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  • Overview

    Gateway to the beautiful Wild Coast, East London is a small, friendly city on the Indian Ocean where activities like surfing, fishing, and golf take precedence. The city centre branches out into business parks, malls, and suburbs set in subtropical vegetation, dissected by many rivers including the Buffalo and Nahoon. The rivers' wide banks meander lazily into the ocean, offering locals excellent fishing, rowing, and cruising opportunities.

    Formerly built around a British fort, the city centre of East London is compact and can easily be explored on foot. There are a number of attractions, such as the East London Museum that houses the prehistoric coelacanth, and the City Hall, where the first TRC hearings were held.

    However, it is best for visitors to have a car so that they can access various attractions dotted on the outskirts of East London, including Steve Biko's grave, the aquarium, the harbour, and the superb seafood restaurants that line the beachfront.

    East London is not generally considered a travel destination in its own right, but the nearby Wild Coast is one of South Africa's most stunning scenic areas. It takes only 20 minutes to get from the bustle of this small city to one of the tranquil and isolated holiday villages on the coast, where rolling hills of indigenous vegetation are met by long expanses of untouched beaches.

    Here, visitors can go horse riding on the shore, visit the Gonubie Nature Reserve, or stay at the Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve where the indomitable Big Five can be seen.

    East London is a sunny city that experiences hot summers and moderate winters. Temperatures in summer, between December and February, can reach over 86°F (30°C), with rainfall most common in the spring and autumn months.

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    English Pronounciation

    East London has a humid subtropical climate, with warm weather throughout the year. There is no real dry season in East London, although the city experiences the least rain during the winter months, from May to August, when precipitation levels are around 1-2 inches (25-51mm) per month. There is also a shorter dry period during the summer, in December and January. Average summer temperatures are around 78°F (26°C) and are also very humid in East London, with humidity levels reaching around 82 percent. During the winter months, temperatures average between 50°F (10°C) and 70°F (21°C).

    East London Airport
    Location: The airport is located about three miles (5km) west of the city centre.
    Time: GMT +2
    Getting to the city: There is no public bus or transport from the airport. Shuttle companies leave from in front of the arrivals terminal. Bookings should be made in advance. Their schedule follows flight schedules.
    Car Rental: Rental companies at the airport include Avis, Budget and Thrifty.
    Airport Taxis: Metered taxis are available from the airport; a helpdesk is available to give taxi information.
    Fascilities: The airport has four ATMs in the departures hall and an information desk in the arrivals hall. Restaurants and shops are also available in the terminal building. Facilities also cater to disabled passengers.
    Parking Short and long-term parking is available adjacent to the airport.

    Useful Contacts:

    Visitors to East London will find it difficult to get around without a car as the city lacks a public transport system. Car rental companies can be found at East London airport. Travellers that pre-book their car hire in advance will find that they can get a more favourable rate.

    To hire a car in South Africa, foreigners are required to have an international driving licence valid for at least one year. Drivers will find that road conditions and signage in East London are of a good standard. Visitors can also use taxis to travel around East London. However, they should exercise caution if using minibus taxis as they drive dangerously and can be overcrowded.

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