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About East London
Industrial and run down in places, whilst East London's city centre might be no oil painting, its bay-front location winds its way along the coast towards towering sand dunes, and the East London Coast Nature Reserve beyond, making it much prettier than most metropolitan cities. Its eastern suburbs, vibrant neighbourhoods, pristine beaches and manicured gardens make it a pleasant city for exploring. With the Sunshine and Wild coasts on your doorstep, East London is also a convenient transport hub. Our collection of the best places to stay in East London showcase the best that the city has to offer from family-friendly B&Bs to fantastically priced rooms with a view.
Lying on the Indian Ocean coast, between the Buffalo and Nahoon River, its waters are warmer than those on the Atlantic, meaning it's home to a whole host of marine life, including crayfish, nudibranchs (or "slugs on drugs" as divers affectionately call them - if you spot one, you'll understand!), ragged-tooth sharks, and much more. It's also a popular spot for fishing and snorkellers.
WHAT NOT TO MISS
- Arguably East London’s most popular, Nahoon beach is a surfers’ and swimmers’ paradise. Other favourites include Gonubie Beach, which has received the much-coveted Blue Flag status, and Orient Beach, which boasts an outdoor lido - great for families.
- Take a stroll along the promenade to the 19th-century Hood Point Lighthouse, which would have guided many a voyager, safely into the bay, centuries ago.
- Every Friday and Saturday, Imbizo Café hosts Jazz evenings with live acts - a great place to start the weekend.
- Children (and grown-ups) will simply love Burnside Farm - feed the donkeys, cows, goats, bunnies, chickens, turkeys, emus, ducks, geese, pigs and more. Plus there’s a jungle gym, horse and cart, and tea house.
- Traverse The Strandloper Trail, running from Kei River to Gonubie - 60 km of pristine beaches, rivers, and coastal forests.
- There are few cities, of East London’s size, where you will find as wide an array of water sports to be enjoyed. From snorkelling to surfing, kayaking and diving - it's all possible on East London's long list of pristine beaches. Spot blue whales and great whites in the season - or seals and plenty of smaller sharks, year-round.
- Some of East London’s best snorkelling and diving spots include Glen Eden Point, Gonubie Point, and Mermaids Pol.
- Experience the true nature of proper Eastern Cape hospitality at the Country Bumpkin restaurant. Situated in an old farmhouse, this local favourite serves comfort dishes to a family crowd.
Our collection of the best places to stay in East London showcase some guest favourites and hidden gems in this small, seaside city.
The Best Places to stay in East London
For a great value stay
- You'd be hard-pressed to find such beautiful suites for this price-tag. Loerie Hide exceeds expectations!
For a family stay
- Homely, owner-managed, under-12s stay free at Arum House. A well-priced and centrally located hotel.
For a relaxing stay
- Built adjacent to this former quarry, Quarry Lake Inn is surrounded by greenery, despite being close to town, making it a very tranquil stay.
- If you want to rent self-drive to explore the Eastern Cape, visit our online partner Rentalcars.
- East London Airport is, depending on where you are staying, approximately a ten-minute drive from town - taxis can be booked easily.
- With more of a tropical climate than the rest of the country, East London can get hot in the summer months. Very hot. With temperatures rising upwards of 40°C in the months of February-March and October-November. The best weather is between April and September, where it hovers between a balmy 19°C and toasty 30°C.
Still not sure?
- Widen the net to include our recommendations in the Eastern Cape.
- Or contact one of our gurus for advice.
Best Hotels in East London
Arum House East London 8 rooms from £44
Behind its grand exteriors lies a surprisingly intimate and comfortable stay. Family friendly, under 12's stay free. Each of its eight rooms boasts all the mod cons and good sized en-suites. There's no pool, but the Indian Ocean is just a few moments away. A well-priced, well-located stay.Families - Plenty of attractions nearby, plus under 12s stay free!Great walks - New Forest Trail is a great hikeKayaking - Nahoon RiverQuirky - An experience!
The Loerie Hide East London 6 rooms from £45
It's rare to find such levels of luxury with such an inviting price tag. Boasting indulgent suites with private balconies and views to boot you're within walking distance of the Indian Ocean. There's a large pool and a sunny dining conservatory - where a superb breakfast is served. A great choice.Romantic Break - Lavish rooms, balconies with views, and private diningValue chic - Excellent value accommodation in a superb locationGreat walks - You're within a few minutes walk from Nahoon BeachKayaking - Along Nahoon River
Quarry Lake Inn East London 16 rooms from £90
An urban oasis. Overlooking a former quarry this charming guesthouse runs like a well-oiled machine. With twenty years behind them a dedicated team of staff, plus cosy rooms, al fresco dining, inviting pool, verdant surrounds: it all provides for a very peaceful backdrop to your stay in East London.Families - A cosy B&B with family friendly accommodation and nearby lakeSights nearby - Cricket fans can catch a match at Buffalo Park Cricket Stadium, just 2km awayKayaking - Nahoon Nature Reserve is just 3km awaySwimming Pool - Outdoor pool