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East London

Travel Guide Africa South Africa Eastern Cape East London

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Introduction

East London is a city of 250,000 people on the south-east coast of South Africa, set in the Eastern Cape and situated in between Port Elizabeth and Durban. Despite new development in recent years, the city is not the most exciting place to visit, but it does provide a good base from which to explore some of the more beautiful parts of the Wild Coast.

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Sights and Activities

The beachfront is the place to check out if you are in town, with restaurants, hotels and of course some nice sandy beaches. Surfers, windsurfers and kite-surfers are advised to hit Nahoon Beach which lies north east of the main city area.

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Events and Festivals

Beacon Bay, East London

Beacon Bay, East London

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Getting There

By Plane

There is an airport to the west of the city connecting East London to all the major urban centres in the country.

By Train

Shosholoza Meyl has the following trains:

  • Johannesburg - East London via Bloemfontein, 20 hours, economy sleeper class, daily except Saturday
  • Cape Town - East London via Matjiesfontein, De Aar and Queenstown, 28 hours, economy class only, once weekly

By Car

Visitors coming from Port Elizabeth or Cape Town take the N2, as should those coming from Durban. Travellers coming inland from Bloemfontein and the north should take the N6.

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Getting Around

By Car

East London, like most South African towns, lacks a public transport system, so getting around is difficult if you do not have a car. There are many car rental companies available in South Africa, of which, Avis, Budget, Hertz, Europcar and First Car Rental have branches at the East London Airport.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Amanda's B&B2 Hart Street Gonubie,Guesthouse-
Sugarshack BackpackersEastern Esplanade Rd, Eastern Beach QuigneyHostel89
Ebenezer Bed & Breakfast2 a Somerset street BedfordHotel-
Selborne Lodge18 Dawson Road SelborneGuesthouse-
Parrot Peak Inn22 Kelvin Grove Beacon BayHotel-
Buccaneers Lodge and BackpackersChintsa west Wildcoast Eastern capeHostel-
Santa Paloma Guest Farm101B Thornycroft Rd SummerprideHOSTEL87
Thornycroft Lodge and CampC70 Thornycroft Road Horseshoe ValleyHOSTEL-

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Keep Connected

Internet

Big cities and most of the popular places in the country usually have an internet café though they are not as abundant as in, for example, Asia or South America. It's also relatively expensive, usually 20-30 rand an hour, sometimes even more. Many of the accommodation options have internet access available, either wireless with your own laptop or by their own computer(s). Wireless access is also available throughout the country in more and more cafes and eateries, sometimes free and sometimes for a small fee. Note that you usually have to login anyway and agree with the terms and conditions. It is cheapest to buy a prepaid cell phone starter pack (less than R10) and access the Internet with GPRS or 3G. Generally R2 per MB for out of bundle data from most providers (50c for Virgin Mobile), but it becomes a lot cheaper if you buy a data bundle. In general coverage is good except the more rural parts of the northern and northwestern parts of the country (especially Northern Cape).

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

South Africa's country code is 27. Telephone numbers in South Africa are 10 digits, including the local area code. There are also some prefixes like 0800 (toll free), 0860 (charged as local call) and 0861 (flat-rate calls). The general emergency number is 10111, ambulance is 10177 and police is 1011.

South Africa has very good phone facilities, which are also becoming more and more competitively priced, now that more operators are active on the market. The main ones are Neotel and Telkom South Africa. Local phone calls are cheap (about one Rand an hour), domestic long-distance calls are about twice as expensive. International calls start at around 6 Rand an hour but can be (much) higher to less usual countries. Note that public phones are about twice as cheap as new private phone centres. Phone calls tend to be the cheapest during the weekend and during business hours (8:00am to 5:00pm) on weekdays and more expensive during the evening and nights at weekdays.

There are also good mobile-phone facilities, with GSM and 3G networks. There are five cell phone providers in South Africa: Vodacom, MTN, Cell-C, Virgin Mobile and 8ta. SIM card prepaid starter kits are available from R10. You will need a passport and a proof of residential address and it has to be registered before you can call or receive calls. You can buy credit for prepaid phones just about everywhere, remembering you will usually need cash to do so from service stations.

Post

The SAPO (South African Post Office) is the nation's postal service. They have a track & trace system for parcels as well. Post offices are open from 8:30am to 4:30pm from Monday to Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Domestic and international deliveries are reliable but can sometimes take up to several weeks. If you want to send something oversees of any value, try using one of the private mail services, like Postnet. Also international courier companies like TNT, UPS and DHL tend to be fast, very reliable and competitively priced.

Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: -33.0072
  • Longitude: 27.9136

Contributors

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East London Travel Helpers

  • Go Alternative

    Hi

    I'm an Italian guy living in London since October 2007. I have been living in East London for more than a while, so if you want some tips, just drop me a line!

    Ciao, sono un ragazzo italiano che vive e lavora (dopo averci studiato) a Londra da piu di 4 anni. Ho vissuto nell'est di Londra e vi posso assicurare che alcuni posti sono veramente interessanti!

    Se volete consigli - idee, contattatemi!

    Ask Go Alternative a question about East London

This is version 20. Last edited at 6:34 on Oct 16, 13 by Utrecht. 9 articles link to this page.

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