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East London, Eastern Cape
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East London in the Eastern Cape of South Africa is situated on the Buffalo River and is South Africa’s only river port.
Known as the Sunshine Coast this stretch of sweeping white sand, unspoilt and uncrowded is all about swimming, surfing and sun bathing. Of the three beaches within the city limits, Orient Beach is the closest to the city centre and is known for its gentler water and safe swimming and surfing. Nahoon Beach is also a favourite with surfers and is host to some national surfing competitions.
East London lies close to the Wild Coast and the Amatola Mountains further adding to its appeal as a holiday destination. Long hikes, horse trails, game farms or even more water sports like fishing or river paddling are available to visitors.east
Places to Visit
Things to do and see:
- Nahoon Beach
- Orient Beach
- Eastern Beach
- Gonubie Beach
- Lion Park
- East London Museum
- Gately House
- East London Zoo and Queens Park
- Anne Bryant Art Gallery
East London has plenty choices for accommodation from Hotels, small seaside resorts along the north coast leading up to the Wild Coast Sun as well as backpackers, caravan parks, game lodges, B&B’s and self-catering guest houses.
East London has rainfall in the summer months.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 15˚C and 27˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 9˚C and 22˚C.
There are Domestic flights into East London Airport on a daily basis. Hotel transfers, taxis and car rental companies are available for easy access around the area.
March – FNB Eastern Cape Wine Show: Spend an evening wine tasting and meeting wine producers.
The first vessel known to have visited it was the Centaurus, in 1688. This ship was sent up from the Cape to search for survivors of shipwrecks. On 7 February that year the Centaurus picked up 18 survivors from one of the frequent wrecks along this 'wild coast'. A year later a second rescue ship found two shipwrecked survivors.
The captains of both rescue ships reported favourably on the prospects of establishing a river port, but at the time there was no trade in the area.
In 1835 when the British annexed the coastal region after the Sixth Frontier War, Colonel Harry Smith rode to the river mouth and, subsequently, recommended that it be used for the landing of military supplies. As a result the pioneer George Rex sailed to the river with stores. The sand bar across its mouth prevented access, but stores were landed on the beach and the Union Jack hoisted on what is now called Signal Hill, on the north bank of the river. The name of Port Rex was given to the area.
In 1836 East London was founded by one of the 1820 Settlers, Lieutenant John Bailie who formed the town around the Buffalo River port of Port Rex.
During the early and mid-19th century East London served as a supply port for the British Settlers during their time of war with the Xhosa Nation. The existing port at the Buffalo River mouth began operating in 1870 and in 1873 construction began on a railway station and the East London Harbour and this rapidly accelerated the development into the thriving city of today. East London has become the second largest industrial centre in the province with the motor industry being the most dominant.
From our gallery
Inside East London
In 1857 soldiers disbanded from the British German Legion founded and named this quiet little rural centre which lay in the setting of a grass-covered hill, Berlin. They had fought for the British during the Seventh Frontier War and when peace was…More
King Phalo Airport
East London Airport in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa is situated 9 km from the city of East London and was renamed King Phalo Airport in February 2021. King Phalo Airport currently operates domestic only routes and with 20 to…More
Nahoon Beach is East London's most popular beach and is named after a local Xhosa chief. It is home to the East London Surf Life Saving Club with kilometres of un-crowded, un-polluted sand to the north and a rocky point to the south which has a…More
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