East London’s beautiful beaches are a huge draw for visitors, but if you think that’s all the city has to offer, you’re in for many pleasant surprises.
East London beaches and surrounds
Why you should visit: In the city, north of the CBD, Nahoon Beach is a favourite with sun-seeking locals year-round. Nahoon Beach is situated on a large lagoon, perfect for young kids to splash in the calm waters. The beach is also popular with surfers and you’ll find many a fisherman settled for the day at the Nahoon River Mouth. Just 30 minutes north of the city is the Blue Flag Gonubie Beach.
Beyond the city limits, Cove Rock, Igoda and Kidds Beach, are also popular and easy to access. East London is the southern gateway to the Wild Coast, so take the time to plan a road trip to explore the beaches of Chintsa, Morgan Bay and Kei Mouth. Drive to the coast during the day, as many roads are potholed or gravel and livestock and other animals are common.
Mpongo Private Game Reserve
Why you should visit: Another hidden treasure game reserve is 35km north-west of East London. At the Mpongo Private Game Reserve, enjoy guided safaris, self-drives or a meal at the restaurant watching hippos in the water. Overnight visitors can choose from the luxurious River or Huberta Lodge.
How to get there: Situated near Macleantown District, N6 National Road, 40km from the East London Airport.
How much does it cost: Enquire for bookings and information.
The East London Museum
Why you should visit: Established in 1921, the museum is one of the country’s must-see natural history museums, renowned for housing one particular, rather scary looking specimen; the coelacanth. It was believed to be extinct for more than 80 million years, until one unlucky specimen was caught in the Chalumna River near East London, in 1938.
How to get there: Find the museum on Oxford St, Belgravia.
How much does it cost: R25 per adult.
Areena Riverside Resort
Why you should visit: For the past 28 years, Areena Riverside Resort has been beloved by Eastern Cape children and adults. Situated on the banks of the Kwelera River, the resort offers back-to-basics accommodation and an adventure centre. Here, everyone feels like a kid again. Camping, abseiling, quad biking, zip lining, paintball and Segway tours keep the adventurous entertained while the stunning river and beach offer up a host of water experiences.
How to get there: 23km east of East London, at the start of the Wild Coast.
How much does it cost: Visit http://www.areenaresort.com for activity pricing.
Avalon Market, Kidd’s Beach
Why you should visit: An ideal morning trip from East London, the Avalon Market in Kidd’s Beach, has become the place to be on the first Sunday of every month. Browse the many stalls selling handmade goodies and, when tummies start to grumble, fill up at the many delicious food, craft beer and gin stalls. There’s usually live entertainment too.
The market is open from 9:00 until 14:00.
How to get there: Find the market at the corner of the R72 and R347, just outside of Kidd’s Beach. It’s about a 20-minute drive from the city.
How much does it cost: Entrance is free. Check the market’s Facebook page for details: https://www.facebook.com/AvalonAtKiddsBeach/.
Horse riding on the beach
Why you should visit: One way to truly appreciate the tranquil wilderness of Kidd’s Beach is to saddle up and hit the beach on horseback. The Brycedale Equestrian Academy is run by an experienced local, Tarryn McLaren, who offers guided beach rides. Suitable for all ages, from children to adults, and all riding levels (beginners welcome), beach rides last from one to two hours. Take in the scenery riding from Cosy Corner beach to Kidd’s Beach and back through the farmlands. If the tide is right, you could also enjoy a refreshing ride through the river.
Beach rides operate year-round.
How to get there: The Academy operates from Cosy Corner, the neighbouring beach to Kidds’s Beach.How much does it cost: Booking is essential. Visit Brycedale Equestrian Academy on Facebook for pricing and bookings.