as 40 km of breathtaking coastline and beaches. Truly a perfect place to holiday!

With an estimated population of over 1,2 million, it is South Africa's fifth largest city in terms of population and its second largest in terms of area.


A prime value-for-money holiday destination, Port Elizabeth is far more than a coastal city - it is a place of sun, leisure, smiles, dreams, entertainment and style, together in a fusion of friendly hospitality and relaxation.

Reputed to be the Water-sport Capital of South Africa, Algoa Bay is complemented by a wide variety of water-sport options for the adventurous holiday maker, such as ocean cruises, sailing, scuba diving, fishing and wind-surfing. For the sports enthusiast, the city boasts excellent sports facilities and visitors wishing to expend energy are welcome to take part in a myriad of activities on offer such as tennis, golf, putt-putt or bowls, amongst others.

For the culture-minded visitor, Port Elizabeth has managed to preserve its historical heritage in the Central heart of the city. Historians are invited to amble along the Donkin Heritage Trail at their leisure and explore the rich history of the 1820 Settlers. Furthermore, the city boasts a treasure-chest of museums, historical churches, memorials and art galleries.

There are countless options available for those who appreciate the quiet life. These include spending a leisurely morning enjoying an unhurried breakfast; taking an early morning stroll along one of our golden unpolluted beaches or spectacular nature walks; ambling along the beachfront promenade while viewing the many arts and craft stalls displaying their wares or just soaking up the sunıs rays.

Alternatively, you may decide to spend a lazy afternoon appreciating the flora and flora at one of the well-maintained parks and gardens whilst enjoying a picnic or indulging yourself at one of the many charming tea gardens.

Concerts, performances, modern musicals, operettas and small productions by various theatre groups are staged at diverse venues for the refined and sophisticated traveler.

When day gives way to evening, you can make your way to one of the cocktail lounges for sundowners, to meet new friends and exchange tales of the day. Thereafter, you can explore the culinary delights of the city by dining at one of the many superb restaurants where gourmet food and fine wines are complemented by friendly service and old-fashioned hospitality. Afterwards, itıs time to step into a world of elegance at the Boardwalk Casino, known as the "Pride of Port Elizabeth", with over seven hundred slot machines and more than twenty gaming tables from which to choose.

The Eastern Cape is a fascinating region, famed for its rich diversity, history, culture, friendly service, breath-taking scenery and wildlife. Numerous tours are available to satisfy the curious traveler who will have a chance to take in some of the most impressive natural, cultural and historical attractions.

  • Restaurants, Casinos, and nightclubs
  • Dolpinarium, Aquarium
  • Cinemas and Museum
  • Historic Tours
  • Ocean and water-sports
  • Golfing, Bird watching and Wild Life

Port Elizabeth has its own airport with regular flights to all the major venues of the World Cup. For more information visit

St. George's Park:

South Africa's Oldest Test Venue. Capacity of 20,000.

History in the Making ...

"ORDERED: That the Town Clerk be instructed to inform the Secretary to the Port Elizabeth Cricket Club that, upon re-consideration, the Board was prepared to grant the Club two acres or more for a cricket ground, with liberty to enclose it. Three months notice to be given should the ground be required for any public purpose."

This is what the Town Clerk, F.O. Hutchinson wrote on March 9th 1859. Humble beginnings for what is now rated as one of the most important cricket grounds in South Africa.

It wasn't much of a field they selected. It was at the top of a steep escarpment, on the outskirts of the village. It was a rough piece of veld, stony and uneven. But cricket brings out the best in determined characters, so willing hands and open purses were found to put matters in shape.

By 1864, £120 had been spent on the grounds - and now the question of maintenance reared its ugly head. The PE Cricket Club again approached the Town Council requesting that the grounds be fenced and that a charge for admission be instituted.

The Town Clerk ruled, "fencing may be permitted and the charge of an admission fee of 6d - not more than once a fortnight. Furthermore, the Club was permitted to lease the ground to other sporting bodies at a fee not exceeding one pound sterling - provided that the public shall have full access to and free range over the walks within the enclosure, but shall not be allowed to destroy or damage turf laid down by the Club."

