East London is a classic laid-back seaside destination. Nahoon Beach is a surfer’s dream come true, Eastern Beach offers a chance to swim, yacht and fish while Orient Beach is just off the tourist strip.
There’s more to East London than happy crowds and cloudless skies for most days of the year.Book your cheap domestic flights to East London and you’ll discover a wide range of off the beaten track places to explore too.
Ditch the crowds, fire up the engines of your hire car and head out of town to the following lesser known attractions.
Cheap flights to East London give you access to a world of unspoilt landscapes just a short drive from the city attractions. Don’t miss the chance to get in touch with nature at the following destinations.
East London Coast Nature Reserve
This large expanse of wilderness stretches from the Tylomnqa River in the south-west to the Great Kei River in the north-east and can be accessed just 16km out of East London. The reserve includes 10 coastal reserves and 2 protected inland forests.
Indulge your soul in a range of outdoor pursuits here such as horse riding, walking in nature, fishing and horse trails. Multi-day hikes are also available. Knysna Turaco, dassies, crowned eagles, blue duiker and the occasional leopard are just some of the species you will spot here.
Inkenkwezi Private Nature Reserve
This pristine Big Five attraction is found 5 minutes’ drive from East London and is home to a large variety of other animals too, including Southern Right Whales along its coastal edge during spring.
Inkenkwezi offers luxury safari experiences including quad bike rides, guided game drives, dining on local delicacies on an elevated viewing deck, and exceptional birding opportunities.
East London Lion Park
See wild animals in a less rustic but no less appealing setting at this small park just 6km from the city centre. Cheetah, tigers, zebra, antelope, giraffe, a white camel and many birds are some of the animals you can see here along with the lions. A cosy coffee shop seals the deal here for a great day out.
The Jikeleza Route
This tourist route is the ultimate day trip (or more) along the Eastern Cape coastline. Half an hour’s drive from East London, the Gonubie area offers one of South Africa’s prettiest beaches, a gorgeous bird park with 160 species, and other laid back attractions for the traveller.
The Lavender Blue Organic Market at Beacon Bay is an eco-shopper’s paradise with free-range eggs, multi-seed loaves, olive oil, nuts, ginger beer, honey, jams and preserves which are all home-grown and homemade in the surrounding farms.Quick bites take the form of scrumptious muffins, sweets and cakes.
Enjoy the fruits of your retail efforts on the cliffs overlooking Morgan’s Bay just a few kilometres further on.On your way back to town, pop in at Chintsa for views over pristine Wild Coast panoramas and a taste of craft beer at Emerald Vale Brewery.
A day trip to 3 Silos Mountain Bike Adventure Trails is well worth the hour long drive to Thorn Park. Here you can take to the forests over rugged trails and manmade obstacles on a hired bike or bring your own. The tracks are graded from novice to expert, ensuring an exhilarating outing for the whole family.
Afterward, refreshments are a just reward at the onsite restaurant with its views over all the action.
While the city’s attractions are hardly off the beaten track, there are some things you just can’t leave East London without trying.
The milkshakes at Friesland Milk Bar are a signature East London treat available in over 20 different flavours including caramel, peppermint and butterscotch.
Another town favourite, Golden Shamrock pies pack a buttery crisp pastry punch bulging with only the finest ingredients inside. Available in all your favourite varieties, Golden Shamrock have been baking pastry the old-fashioned way since 1975.
Don’t leave town without enjoying a nostalgic meal at the Windmill Roadhouse which has been serving up traditional roadside eats since the 1940s.
A visit to the East London Museum will reveal the oldest fossilised human footprints in existence and the only remaining dodo egg on Earth.