Where to Stay - South Africa

East London Travel Guide (Eastern Cape)

East London

East London lies just to the South of the Wild Coast and close to the Amatola Mountains. The proximity of these makes East London a popular destination. The people here are very friendly and the climate is generally good all year round. popular suburbs of East London to stay in are Vincent Heights and Gonubie.

This is a perfect holiday destination for all the family with sand-boarding on the massive dunes at Bonza Beach to visiting the lion cubs at Lion Park. The Nahoon River is one of East London's most famous landmarks and popular for sunset boat cruises and fishing. Close to the bridge that separates Nahoon suburb with Beacon Bay there is a hidden little gem of a Nahoon River picnic spot. The Nahoon Reef is also a popular surfing spot and has even held surfing competitions. Take a walk along the boardwalk that links the Nahoon Beach with the Nahoon Reef area. From the elevated position the boardwalk gives great 180 degree views across the bay and on a clear day you can see the Nahoon Reef clearly.

The Lion Park is situated just off the N6 road to Stutterheim about 5km out of East London. It is open Tuesdays to Wednesdays (weather permitting) from 09h00 to 17h00 with last admissions at 16h00. It is worth phoning ahead of time to see whether they have any lion cubs: Contact: +27 (043) 730 7161.

If the weather is not perfect then you could always visit the natural history museum which has the only Dodo egg in existence. So with these and the aquarium, the botanical gardens and heaps of water sports this really is a place not to be missed.

East London is well equipped with shopping facilities and one of the best places to go is the Hemmingways Mall which has shops spread out over two levels, a food court and a cinema. There is plenty of parking and there is even a casino here.

Gonubie is just 8km outside of East London on the N2 road to Durban and has a lovely Blue Flag beach. When the tide goes out here the natural lagoon is popular with families with young children. You can also find Saturday flea markets and craft fairs here.

The airport at East London provides easy access from various other airports in South Africa like Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg (OR Tambo), Cape Town and Durban.

East London also produces Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The first production started in East London in 1994. The current C-Class is the now on its 3rd generation produced in East London in the Eastern Cape. The plant in East London has also been exporting saloons since 2000 to right-hand drive markets. Since 2007, the plant now also exports to the USA (left-hand vehicles).

East London is also home to one of the oldest golf clubs in South Africa at the East London Golf Course which is located at 22 Glenagles Road in the Bunkers Hill suburb of East London.

Hiking and Walking in East London
The Eastern Cape is well known for its challenging walks and hikes but for a couple of easier more casual walks then we recommend the Dassie Trail and the Umtiza Nature Reserve Trail.

Umtiza Nature Reserve Trail - There are three walking trails available starting at 1.5km in length, then 2.5km or the longer 6km walk. The longer trail is worth the effort to enjoy this real birding paradise where you can expect to see anything from 30 to 40 different bird species. The longer walk is likely to take you about 2-3 hours. Toilet facilities and picnic facilities are to be found by the car park near the conservation office. Groups interested in walking any of these trails should contact the Umtiza Nature Reserve office on (+27 (0)43 736 9909) prior to embarking on a walk.

Dassie Trail - The easy 1.8km Dassie Trail in the Nahoon Estuary Nature Reserve starts at the Visitor Centre and takes you along a boardwalk for most of the way. The walk will take you through forest area and onto mudflats with information boards dotted about. Entrance is free and don't forget to look out for the Narina TRogan but don't blame us if you don't see it!

Places to eat in East London

Grazia Restaurant - probably one of the best restaurants in East London. Located on Upper Esplenade Beachfront Grazia serves delicious fine-dining food accompanied with an excellent selection of wine. Good service with a great atmosphere. Nice outside deck for those warm summer evenings. Contact: +27 (0)43 722 2009

Two Dogs Bistro - a successful restaurant where the owners are also the chefs. A fine dining experience with both indoor and outdoor seating. Located on the corner of the N2 and Bonza Bay Road in Beacon Bay the restaurant is open Tuesday to Saturdays for lunch between 12h00 and 14h30 and for dinner between 18h30 and 22h00. Contact: +27 (0)87 350 4382

Sprouts Bistro Wine Bar Deli Restaurant - quirky, stylish restaurant with a cool vibe that is popular with those in the 'know'. Book ahead to ensure your table however the hosts are more than happy to try and accommodate you where they can. There is inside and outside seating and a menu with plenty of delicious bistro-style food to choose from. Located at 11 Beach Road, Nahoon they are open for Breakfast from 07h00 to 14h00, lunch from 11h30 to 14h00 and dinner from 18h30 to 21h30. Contact: +27 (0)43 735 3841

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Take the Sunshine Route through the Eastern Cape