No traffic, subtropical weather and endless beach days make East London an unbeatable city for holiday makers and residents alike. In no particular order we give you some of the best things to do in and around this balmy river-meets-sea city.
1. The best milkshakes in the world at Friesland Milk Bar
Milkshakes and Memories courtesy of Laura Brooks at These Walking Boots
The corner shop in Tennyson street sells the best milkshakes in the world as thousands of fans will attest. Ex-East Londoners still make the pilgrimage back to the original store for bottled happiness. 14 Tennyson Street, Quigney, East London and also at Hemingways Mall. Call 043 722 3260.
2. Catch some sun on Gonubie beach
Courtesy of Neville Bailey
Gonubie beach is a beautiful blue flag beach perfect for boardwalk strolling, kayaking and beach runs. Take a dip in the tidal pool. Riverside Road, Gonubie, East London.
3. Watch out for dolphins on the esplanade
Dolphins at dawn courtesy of Tim Abbott via Flickr
No visit to the sunshine coast would be complete without dolphin spotting on Esplanade Street, Quigney, East London.
4. Be wowed by the cliffs at Morgan Bay
Morgans Bay Cliffs courtesy of What’s on in and around East London
This small hamlet north of East London is a favourite for family holidays. Head to the cliffs for sundowners in summer.
5. Drop in on Lavender Blue Organic Market for a farmhouse breakfast
Courtesy of Lavender Blue Market Facebook page
Order their delicious coffee and indulge in a big farmhouse breakfast then stock up on fresh flowers and veggies. Ocean Way Drive, Old Transkei Road, Beacon Bay, call 043 732 1172. Open from Tuesday to Friday from 8am to 3:30pm and Saturday from 7:30am to 1pm. Sunday and public holidays from 8am to 1pm.
6. Visit one of the largest Coca Cola collections anywhere
Courtesy of David Schexnaydre via Flickr
Peter Bruton has a fascination with coke memorabilia. Name any Coca Cola related item and he’s got it. He displays the merchandise in a drug store cabinet as a reference to the origins of coke, sold as a health tonic in Atlanta Georgia. To see his extensive collection just give Peter a call on 082 967 8585.
7. Gourmet food with a view at Grazia’s Fine Food and Wine
Courtesy of Grazia Fine Food and Wine
What about linguine and bubbly, or the famous and filling pork fillet stuffed with spinach and mozzarella cheese? Upper Esplanade, Aquarium road, Quigney, East London. Call 043 722 2009.
Uploaded by Hakon Thingstad on Wikipedia Media
This lovely laidback little village has a lot to offer with pristine beaches, swimming, low-cost accommodation and beach walks.
9. Listen to jazz at Imbizo African Cuisine and Jazz Cafe
Courtesy of Imbizo African Cuisine & Jazz Cafe Facebook Page
Set in a miniature castle, this happening spot will have you dancing far into the night. 22 Curry Street, Quigney, East London. Call 043 722 0155.
10. East London claims the last remaining Dodo egg
Courtesy of Heather Costaras on Living Against The Flow
The East London Museum hosts a 400 year old dodo egg, the last remaining complete specimen in the world. The celebrated naturalist Dr Marjorie Coutenay-Latimer, discoverer of the Coelacanth and curator of the East London museum, inherited the egg. There has been some debate as to whether it is real or not, visit the museum to find out more. 319 Oxford Street, East London. Call 043 743 0686.
11. Elephant experience at Inkwenkwezi Private Nature Reserve
Inkwenkwezi Reserve courtesy of Whats on and around East London Facebook Page
Malaria-free wildlife reserves in the Eastern Cape are soaring in popularity. Inkwenkwezi offers extensive wildlife experiences, don’t miss the sunset game drive or walking with elephants. Schafli Rd, East London. Call 043 734 3234.
12. Beach break cafe at Nahoon beach
Nahoon Beach Café courtesy of 14onbeach.co.za
A Nahoon beach institution. Catch a wave then some brekkie. Bottom of Beach Rd, Nahoon, East London. Call 076 787 1136
13. East London nostalgia at the Windmill Roadhouse
Courtesy of Windmill Roadhouse
Second to Friesland’s you can’t visit East London without paying your respects to good old Windmill Roadhouse. Breakfast and brunch. Moore St, East London. 043 722 9208.
14. Nahoon Footprints – The world’s oldest human trace fossil footprints of their kind
Courtesy of BC Tourism
Bat Cave near Nahoon Reef was the site of this exciting discovery. The child foot prints were dated to 124 000 years ago, making them the oldest human footprints of their kind. After the roof of the cave collapsed they have been preserved in the East London Museum. 319 Oxford Street. Call 043 743 0686.
