East London has long being a neglected part of South Africa for tourists but in recent years people have started to discover the cities charms.

The water is cool but still warm enough to swim in and you will find some beautiful beaches around East London. The famous Nahoon Cove boasts perfect white sands, a lagoon and a swimming beach.

East London is becoming a favourite home base for exploring all that the area has to offer. There are a number of Big 5 game reserves in the area such as Shamwari, home of the famous white lions Day trips to the reserves are great value for money as you will get to experience the reserve without the huge costs involved in staying there overnight. Go for an early morning game drive, tick off the Big five and return in time for a swim at the beach.

Experience Xhosa culture at one of the many cultural villages in the area or find out more about how local people live now by taking township tour. Take a day trip to the mouth of the mighty Kei River, explore the beautiful beaches in the area and feast on some of the best calamari on the coast at the Bush Pig pub and backpackers. Enjoy the unique experience of travelling across the Kei River on one of the very small car ferries.

Visit the East London Museum to find out more about the discovery of the ceolacanth, a dinosaur-like fish that was thought to have been extinct for thousands of years was found by a local fisherman. The story is very interesting and started a series of expeditions that have since found numerous ceolacanth in South African waters. The museum is very well put together and you can easily spend a few hours exploring the exhibits.

If you are in need of some retail therapy, you can explore the new Hemingway’s mall near the N2 freeway. You will find a variety of local and international brands in the shops. The mall is a great place to eat if you are on a budget.

Try some of the local cuisine from street vendors, popular choices include samp and beans, maas and tripe.

There are a number of local companies offering cheap car rental in the centre of town and at the airport. Choice is limited as East London is a small city but you should be able to find some good deals.

The city has a number of choices of accommodation from hotels to BnB’s and backpackers. The most expensive hotels are found at the private game reserves just outside the city. IF you are looking for cheap hotels in East London then your best bet will be near the harbour and in the city centre. The beaches to the east of the city have a number of cheap and very comfortable backpackers. If you want to stay in a BnB your best chances will be in the suburbs to the west of the city.