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Revision as of 12:03, 18 September 2009
This article is about the city in South Africa. For the East End of London in the United Kingdom, see London/East.
East London  is a City in the Eastern Cape in South Africa.
East London is situated on the east coast of South Africa, boasting the only deep water river harbour. Buffalo City Local Municipality incorporates East London, Bhisho and King William's Town, as well as the large townships of Mdantsane and Zwelitsha. and smaller surrounding towns too. Though the renaming is official most people still refer it still as East London. The East London Airport code is still ELS which references to the old naming. However the airport too will undergo a name change in the near future.
In 1938 the then curator of the town museum found an unusual fish in the catch of a local fishing vessel. The fish turned out to be a prehistoric Coelacanth, long thought to be extinct.
East London can easily be reached by car. The N2 highway connects East London to Port Elizabeth and Durban ; the N6 goes to Bloemfontein.
If you are coming from or going to Port Elizabeth you should consider taking the scenic R72 "Romantic Coast Road", which takes a bit longer, but offers spectacular views and some nice little coastal towns (such as Port Alfred).
South African Airways flies from East London to Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban, as well as to some smaller cities in the country. Local low-fare airlines 1Time and Kulula.com serve the airport as well. See also Discount airlines in Africa
The central train station is in the city centre, on the corner of Station and Terminus streets.
Shosholoza Meyl operates regular inter-city trains to Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Cape Town. You can also get to Kimberley, Pietermaritzburg and Durban (by changing trains in Bloemfontein), Port Elizabeth (by changing trains in Noupoort or Colesburg) and Mthatha (by changing trains in Amabele).
The Eastern Cape Department of Transport runs a daily train to Mthatha (previously called Umtata) via Amabele, this service is called "Kei Rail". Passengers are conveyed from East London station to Amabele (76 km north of East London) by bus. Trains leave early in the morning and the trip takes about 12 hours.
MetroRail operates commuter trains to some outlying suburbs of East London, with a reduced service over weekends.
The disused railway line to King William's Town is being upgraded. Passenger services should commence sometime in 2009.
Translux and Greyhound operate regular bus services to all bigger South African cities.
Unfortunately East London lacks a public transport system, so getting around is difficult if you don't have a car. There are many Car Rental Companies available, 3 of which have branches at the airport.
- East Londoners are fortunate enough to have access to an amazing coast line with white sand beaches and excellent surfing spots like Nahoon Reef. "Vaalies" (as visitors from Gauteng, formerly Transvaal, are called) flock down to East London for sun, sea and sand over the Christmas/New Year and Easter periods.
- The City Hall, in Oxford Street, is one of the proudest landmarks the City has to offer which hasn't been vandalized.
- The East London Harbour is the only natural deep-water port South Africa has. There are restaurants along the waterfront, like the Ballyhoo Bistro, where you can enjoy a very affordable meal with a view of the harbour and the moored yachts right before you. The Ballyhoo offers river cruises and caters for parties and general events.
- Visit the museum. It houses the first Coelacanth that was caught. It is described as a living fossil and the zoological find of the last century. It provides a fantastic view of the historical happenings of the Border Area through all the battles and discoveries.
If you like dancing,Gonubie farmers hall is the place.
You should stick around till the last or sometimes the first (see newspapers) Saturday of each month. That is when you could head over to Gonubie farmers hall, you'll need an extra pair of dancing shoes!
Eat & Drink
Must try! The Guidos beach front should be visited while here.
- The Thatch, 37 Flamingo Crescent, Beacon Bay, ☎ +27 (0)43 748-3672, . A very good guesthouse overlooking the Indian Ocean. It is not far from the town and beautifully situated. It is four star graded, but rates are quite low. From R245pps.
- Heading in the direction of Cape Town, you will travel along Settlers Way through the semi-industrial area of the West Bank. Settlers Way becomes the R72 again as you pass the airport through the traffic lights.
- If leaving toward Durban, the Wild Coast of the Transkei lies before you. The Kei Bridge marks the entry into what used to be the Transkei.
- Stutterheim is the first small town one encounters following the N6 toward Bloemfontein. Take the North-East Expressway from Fleet Street or Pearce Street off-ramp.