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Not unlike the typical and unpredictable breezes that often blow through the city of East London, I too blow hot or cold about our little city with a big heart.

When I wake up on one of those bad-mornings, I think only about the badly managed and under-developed beach front, I think about all the jobs that a focus on tourism would bring. I curse the potholes that plague our roads with growing regularity, the litter that is thrown about by all and sundry and a growing crime rate. Open the newspaper? The columns are filled with who-did-what to whom. A simple rape here and there, a few school children fell of the back of a pick-up and one or two murders. Sadly, these have become so commonplace that they rarely make the front page. This space seems to be reserved for stories about maladministration and corruption.

And you say you love this place?

Oh yes, very much so!

East London grows on you. I often joke with the many German guests who visit, usually at the end or the beginning of a two year contract with Mercedes Benz, “you cry when you first arrive in East London, but you cry harder when you leave.”

East London has four rivers within it’s city limits and numerous beaches. These are wonderful venues for families. Add our coastal dunes, the numerous game reserves within an hours drive and one can suddenly look at East London from a different viewpoint. The East London Golf Club course is rated as a world class course and is home to the European Tour’s Africa Open Tournament. Our museum is most interesting and while the aquarium won’t win any awards it is nevertheless worth a regular visit. The schools in East London are often rated as some of the best in South Africa, faring well on the sports fields as well as in the classroom.

The two things that really make East London special are the people of the proximity of the city to one of the most attractive coastlines in the world. Within an hour and perhaps two, there are enough stunning destinations to make one never want to leave this lovable but grubby little town.

Ok then, share your top ten with us?

Ok, let’s start with the good schools, the beaches and the four rivers, that’s three so far. Our golf course that can hold it’s own against anywhere and our many day-visit game reserves, that makes five.

The Freezeland Ice cream and milkshake shop is simply the best and our local manufacturer of meat pies, Shamrock, is a veritable institution. I have always found the Buffalo Harbour one of the most fascinating in South Africa, it is the only harbour situated on a river and one get get right up close to the massive car carrier which deliver the right hand drive Mercedes Benz cars all over the world. The Nahoon River and mouth has brought hours and days of pleaser to me, other beach goers and the many surfers who enjoy the famous Nahoon Reef. Lastly, Lynne and I are extremely blessed to call the Riverbend Guest House our home. This might be the last of my ten but it’s not the least, I have lived here for twenty five years, have brought our four children up here and shared the home with family, special friends and our many guests.

Visit us sometime and we’ll share more with you.

East London, Eastern Cape, travel guide

East London, the city we love to hate. Or is it that we hate to love?