East London as a popular tourist destination has many exciting activity options for visitors to this beautiful town.
Activities range from thrilling to the more sedate depending on what you seek.
When in doubt always contact the local tourism office who will be more than happy to help with recommendations to suit your needs.
Read more about Activities in East London
Eastern beach, which lies just past the aquarium opposite Marina Glen, is not only one of the city’s most central beaches, it’s one of the most popular as well and includes changing rooms, take-away options and glorious seas, great sand and ‘epic’ waves for surfers - although rather dependent on the sand banks, which build up off boulders and pebbles along the shore. Be warned that Eastern Beach is one of ‘the’ beaches come New Year’s Eve and some 400 000 people can descend on the shore.
Nahoon beach is a surfer’s and swimmer’s paradise and is arguably East London’s most popular beach - we’re talking kilometres of (mostly) uncrowded and unpolluted sand and sea that produces some of the best waves, particularly at the famous Nahoon reef where surfing can be fairly tough, hence its having served as a venue for many of the national surfing competitions. The Nahoon River mouth is not only a favourite haunt amongst fishermen and safe swimming for those a little afraid of the pounding surf, but it also provides access upstream at low tide.
Lying on the eastern side of the Buffalo River on the south end of the esplanade in The Quigney, Orient beach used to be known as the Sandy Beach until 1907 when a Russian vessel called the SS Orient ran aground on the shore. It’s extremely safe – the breakwaters of the harbour mean that the surf is usually quite gentle here - and provides a real ‘meal’ of your day at the beach - there’s the Orient pier on which to stroll, the Water Tube, a filtered children’s pool, changing facilities and a refreshment kiosk. It’s also very close to local hotels and shops, which means it’s a favourite amongst holiday makers, but there are plenty of large surrounding areas of green lawn, which means that there is usually room for everyone, even during peak season.
Bonza Bay’s beach lies just off the Quinera Lagoon giving you the best of both worlds - wonderful fishing, birding and swimming opportunities as well as mounds of golden sand. It’s a wonderful place to be in the sun, with long stretches of sand on which to walk. The dunes here provide lovely little secluded nooks in which to picnic.
Cove Rock, whilst not renowned for its swimming, is nonetheless one of the country’s most remarkable sandstone formations that serves as a wonderful venue for breeding seabirds, a whale watching vantage point, a perfect fishing spot and a great place for observing nature and simply ‘being’ on the beach. Surfers and divers enjoy Cove Rock and it makes a great 45 minute beachfront walk from Lagoon Valley.
Igoda Beach is a great wide open beach with well-forested sand dunes and a river that provides safe bathing. Access from the little village of Winterstrand provides safe parking and it’s a lovely place for a picnic. The road to Igoda runs alongside a nature reserve, so combining a beach morning with a late afternoon stroll through the many flowering plants in late spring and early summer is a worthwhile pastime.
Although Gulu Beach is essentially frequented by recreational anglers, it makes for a wonderful day trip during summer, when the wide open beach at the seaward end of the Gulu River offers safe swimming conditions with life guards. It’s a beautiful beach that isn’t very popular, so you’re almost guaranteed of undisturbed beach time.
Other beaches include Kidds beach, Leechers, the beaches along the West Bank of the city like Shelly Beach and Fullers Bay - where the waterworld complex offers swimming, sailing, water-skiing, boardsailing and boating. One would be remiss for not mentioning Gonubie beach, for although not a local beach, it’s proximity to East London (it’s just 25 kilometres north of the city at the mouth of the Gonubie River) and its blue flag status make it a ‘must’ to visit. The beach not only has a wonderful boardwalk that provides fantastic views across the sea, but the river mouth provides hours of beachcombing, man-made tidal pools and abundant vegetation.