It’s Al­ways Sunny in Buf­falo City

A gate­way to the rugged beauty of the Wild Coast to its north and the Sun­shine Coast to its south, East Lon­don – or Buf­falo City – wel­comes you with warm charm to ex­plore its white sandy beaches, out­door splen­dour, laid-back mar­kets, and cul­tural hot-spot

Indwe - - Contents - Text: Robyn Davies Images © Ryan Ab­bott

About 1,000 km east of the Mother City, set­tled in be­tween the Buf­falo River and the Na­hoon River on the south­east­ern coast of South Africa, is the port city of East Lon­don. With a rich her­itage – it was the birth­place of Steve Biko – this coastal town forms part of South Africa’s much-loved Sun­shine Coast, a coastal tourism route that spans some 500 km. This sunny coastal tourism route lives up to its name, with about 320 days out of the year bring­ing blue skies and sun­shine kisses. With the ideal lo­ca­tion, East Lon­don is a pris­tine get­away that wraps you in all­round warmth – whether it be in­ter­act­ing with the friendly lo­cals at a Sun­day mar­ket, tak­ing a cruise along the Buf­falo River, or rid­ing a wave’s crest on the In­dian Ocean.


A coast­line that in­cludes shel­tered beaches and an es­tu­ary (pack the dusty bird-spot­ting book!), East Lon­don is a trea­sure cove, at­tract­ing water and out­door en­thu­si­asts from near and far. Its shore­line of­fers a di­verse port­fo­lio to suit adventure seek­ers, or those with a pen­chant for a leisurely coastal ren­dezvous. Ex­pan­sive river banks merge into the ocean, pro­vid­ing the per­fect op­por­tu­nity for fishing, row­ing, and cruis­ing. If cast­ing reels doesn’t ex­cite you and row­ing is some­thing you leave for those in­ter­mit­tent gym out­ings, well, cruis­ing is a must! Bal­ly­hoo Cruises of­fers a mix of cruises along the East Lon­don coast and up the Buf­falo River, dur­ing which you

can sip a cock­tail on the deck and en­joy the sub-trop­i­cal beauty of the area.

Cen­tral East Lon­don beaches in­clude Ori­ent Beach, Na­hoon Beach, and Eastern Beach. Ori­ent Beach is famed as a safe, fam­ily-friendly swim­ming beach with a con­ve­nient lo­ca­tion, while Eastern Beach, a short dis­tance from the East Lon­don Aquar­ium on the Es­planade, is a mag­net for surfers. Per­haps the most pop­u­lar beach, Na­hoon Beach has loads to en­ter­tain – from soak­ing up sum­mer­time rays, learn­ing to surf and/or kite surf, me­an­der­ing through the dunes via the board­walk, and sand­board­ing, or tak­ing a short hike in the es­tu­ary. With such a fine va­ri­ety of out­door of­fer­ings, it’s dif­fi­cult to miss this sunny stop-over.


Close to Na­hoon Reef, you can em­bark on the pop­u­lar Bat’s Cave Trail in the Na­hoon Point Na­ture Re­serve. Start­ing at the Mercedes-Benz South Africa Coastal Ed­u­ca­tion and Vis­i­tors Cen­tre, a stun­ning walk along the board­walk al­lows you to step back into history and dis­cover where the old­est hu­man foot­prints known to man were found. For a day trip to un­touched coastal gems, head north to Gonu­bie Beach, or south to Cove Rock, which is a strik­ing sand­stone for­ma­tion known mostly for surf­ing and div­ing, as well as idyl­lic whale watch­ing points.


For a cul­tural ven­ture, step in­side the East Lon­don Mu­seum, which was es­tab­lished in 1921 and is noted as a one of the most highly sig­nif­i­cant nat­u­ral and cul­tural mu­se­ums in South Africa. When it’s time to re­fuel, visit one of the lo­cal mar­kets. Per­haps thanks to all the sun­shine, East Lon­don is known to be a friendly town with lo­cal mar­kets that show strong com­mu­nity spirit and gen­uine hos­pi­tal­ity. Hill­crest Farm in Kidd’s Beach – about 25 km south of the city cen­tre – sets an en­chant­ing, lively scene for the Avalon Mar­ket, which is held on the first Sun­day of the month. This fam­ily-friendly af­fair is a go-to spot to find that one of a kind item – from be­spoke jew­ellery, unique cloth­ing, and art­work, to de­li­cious home baked good­ies that will keep you smil­ing on the in­side too! An­other great farmer’s mar­ket is Laven­der Blue Mar­ket, which is packed with fresh, nat­u­ral and or­ganic pro­duce – noth­ing like a healthy dose of en­dor­phins to start a day!

Whether it’s nav­i­gat­ing the city’s nat­u­ral and cul­tural glo­ries, or hit­ting the beach for an early morn­ing surf, a visit to East Lon­don presents an open book of op­por­tu­ni­ties. Sandy beaches and crys­tal-clear wa­ters may be clichéd phrases, but these vis­tas are true for much of East Lon­don’s coast­line – and with sun a fre­quent vis­i­tor, life in this coastal town can cer­tainly “be a beach”. But, even when the heav­ens do open up, rest as­sured that the friendly Buf­falo City will keep you smil­ing.

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