Inside East London
Just where the long three hundred kilometer of the Sunshine Coast ends, there lies a city bathed by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, kissed by the subtropical sun all through the year, and circled by the Nahoon River to the north and the Buffalo River to the south. This is East London or the Buffalo City, the latter being a name affectionately given to it by the locals.
Geographically, East London lies on the southeast coast of South Africa in the province of Eastern Cape and one thousand kilometer away from Cape Town. The city is famous for its lovely beaches and enjoys a special place in the heart of the surfers.
Entering East London
The city is very well connected to the rest of the country. While on one hand the N2 highway connecting Cape Town and Durban bypasses East London, on the other hand N6 highway acts as a bridge between this city and the city of Bloemfontein located inland. Just ten kilometers from the city center stands the East London Airport. Twenty to thirty flights per day keep this small airport busy and connect the place to all the major cities of the nation.
History of East London
The city status was bestowed upon East London in 1914. But much before that it was known as Port Rex perhaps alluding to the country’s only river port around which the city blossomed. The history of this place dates back to the time when written records had not yet emerged. It is the place where the world’s oldest fossilized footprints of human beings have been discovered.
Later on, the place became home to the Khoisan and Bushman tribes. Century long wars were fought here between the British and the local Xhosa inhabitants. Back then, East London acted as the service port for the military stationed at the King William’s Town, located some thirty miles away.
Several forts were built here and in the border area later known as the British Kaffraria by the British. The list included Fort Glamorgan followed by Fort Murray, Fort White, Fort Cox, Fort Hare, and Fort Beaufort.
East London As It Is Today
What is known as East London now is actually a consolidation of three neighboring settlements of East London, East London East, and Panmure. This was done in 1873 by the Cape Government. Presently, East London is served by the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality. The port that stands in the mouth of the Buffalo River had been functioning since 1870 and plays a very important role in the economy of the city even to this day.
Adding to the bouts of continued development was the construction of the region’s railway lines by the government of Prime Minister John Molteno in 1876. There can also be found an unusual double-decker bridge over the Buffalo River. It was completed in 1935 and remains the only bridge of its kind in the entire South Africa.
Excellent Education in East London
There are more than three hundred institutions in East London, which include primary, pre-primary, secondary, high schools, and colleges. Needless to say that it leaves the residents a huge choice when it comes to deciding upon a school for their kids.
Splendid Shopping Destinations at East London
While the shopping malls are still a thing of the suburbs, shops in independent buildings can be found in the central business district of East London known as the Oxford Street. The various shopping centers found here include: Vincent Park Shopping Centre (Vincent), Beacon Bay Retail Park (Beacon Bay), The Spar Shopping Centre, Major Square Shopping Complex, (Beacon Bay), The Hub Shopping Centre (Beacon Bay), SuperSpar Centre (Gonubie), King’s Mall Shopping Centre (Gonubie), Highway Shopping Mall (Mdantsane), and Hemingways Mall.
The Lock Street Jail Shopping Centre has a fascinating history. The place that sells some of the most amazing crafts, antiques, and novelty items today had once been the site of the country’s first women’s jail. Some of the cells can still be seen here.
Hospitals in East London
The residents of East London have the benefit of accessing a number of medical centers. The various hospitals found here include East London Private Hospital, Life St. Dominics Hospital, Life St. James Hospital, and Life St. Marks.
Economy of East London
The maximum number of employment is generated by the motor industry. Just next to the harbor stands a major Daimler plant, which manufactures Mercedes-Benz and other vehicles to cater to the local market and as well as for the purpose of exporting to the US and Brazil. East London is the second largest industrial center in the province. Other than the motor industry, clothing, textile, pharmaceuticals, and food processing industry also exist in the region.
A Day Out At East London
Although the place is a surfing haven, there are several other attractions that are as popular. There are plenty of fishing opportunities including fly fishing for trout at the Maden Dam, bass fishing at Wriggleswade Dam and at Bridal Drift Dam. The East London Yacht Club, on the other hand, offers everything that a yachtsman will ever need. The Three Sisters is the most popular dive site. For all those who love the quiet there are the East London Museum, the East London Aquarium, the Ann Bryant Art Gallery, the Lion Park, Gately House, Queen’s Park Zoo and the Botanical Gardens. The Hemingways Casino is yet another attraction of the place.
Why Live In East London
More than four hundred thousand people have chosen East London as their home. Why not? Convenience coupled with a casual laid-back character is reasons enough for staying here forever. Add to this the beckon of the beautiful beaches, the lovely natural reserves, and the amazing golf courses offering a view of the sea and you have a place where life is one long vacation.