Is Port Elizabeth Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On November 7, 2023
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Safety Index:
* Based on Research & Crime Data
User Sentiment:
* Rated 54 / 100 based on 7 user reviews.

Port Elizabeth is South Africa’s fifth-largest city and is located on the Indian Ocean.

Also known as the friendly city and the windy city, it tends to live up to both names.

The city is a center of the South African motor industry.

It is spoiled by moderate and warm temperatures all year round with scattered rain throughout the year.

Port Elizabeth is a popular destination for water sports and offers many historical attractions, such as the Historic Donkin Heritage trail, taking visitors along the footsteps of the 1820 settlers.

Port Elizabeth is a great place to see unique birds and animals as well as great an area for viewing marine life in the form of dolphins, whales, and African penguins.

Warnings & Dangers in Port Elizabeth

Overall Risk


Port Elizabeth is one of the safest cities in South Africa. However, it should be understood that the crime rate is still quite high. It is not recommended to walk around the city at night; you need to move only by car, closing the doors and windows. Do not buy anything from traders when standing at traffic lights.

Transport & Taxis Risk


Public transport is not considered safe enough for tourists. It is best to travel to Port Elizabeth by rental car or taxi. Taxis are reliable, always sit in the back seat. Make sure the taximeter is turned on. It’s safer than a cab called through a mobile application.

Pickpockets Risk


Picketing is not very common at port Elizabeth, but of course, it occurs. Watch your things, never leave them unattended. Do not wear attention-grabbing jewelry, and always have a minimum of cash in your wallet. Most often, cases of minor thefts occur in crowded markets or shopping centers.

Natural Disasters Risk


In the Port Elizabeth area, there is a wide range of natural and human-induced hazards that could potentially lead to disaster events. These include droughts, urban and rural fires, floods and dam failures, earthquakes and sinkholes, epidemics, storms, and spillages of hazardous waste and materials.

Mugging Risk


Port Elizabeth, like all South Africa region, is a dangerous city regarding risks of mugging and kidnapping of people. Urban areas are better avoided late at night, and it is recommended to travel in private cars or a taxi.

Terrorism Risk


Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in South Africa and in Port Elizabeth. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners, such as shopping areas in major cities.

Scams Risk


There is a lot of fraud in the city related to email newsletters and fake winnings. However, they rarely concern tourists. Be sure to buy tickets and tours only at licensed locations. Do not buy anything on the streets. And especially when standing in a traffic jam or at a traffic light - do not open the windows of the car to purchase any goods. Most often, it is used to get in your vehicle and commit a crime.

Women Travelers Risk


Despite the risk of attack, many women travel safely alone to Port Elizabeth. The risk depends on where you go and what you do. It is better not to appear on the streets at night, not to drive a car at night, not to hitchhike and not to sit out in bars.

So... How Safe Is Port Elizabeth Really?

Port Elizabeth has been officially rated as Africa’s safest city.

But rates of crime still moderate to high in here and it’s increasing last year’s.

Most crimes concern armed robberies, car stealing, vandalism, and corruption.

South African drivers are not amongst the best or most courteous, and you do need to be careful and observant when driving, cycling, or walking.

Check beforehand that the areas you plan to visit are safe.

It is not recommended hitchhiking, or accept or carry items for strangers.

High-quality tap water is available in Port Elizabeth.

Bottled mineral water, both sparkling and still, is readily available in most places.

Drinking water straight from rivers and streams could put you at risk of waterborne diseases.

In the city, you can not be afraid of contracting malaria; it’s a malaria-free city.

When moving by car, always make sure that it is closed and windows too.

It is strictly not recommended to travel around the city at night.

Never leave things in the car, lock it, and use guarded parking.

In Port Elizabeth, be as careful as you’d be in any other city at nighttime (don’t wander off into deserted areas), and you’ll be all right.

How Does Port Elizabeth Compare?

CitySafety Index
Port Elizabeth65
Cape Town43
Niagara Falls (Canada)87
Calgary (Canada)82
Buenos Aires (Argentina)60
Vancouver (Canada)82
Cordoba (Argentina)61
Toronto (Canada)81

Useful Information



Visitors to South Africa must obtain a visa from one of the South African diplomatic missions unless they come from one of the visa-exempt countries, in which case they get what is called a "Port of Entry Visa." Visitors who require a visa must apply in person and provide biometric data. A valid passport is a must.



The rand is the official currency of South Africa. The rand is subdivided into 100 cents. It has a sign: R; code: ZAR. The rand is legal tender in the Common Monetary Area between South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho, and Namibia. However, the last three countries do have their currencies pegged at par with the rand.



The best times to visit Port Elizabeth for ideal weather are November to April. Average temperatures in Port Elizabeth vary little and feel very enjoyable all year with a low chance of precipitation most of the year.



Port Elizabeth International Airport is an airport serving Port Elizabeth, a city in the Eastern Cape province in South Africa. It was formerly known as H. F. Verwoerd Airport. The airport is owned and operated by the Airports Company South Africa which also operates nine other airports around South Africa. The airport is located just 4 km from the city's central business district.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

The travel insurance policy is a must when visiting a foreign country. Make sure you got it before starting your journey, the customs officer may ask for it.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Port Elizabeth Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 22° C
Feb 22° C
Mar 21° C
Apr 19° C
May 17° C
Jun 15° C
Jul 15° C
Aug 15° C
Sep 16° C
Oct 18° C
Nov 19° C
Dec 21° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

South Africa - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Cape Town43
Port Elizabeth65

Where to Next?

7 Reviews on Port Elizabeth

  1. Unsafe

    Felt unsafe.. electricity goes off radomly for 2 hours or so. Muddy water out the taps. The cbd city centre taken over by vagrants. Very sad..Dare not go out at night and cant walk alone on beach front during day.. And the amount of plastic this place uses., hotels give you 2 water bottles a day as cant drink tap water..

    1. How sheltered is our life? Come on really? It’s the safest city in South Africa and your acting like a Karen that just left her Gated Community for the first time in 10 years.

      1. B
        Benny Pfalz says:

        Bronze, please listen to Portia, he’s telling the truth. I’ve been there. Electricity goes off for 2 hours and continues. So don’t walk at night.

      2. “It’s the safest city in South Africa”
        Unfortunately, that’s not saying much.

    2. V
      Vagabond says:

      Love it here

      Port Elizabeth is a wonderful city. I am an American that has living and studying here for 14 months and have had almost no trouble. Los Angeles is way more dangerous than PE. Yes, there is some petty crime here, but over all the city is safe and the people are very generous. You need to be aware of your surroundings and be smart about your safety. so don’t walk alone, especially at night, and don’t leave your possessions out like your phone or wallet when out in public. Load shedding has absolutely no effect on your safety, and if it bothered you then you are coming from a very privileged/sheltered background and need a reality check. The water is safe to drink when coming from a filtered tap. it may sometimes have a brown hue to it, but that is because they are not using chemicals like chlorine to bleach it. I have never been sick from using water out of the tap. there are also plenty of places to buy filtered water and bottle refill stations at the supermarket.

  2. S
    S Thomas says:


    We visited Port Elizabeth as a family and felt very uncomfortable and unsafe there. The city was very unkempt. We didn’t feel safe on the beach/waterfront either. It was a relief to leave.

  3. A
    Anonymous says:

    City İs really safe. MUGGING RISK : HIGH are you kidding me there is no mugging in port elizabeth uh

Port Elizabeth Rated 2.71 / 5 based on 7 user reviews.

Share Your Experience

Facebook Pinterest Review