Eastern Cape : Wild Coast : East London
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 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.
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, ae 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.
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), Port Elizabeth (by changing trains in Noupoort or Colesburg) and Mthatha (by changing trains in Amabele).
The disused railway line to Mthatha (previously called Umtata) via Amabele has been upgraded and a full passenger service between Amabele and Mthatha began operating on 1 March 2008. This route is called "Kei Rail". At present trains only run on weekends, with passengers being conveyed from East London station to Amabele (76 km north of East London) by bus. It is envisaged that from May 2008 trains will also operate during the week, not only weekends.
MetroRail operates commuter trains to some outlying suburbs of East London, with a reduced service over weekends.
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.
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.