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East London Snapshot

There's little reason to hang around Buffalo City (aka East London) for a full blown holiday. This urban hub does however have a few claims to fame. Besides Stuttgart, it's the only place on the planet where Mercedes Benz is built. (Didn't know that, did you now?) The city has also produced a couple of SA sports greats, among them cricketer Mark Boucher, Mark Andrews (rugby) and our 1979 Formula One champ, Jody Sheckter. 

Trivia aside, East London, with its colonial British/German past, is generally a pass-through type of place for travellers heading towards the Wild Coast. Best thing about the town is its surrounding beaches, made even better by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean; extending for miles either side of the Buffalo River are uncrowded stretches of white sand, bays and lagoons.

With easy-going vibe, small town atmosphere, botanical gardens, an aquarium, a scattering of decent restaurants, you may find that East London is more than just a gateway to the Wild Coast.

Things To Do

  • Hit the beach. The city’s best beaches are Gonubie and its great tidal pool and lagoon, Nahoon Beach, a surfers paradise with wild waves and kite surfing options, and Eastern Beach, which is central and offers a few restaurant options. Orient Beach is also centrally located and great for swimming.

  • Visit the museum. With a strong focus on marine discovery, mostly centered around the Coelacanth; this prehistoric fish was thought to be extinct until one was caught near East London in 1938. This discovery led to further research and an estimate that 200 to 300 still exist in the Indian Ocean.
  • Drop in at the country’s oldest aquarium. A great outing for the kids, a penguin colony and shark tank are among the highlights.
  • Art lovers should visit the well-known Anne Bryant Art Gallery. Housed in an elegant century-old manor house, the gallery holds a collection of 20th-century South African paintings.
Getaways in and around East London
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Heartwood Homestead

East London, Eastern Cape

Off-grid, organic farm with a cottage overlooking the Gunube River - 15 km from Gunube

This must rank as the getaway with the lightest carbon footprint ever! Everything about this gorgeous spot is centered around being gentle on the planet, from being completely off-grid to making use o...

Rate Guide

From R690 nightly per cottage

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