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Content and photos courtesy of Bufallo City Tourism

Basic information

  • Area: 169 km² (65 sq mi)
  • Calling Code: 043
  • Currency: South African Rand (ZAR)
  • Population (EST): 267,007
  • Official language: Xhosa, English, Afrikaans
  • Time Zone: UTC/GMT +2

10 Reasons to Visit East London

1. The Eastern Cape of South Africa is where one will find East London, featuring all the culture, nature, dining, and adventure than travelers come to expect from the Cape's most popular cities. Beginning a trip to East London at the Amalinda Nature Reserve is a perfect place to start. Established in 1968, the reserve has a delightful array of vegetation and a peaceful section of coastal forest.

2. The East London Aquarium and Whale Viewing Deck offer visitors a taste of the high seas, both from above and below. The Aquarium opened it doors in 1931, and today it's home to most species of fish that one can find in East London's waters as well as some spectacular shows. The displays are charming and unique, including the Cape pigmy clawed lobsters, which can not be found in any other aquarium.

3. To some, East London is known as Buffalo City. It happens to reside on one of the most gorgeous stretches of beach in the world. The warm, rich waters of the Indian Ocean are constantly kept at a pleasing temperature thanks to the sub- tropical weather. This makes for a satisfying beach climate year-round. Buffalo City truly boasts of the most "unspoilt beaches" in the world.

4. East London is a small city, but of great historical value to South Africa's Eastern Cape Province. It has served as a great river port through the years. Today the stunning East London City Hall stands as a testament to the city's value. Built in 1897 in an iconic Victorian style, the City Hall was funded by the success that East London experienced in exporting wool.

5. There are a number of parks and gardens preserved in South Africa, but the East London Coast Nature Reserve is one of the most important. Taking-up a stretch of pristine coast and inland state forest from the Great Kei River all the way up to the Tylomnga River, the reserve is actually broken-up into 10 smaller reserves that protect native vegetation from alien vegetation, thus preserving the ecosystem.

6. South Africa is a phenomenal location for golfing, and the East London Golf Course is a shining example of why golf enthusiasts hold the destination in such high esteem. It's a traditional course of high pedigree, and offers an unforgettable view of the Indian Ocean and Nahoon Reef. There's also opportunities to view a wild family of Impala while on the course, as well as a variety of birdlife. It's a great spot for golfing professionals, newbies, or businessmen looking to relax and unwind.

7. The East London Natural History Museum is famous for one important reason: the coelacanth. Over 400 million years ago, this prehistoric fish lived in the Indian Ocean and was believed to be extinct until 1938 when the fish was re- discovered. The discovery of the live coelacanth happened in one of East London's harbours, and is considered one of the most important zoological discoveries of our time.

8. With all the stunning nature reserves, museums, and outdoor activities East London has to offer, the weary traveler needs to take a break and take-in the coastal view. This is where Buccaneers Beachfront Pub comes into play. The deck is one of the best places to sit and dine along the coast. The Pub is famous for hosting some major parties over the years, with some great live music and festivities. Businessmen, tourists, and families all find something on the menu to please; from toasted cheese and gourmet burgers to Dutch Fillet and tender meat off the grill.

9. Racial relations play a tremendous role in South Africa's history, and Bantu Steven Biko is one of the most respected leaders of the Black Consciousness Movement. Considered a true martyr in South Africa's struggle against apartheid, Biko died in police custody in 1977. Today there is the Steve Biko Garden of Remembrance, paying homage to all those that have contributed to the fight against apartheid.

10. No trip to East London could be complete without partaking in some form of water sport; whether it be fishing, sailing, surfing, or snorkeling. The beaches are pure white, and are tremendously quiet and unpolluted. Water sports can be enjoyed year-round in East London due to the perfect temperatures, and the lagoons and river mouths are ideal for fisherman and scuba divers. !

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