East London Quick Travel Guide
The Eastern Cape city of East London or Oos-Londen in Afrikaans is South Africa’s only river port city and is the gateway to the stunning Wild Coast. East London has one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline of the Eastern Cape. Long white sandy beaches and beautifully clear azure waters make East London and the surrounding areas a Mecca for surfers and water sports enthusiasts from all over the world and it is a great holiday destination for those looking to experience the relaxed beach lifestyle. With its sub-tropical climate, East London is also a little warmer than other Eastern Cape areas meaning that many of the water sports can be enjoyed year round.
Anyone who likes water sports, warm weather and a relaxed atmosphere. Good for families because of the many beaches and family oriented activities
, there is also a good number of bars and restaurants
for singles and couples.
Any time of year is good to visit East London because of its sub-tropical climate
, meaning it stays warm for most of the year. Summer in East London (Dec-Mar) does tend to see more rain, but it is still hot and sunny for the most part.
How long to spend in East London will depend on what you want to do. If you are just visiting East London itself we would suggest 3 days is a good amount of time to explore the small city and enjoy a day on the beach. If you want to take part in some of the activities
in the surrounding areas such as sand boarding and the variety of water sports, maybe allow a couple more days. If you are planning to stop in East London and then explore the Wild Coast we would recommend a couple of days for East London and a good 5-7 days for the Wild Coast.
- Swimming, sailing, water-skiing, wind surfing, boating and diving – East London is a water sports Mecca and a great place to enjoy these activities.
- Hit the beach – they are un-spoilt and un-crowded.
- Visit the Aquarium and Queens Park Zoo for a good family day out.
- See the Nahoon fossil prints. These ancient footprints are found in Bats Cave on Nahoon Beach and are the oldest homo-sapien footprints known to man at almost 200,000 years old!
- Head out to Bonza Bay And the sand dunes and try your hand at sand boarding.
- Visit the Amatola Mountains for great hiking and mountain biking.
East London Full Travel Guide (for those who need a little more detail)
Eastern Cape’s East London or Buffalo City as it is affectionately known is South Africa’s only river port city. The gateway to South Africa’s Wild Coast, East London is situated on both the Buffalo and Nahoon Rivers and many say East London has one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline of Southern Africa. Long white sandy beaches and beautifully clear azure waters make East London and the surrounding areas a Mecca for surfers and water sports enthusiasts from all over the world and it is a great holiday destination for those looking to experience one of nature’s true beauty spots.
East London enjoys a sub-tropical climate and temperatures rarely fall into single figures, even in winter. One of the main attractions of this extremely laid back city has to be its stunning un-crowded, un-spoilt and un-polluted beaches, which stretch for miles and are lapped by the waves of the warm Indian Ocean. Swimming, sailing, water-skiing, wind surfing, boating and diving can be enjoyed all year round, and the river mouths and lagoons make the area a fantastic destination for fishermen. The nearby Amatola Mountains are strikingly beautiful and great for hiking and mountain biking.
How to get to East London
East London has its own domestic airport
and there are regular flights from other cities in South Africa. Check out our Eastern Cape airports
page for more information.
East London is easily accessed by road and is about a 3 hour drive north from Port Elizabeth
. It is worth hiring a car if you are going to be in the East London area for a few days or intend to explore more of the Eastern Cape as this is by far the easiest way to get around.
When to go to East London
East London and much of the northern coastal area of the Eastern Cape enjoys a sub-tropical climate. Temperatures are rarely in single figures even in winter and East London consistently enjoys an average 6-8 hours of sunshine a day, so any time of year is good to visit East London. Summers are wetter than winter and the number of rainy days is at its highest in January and February, although temperatures are also high at this time of year. We would suggest visiting East London in April when it is usually still a pleasant 20 something degrees Celsius and the rain has eased off.
Things to do in East London
East London City itself offers a wealth of things to do for the whole family. Below are a few ideas to get you on your way.
- Take to the seas to partake in the literally hundreds of water sports on offer – sailing, diving, fishing, boating... The list is almost endless.
- Perhaps a trip to East London’s Natural History Museum or Aquarium or a visit to The Queens Park Zoo and Botanical Gardens will keep the family entertained.
- Visit nearby Bonza Bay’s massive sand dunes and try your hand at sand boarding.
- For those more interested in nature - see the lion cubs at East London’s Lion Park.
- East London’s rich heritage provides history buffs with a few options. A visit to the German Settlers Museum is a must for anyone with an interest in the 19th century European colonisation of South Africa and there are plenty of examples of classic colonial architecture to be seen.
- For those with an interest more prehistoric, the Nahoon fossil prints have to be one of the most fascinating attractions around East London. These ancient footprints found in Bats Cave on Nahoon Beach are the oldest homo sapien footprints known to man at almost 200,000 years old!
Whatever your preferences for a great holiday, the Eastern Cape city of East London certainly has a great range of things to do
Eating out in East London
There is a reasonable range of East London restaurants
to choose from and you will generally find a good restaurant to suit any budget.
Accommodation in East London
East London is a pretty small place and there aren’t hundreds of hotels and B&Bs to choose from, however there is a good choice of East London accommodation
to suit most types of traveller.