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Is it true that East London City has become a dump?

East London used to be nick-named Slummies or Slumtown, how bad is it now that the 1994 goal-posts have come home to roost? Is the city a mess, is it worth visiting and what has changed in a little over 20 years?

OK there is no doubt that East London has changed over the last forty years, never mind the last twenty. As far as living, working and shopping goes, suburban residents used to ALL shop (and mostly work) in the CBD and the surrounds of Oxford Street, the main street of East London. We had no malls…this changed with the building of the Vincent Park Mall (early seventies) and in more recent times, some really great shopping areas in Nahoon; Beacon Bay; Sunny Ridge (Orange Grove); Gonubie; the East Coast and many in between. Yes, for the middlish to upper income group who are fortunate to have their own transport and live in the suburbs, who needs the CBD anyway! In my view the East London suburbs and their facilities are as good as any in South Africa. Yes, we too have a few potholes and continually complain about a few municipal services but hey, in South Africa who doesn’t? Complaining about services and incompetent officials is taking over from rugby as a national sport, you laugh? Watch this space, Super What? Maybe Zuma will be our next Springbok coach, he can “fix” anything I have read. As they say, every village has to have one … sorry just venting.

Similar things happened to our work environment, with offices, smaller factories, big corporate's and the previously mentioned shops all moving to the suburbs,, Areas like Beacon Bay, a distant village forty years ago is now a thriving suburb with lovely housing to suit all budgets, shopping malls and office complexes and even our own squatter camp - again, who needs the mess we call the CBD? Sadly the latter is really a mess. Our incompetent (no other word can explain this better) city fathers have done absolutely nothing to improve our beachfront, to develop the large tracts of undeveloped central city land which has been lying fallow for years. This is a bit of an embarrassment I must say - it is also so sad if one considers the tourism and job creation opportunities which lie a begging (pun intended). OK but our suburbs are great and who needs to go to the main beachfront anyway… we’ll leave the tourism industry to the other centres and keep East London to ourselves. Seriously though, I must say that if I had voted for our local ANC council I would be really %$#@ed off! They have delivered precious little and created minimal employment opportunities. Oh yes, they even closed our quite effective tourism organisation, well done! What abut the thousands of unemployed? Oh how I wish that we could elect and employ only competent people free of political agendas and the temptation to benefit from their positions other than for fair remuneration - not in this lifetime I suppose, that would be a ridiculous expectation.

Forgetting the main beach, let’s look only at the East London suburbs and nearby surrounds, let’s say within 30 minutes from the city limits, we have some of the best beaches in the world! I don’t say this lightly, our beaches are clean, empty of crowds (see above/no tourism) most of the time, safe (relatively, see above the desperate and hungry unemployed) … the water temperature is moderate in both winter and summer and one can reach any of these in under thirty minutes! Dream-on Cape Town, a city where it can take around two hours to get to a beach and, when you eventually get there, there is no parking and the water is too cold to even paddle! You guys can keep your overcrowded Clifton, your traffic issues day in and day out and your overpriced restaurants - it’s the Eastern Cape for me!

Why come and visit us at Riverbend Guest House

In just a few words, we are well located and in easy reach of your place of business and literally 500 m from a beach and another fifteen minutes from many others. There are at least ten eating places within five minutes from us; there is no need to go anywhere near the CBD, Beacon Bay literally has it all. Ah, lets not forget that while you’re visiting you will be able to enjoy some of the best views of the sea and the Nahoon River imaginable. Just across the river is a golf course that is rated one of the best in the country and we have three navigable rivers within the city limits…wow, without doubt South Africa’s best kept travel secret, warts and all.

East London best accommodation business and leisure Beacon Bay

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