About East London
East London is a family-oriented seaside town on South Africa’s east coast. Its airport is a hub to both the Sunshine Coast and the Wild Coast, blessed by near endless sunshine, pristine beaches, affordability, lots of holiday accommodation and enough to keep the kids amused. Several seaside resorts are scattered along the coastline above and below the town itself.
It was founded by Lieutenant John Bailie of the British Royal Navy in 1836 as a port, built on the Buffalo River. The river mouth and lagoons are great for fishermen.
Over the years it grew to become an important industrial and manufacturing centre for the Eastern Cape.
Poignantly, it has the Steve Biko Garden of Remembrance, commemorating the revered leader of the Black Consciousness Movement who died in police custody in 1977.
The town itself is a peaceful place for a relaxing family holiday, and a good place to land and strike out along the coastline to enjoy pristine, deserted beaches.
SA is a constant GMT+2 hours, with no daylight savings.
The currency is the Rand, and you’re going to get great value for money! ATMs are ubiquitous and credit and debit cards are widely accepted. Foreign currency can be exchanged at bureaux de change, hotels and banks.
It is pretty much perfect, most of the time. Most of the rainfall is in the summer, with March being the wettest month. Average midday temperatures range from 20°C in July – in mid-winter – to 26°C in February. The all-time record is 42 °C and the early season from August to December tends to be hotter than the official summer months.
South African plugs are a rare breed with three fat round pins, so buy an adaptor at the airport. Many hotels have installed European and UK-style sockets and keep adaptors at reception.
Mobile networks have the city covered. Roaming calls and data are expensive, so buy a local sim card. You’ll need some identification to do so. There are plenty of free wifi hotspots in cafes and hotels, but you’ll find the speeds sluggish if you’re from the first world.
Like most South African cities, the public transport system is under-developed. There is a bus service run by Buffalo City Municipality and most buses run past the town hall, where you can find the routes. Meter taxis are your best bet – get your hotel to call for one.