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Hotels in East London (Eastern Cape, South Africa)

Hotels in East London

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EAST LONDON: GATEWAY TO THE SUNSHINE COAST

East London is a city on the east coast of South Africa, situated in the Eastern Cape Province. It lies on the Indian Ocean coast and has the country’s only river port. It is affectionately known as the Buffalo City and enjoys a sub-tropical climate, which makes it a very popular destination for tourists from around the globe. East London offers you an honest sense of hospitality and a laid-back style of living. The locals will make you feel right at home and more than welcome. The city hosts a few hotels and a wonderful array of bed and breakfasts such as Palmieros Bed and Breakfast, as well as self-catering establishments. Overseas visitors will find great deals and specials in East London, as well as friendly South African service.

The Buffalo City is at the northern end the “Sunshine Coast” – a 300 kilometre stretch of pristine coastline along the Indian Ocean. This stretch is renowned for many kilometres of breathtaking, unpolluted and uncrowded beaches. Thousands of years ago, the banks of the Buffalo River and this shoreline were inhabited by early man. This was confirmed by the Nahoon Footprints discovered in 1964 at Bats Cave near Nahoon. These fossilized human footprints are about 200,000 years old – the oldest fossilized human footprints in the world.

WHAT TO SEE AND DO

East London is renowned for having some of South Africa’s most beautiful beaches. Nahoon Beach is the city’s most popular, and home to the East London Surf Live Saving Club. With its gorgeous sandy coastline to the north and a rocky bluff to the south, Nahoon Beach is known throughout the international surfing community for spectacular waves and hosting many surfing events. The Nahoon River flows into the sea and creates an estuary, providing safe swimming for all. It is also a great spot for fishing.

Eastern Beach is one of the most central beaches in East London, and well known for its fantastic surfing conditions. There are often sand banks that build up along the shore, which create fun areas for the kids to explore. This beach offers you wonderful facilities like changing rooms and take-away kiosks.

Orient Beach can be found at the southern end of the Esplanade in the suburb of Quigney. It’s very close to your hotel, guesthouse and the shops on the Esplanades. The surf here is protected by the breakwaters of the harbour and quite gentle, providing safe bathing for all. There are also two large swimming pools with slides, surrounded by lush green lawns and great restaurants – a perfect place for some fun in the sun.

East London’s star attraction is Gonubie Beach. It is about 25 kilometres north of the city on the Gonubie River. This beach has achieved Blue Flag status – a prestigious, international award given to beaches that meet stringent standards in environmental protection, facilities provided, and safety equipment and personnel on hand. Enjoy a long scenic walk along the wooden boardwalk that connects the main parking lot with this gorgeous beach. Gonubie is conveniently connected to East London via the N2 highway, which makes it just a twenty minute drive from your accommodation in the city.

Feel like getting out of the sun for a while? Why not head to the East London Aquarium? This aquarium officially opened its doors in 1931, which makes it the oldest public aquarium in Southern Africa. With large fish tanks and beautiful lighting displays, this is the perfect place for some family fun. The aquarium also boasts an eleven meter high platform that sits right above the surf and provides an excellent spot from which to view magnificent Southern Right whales, Humpback whales and Bottlenose dolphins.

How about getting up close and personal with Africa’s big cats? East London’s Lion Park is just 5 kilometres from the city and home to lions, tigers, cheetahs, giraffe, crocodiles, white camels, zebra, antelope and a variety of birds.

Feel like driving a little further to see some wild animals? You’re in luck! The Eastern Cape is blessed with a large diversity of wildlife, and about twelve national and private game reserves and parks. The biggest and oldest of which is the Addo Elephant National Park. This 360,000 hectare park is about 200 kilometres from East London and home to 450 elephants, black rhino, cape buffalo, lion, leopard and a variety of antelope.

The East London Museum was established in 1921, and is considered to be one of the most interesting natural and cultural history museums in South Africa. Its finest exhibit is the type specimen of the Coelacanth – a fish that was discovered in 1938 in East London, 66 million years after it was believed to have gone extinct. It is the most endangered order of animals in the world, as there are only two species of Coelacanth left and both are threatened. Other museum highlights include the excavation of a large fossil reptile skull and skeleton (Kannemeyria Simocephalus); an informative display of maritime history of the area; fossilized human footprints (Nahoon Footprints) of about 200,000 years old; and the recent dating of the Hofmeyr skull at 36,000 years.

WHERE TO STAY

Whether you’re looking for cheap accommodation, a 5 star hotel or lodge, East London has something for your specific needs and budget. There are only a few hotel options in the city, but a large variety of b&b and self-catering options are available. Enjoy the best of South Africa’s warm hospitality and the Buffalo City’s relaxed way of life.

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