15. 3 Silos MTB Adventure Trails
Choose from a 10, 15 and 20 km track with some tricky descents. Try Lavender Blue track for an easier route. There’s an entry fee of R10 -R20, use the honesty box system.
16. Surf the Nahoon Reef
Courtesy of Mark Andrews via Dispatch Live
The wave quality here is world class with a wave as long as 500m on a good day. Some pro Hawaiian surfers claim that the Nahoon reef as the closest wave to Sunset Beach outside of Hawaii. Rent boards from the Sugarshack (or sign up for lessons form experienced surfers, get a group lesson from R180).
17. The Gonubie River Picnic Spot
Idyll courtesy of Megan Skelly via Flickr
This is a great place for a riverside picnic under the trees and for bird watching. Find it at 16th Avenue in Gonubie (behind the Spar in Gonubie Main Road). Free entrance, weekdays only, 8am to 3.30pm.
18. Coffee at Roxy Coffee Shop
Courtesy of Roxy’s Café Facebook Page
Don’t miss Roxy’s spicy apple cinnamon cake, milkshakes and quality coffee. 2 Chamberlain Road, Berea, East London.
19. Sundowners and ribs at Buccaneers Sports Bar and Grill
Delicious flame-grilled basted ribs with sea views and cold beers.
20. Flaming Coral Trees in Winter
Bonza Bay Coral Trees courtesy of What’s on in and around East London
East London looks beautiful every month of the year, especially in late winter, early spring, when the bright coral trees flower.
21. Fish from your tent at Areena River Resort
Areena courtesy of What’s on in and around East London
Go on a lazy river cruise, fish from your tent on their river camp site, spot wildlife and do a short hike to the beach if you’re feeling energetic. Areena Riverside Resort, Jikileza Route. Call 043 734 3055.
22. Pizza at Monsters Family Restaurant
Monsters Family Pizza courtesy of What’s on in and around East London
Enjoy monster pizzas with a monster view! The Village Centre, Schaffli Road, East Coast Resorts, East London. Call 043 737 4309.
23. Monday Movie Nights at Hemingways
Hemmingway Movies via Showme.co.za
Get a large popcorn, 500ml soda and movie ticket for only R55 on a Monday. Catch the latest blockbusters in the spacious theatres at Hemingways Mall. Cnr Western Avenue and Two Rivers Drive, East London. Call 043 721 3180.
24. Wild Coast Horseback Adventures
Wild Coast Horseback Adventures courtesy of What’s on in and around East London
What better way to see the wild coast but on horse back. Choose from a variety of adventures- game viewing on horseback, their full day beach ride across the Kei River and the 1 night 2 day Trennery’s Trail, they also offer short rides that are easy on the pocket. The 1 ½ hour Kei Mouth Beach Ride costs R250.
25. Sunset cruise in the harbour
East London Yacht Club courtesy of What’s on in and around East London
Southern Cross offer river and harbour cruises. Let them ferry you out of the harbour and down the pretty Buffalo River for a one-hour cruise. 082 938 6275.
26. Igoda Mouth Resort
Igoda Mouth Resort courtesy of What’s on in and around East London
Just 10 km from the East London Airport, the Igoda river resort is a tranquil spot near the river mouth You’ll be well-positioned to spot fisheagles, kingfishers, Steppe buzzards, owls, hornbills, African oreoles and swallows. You can rent a 4 person cottage for R590 in low season. Igoda Mouth Resort, East London. Call 043 736 7017.
27. Emerald Vale Brewery
Courtesy of Emerald Vale Brewery Facebook Page
This small craft brewery and restaurant on the Wild Coast Jikeleza Route in the Eastern Cape is waiting to be discovered. Book tours by calling 043 738 5397. Open on Wednesdays from 11:00 to 19:00 and Sundays from 11:00 to 19:00.
28. Great rock climbing spots
Courtesy of What’s on in and around East London
The Morgan Bay cliffs offer excellent climbing routes but there are many secret climbing spots around East London known only to the locals. Contact the Eastern Cape section of the Mountain Climbing club to join them on an expedition. Contact form here.
29. Hood Point Light House
Photo courtesy of Andre Oosthuizen via What’s on in and around East London
Historical Hood Point lighthouse was built in 1895 and has saved many ships from falling foul of that tempestuous sea. Hood St. Call 043 700 3056.
30. Golden Shamrock Pies
Photo via Shamrock Pies Facebook Page
An ex-East Londoner let us in on the secret of the flaky-pastry goodness of Shamrock pies. Especially the pepper steak! Manufactured in East London since 1973, the brand is as strong as ever. Plumbago Road. Call 043 742 5321.
31. East London Sunsets
Photo via What’s on in and around East London
And who can forget East London’s fiery sunsets. Purple, orange and pink streaks as dolphins trace the horizon.
Let us know your favourite spots in East London and surrounds in the comments below.