The country's watersports capital, Port Elizabeth (pop. 237,000) is located at the eastern end of South Africa and a cheap hourlong flight from Cape Town. Base yourself in historic Richmond Hill, at the comfortable St. Phillips Bed and Breakfast (doubles from $35; stphillipsbnb.co.za), then make for the 62-degree waves of Algoa Bay. Soul Surfing offers private two-hour lessons for beginners ($35; soulsurfing.co.za). Positioned between the warm Indian Ocean and the chilly Atlantic, PE is an oceanic transition zone with two different environments. Which is to say it's a diver's paradise, home to leopard sharks and humpback whales. Winter (May) is the time to go, with visibility of 20 feet in the bay and 45 feet on the Atlantic side. Ocean Divers International leads day trips (from $25, plus equipment; odipe.co.za).
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