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East London

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Revision as of 07:12, 12 February 2008 by (talk) (By train)

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East London

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A statue in East London

East London [1] 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.

Get in

By car

East London can easily be reached by car. The N2 highway connect East London to Port Elizabeth and Durban and Bloemfontein by the N6.

If you are coming or going to/from Port Elizabeth you should consider taking the scenic R72 "Romantic Coast Road", which takes a bit longer, but offers some spectacular views and some nice little coast towns.


  • East London-Umtata: 235km
  • East London-Durban: 676km
  • East London-Cape Town: 1100km
  • East London-Johannesburg: 990km

By plane

South African Airways flies from East London to Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban, ae well as to some smaller cities in the country. Local low-fare airlines 1Time and serve the airport as well. See also Discount airlines in Africa

By train

The central train station is in the city centre, on the corner of Station and Terminus streets.

Spoornet 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) or to Port Elizabeth (by changing trains in Noupoort or Colesburg).

The disused railway line to Mthatha (previously called Umtata) via Amabele has been upgraded and a full passenger service between East London and Mthatha is due to begin sometime during 2008. This route is called "Kei Rail".

MetroRail operates commuter trains to some outlying suburbs of East London, with a reduced service over weekends.

By bus

Translux and Greyhound operate regular bus services to all bigger South African cities.

Get around

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 an amazing coast lines with white sand beaches and brilliant surf spots like Nahoon Reef. The "Vaalies", as the visitors from the the old Transvaal are affectionately refered to as, folk down to East London for the Sun, Sea and Sand.
  • 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 cater 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.


Eat & Drink


The Thatch is a very good guesthouses, overlooking the Indian Ocean. It is not far from the town and beautifully situated. It is four star graded, but rates are quite low.

Get out

  • 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.
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