The PE Cricket Club was now safely launched in its new home and gradually, as one generation of players succeeded another, the pattern began to unfold. The bi-weekly Herald of 1862 ran a feature column called "Cricket Gleanings". Excerpts included stories like, "The men of the willow will have to take their chance and pitch their wickets where they can." It would appear that the ground was still pretty rough! A later statement, "It is a pity there is not more accommodation; there is a charge of sixpence a seat but many evade this. If the money is collected methodically, a pavilion could be built and sixpence a head would inconvenience few, even in these hard times.

By the middle sixties, the ground began to take shape and there are many accounts of personalities and local cricket matches. Names like the Union and Uitenhage clubs appeared frequently. The day Uitenhage beat Port Elizabeth Cricket Club by 19 runs the Herald carried very little other news.

And names are almost like a catalogue of Port Elizabeth - Peter Heugh, Bob Petit, W. Chalmers, E.H. Walton, C.R. Deere, J. Singleton, E. Godlonton and T.W. Grubb.

The Pioneers - how it all began ...

South Africa's international cricketing contacts started with the visit of a team of English cricketers brought out by Major R. Gardner Wharton in December 1888.

Wharton, who had served a term of duty in the British Army at the Cape and an enthusiastic cricketer, had promised to arrange a tour after his return to England.

Charles Aubrey Smith of Sussex who was later to gain fame as a Hollywood actor led his side of 13 players. His side also included two great cricketers, Bobby Abel and Johnny Briggs. Of the rest, Maurice Read and Harry Wood represented England and Frank Hearne was an outstanding batsman, but the remainder was virtually unknown.

All but two of the games were against teams consisting of from fifteen to twenty-two opponents - the exceptions being the two matches against South African representative elevens. The first of these, played at St. George's Park on March 12th and 13th 1889 has become regarded as the first Test involving South Africa. It is the first game played in this country to have been accorded first class status.

Owen Dunnell of Port Elizabeth had the honor of leading South Africa in that historic match, which was won by their visitors by 8 wickets. Batting first, the home team could manage no more than 84, with A.B. Tancred making 29 and Dunnell being undefeated with 26. The Englishmen also struggled and at one stage, were 103/9, but their last wicket pair put on 45 to give them a total of 148. Albert Rose-Innes was the best of the bowlers with 5/43 - the first South African to take five wickets in a Test Innings. With Tancred again making 29, the South Africans improved with a score of 129, but the visitors went on to victory for the loss of only two second-innings wickets.

The ball used in this first Test Match, a product of beautiful craftsmanship, has passed into the possession of the Port Elizabeth Cricket Club and is proudly displayed in the Clubhouse.

On July 30th 1891, the first ever rugby Test was played on the old ground. W.E. Maclagen captained the English team and H.H. Carstens led South Africa. The result: South Africa: 0 - England: 4.

There was one more piece of excitement in 1939 when W.R. Hammond's M.C.C. side appeared. In this games Len Hutton made a double century - the first by any touring player on the PE ground.

George Mann's M.C.C. side visited South Africa in 1949. A record crowd attended the Fifth Test. South Africa scored 379 with Bruce Mitchell - 99, Billy Wade - 125 and Dudley Nourse - 73, was headed by the M.C.C. with 395. With five down for 168, the M.C.C. seemed in trouble, but a great fighting innings by George Mann - 136 not out, saw a revival. On the last day, South Africa batted sedately until tea-time. Then at the very end of the interval Nourse declared, leaving the M.C.C. about one-and-three-quarter hours to score 171.

Huttong hit the first ball he received for four; Washbrook hooked his first ball for six. The game was on. The hundred went up in 53 minutes. Then wickets began to fall; Gladwin and Griffiths were out in the same over, but Watkins and Jack Crapp, lefthanders who have been saved for the end, batted confidently. Crapp settled the issue with a fine drive off Tufty Mann to give the M.C.C. victory a few minutes from time by three wickets. It was the greatest Test Match seen in Port Elizabeth since 1889.

Numerous changes have taken place since the humble beginnings making it an enjoyable ground to watch cricket at. Various upgrades to the playing surface, seating, stands and media facilities have been started for completion before the start of the World Cup.

The fifth World Cup city and venue guide will appear next week, featuring Benoni.