Gqeberha (ex Port Elizabeth), South Africa
Originally the home of the San and Khoisan people and later the Xhosa tribe, the area now known as Gqeberha (previously Port Elizabeth) became a landing place for passing European ships after Portuguese navigator Bartolomew Diaz arrived in Algoa Bay in 1488. As part of the Cape Colony, the British occupied the area during the Napoleonic Wars and it was they who built Fort Frederick here in 1799. Twenty-one years later 4,000 settlers arrived, becoming the first permanent British residents of South Africa and Gqeberha. Sir Rufane Donkin, Acting Governor of the Cape Colony, founded Port Elizabeth, naming the settlement after his late wife. The town underwent rapid growth after 1873 following the construction of the railway to Kimberley, and is now one of the country’s major seaports. Like most South African cities, miles of beautiful coastline surround Gqeberha. Algoa Bay combines warm water and fair breezes, making it a mecca for swimmers and water sports enthusiasts. Those interested in history can follow the Donkin Heritage Trail, past a succession of Victorian and Edwardian town houses, trim gardens and neo-Gothic churches. Just outside the town are a number of game reserves, including the famous Addo Elephant National Park.