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LOCAL TIME: 05:12 am | Friday, 01 December
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A Bikers Guide to East London

So Africa Bike Week has returned to East London and there is going to be plenty of entertainment to be had with the fantastic line-up scheduled at the Court Crescent Venue on the main beachfront.

In addition to the wonderful spectacle put on compliments of Harley Davidson, you may want to escape the humdrum for a few hours to experience what the city has to offer.  Here are just a few of our recommendations … you know the saying … ‘if you want to know what to do, ask the locals’!

Check out some wildlife (of the fur & scaly kind – not your mate at 2am)

East London boasts 2 Game Parks, Mpongo Private Game Reserve and Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve, both within easy riding distance from the city centre.  Both reserves offer a wide bikerrange of activities from game drives to quad bike adventures, but as always, the attraction has to be the amazing wildlife.  In this part of South Africa we celebrate the Big 6 which includes the magnificent whales found just off our shores.

The city also offers The Lion Park, Python Park, The Venom Pit (Snake Park), South Africa’s oldest Aquarium, and The East London Zoo.

As a coastal city we also offer whale and dolphin watching in our coastal waters.  Southern Cross Cruises offers laid back river cruises, whale & dolphin watching ocean cruises… and if you are never happy without adrenalin cursing through your veins, consider their high speed wave jumping adrenalin cruises.

So bikers, if it is wildlife you are looking for, the city and surrounding areas has much to offer. However, if it is serious wildlife you are looking for, we recommend you check out ‘that’ guy on the bar stool three seats down from you …

Beautiful Beaches

Enjoy playing on our Rivers & Beaches

If you love the beach you are going to love East London.  Built on 4 Rivers, East London has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country.  On the banks of the Buffalo River you will find the Orient Beach, a pay beach but worth it … and within walking distance from the main beachfront.

Where the Nahoon River meets the sea, the Nahoon Beach is world class and is home to some of the best surfing South Africa has to offer.

The Quenera River meanders it’s way through the city and meets the sea at Bonza Bay beach.  This wide-open unspoilt beach with vast walks is undeveloped, so take care and walk in groups.

The Gxunubi River runs through the lovely holiday suburb of Gonubie and spills into the sea at Gonubie Beach.  If you have ever wanted to learn how to surf, check out their ‘Salty Hour’ where local surfers teach any and all who want to learn, how to ride the waves.


Take in a round of Golf (and sink a few at the 19th)

If Golf is your game, fear not for we have wonderful facilities available in and around East London. Head to the East London Golf Club, just a stone’s throw away from the main beachfront with stunning rolling greens overlooking the ocean.

If you literally want to play a round with your feet almost touching the sea sand, head to the West Bank Golf Course, but be careful. There is plenty of wildlife wondering on the green’s (an not of the human kind).

Want something new?  Olivewood Private Estate and Golf Club boasts a Jack Nicholas course in a beautiful country setting, a 25km ride from the city.

Useless at golf but just looking for some fun?  Then head off to Xtreme Valley at the Beacon Bay Crossing and enjoy some fun ‘action golf’ with a few pints to celebrate afterwards.


Callin’ all petrolheads (Yeah YOU!)

If it is petrol and petrol only that flows through your veins, then don’t visit East London without taking in some of the motoring action available in our city.

Head to the East London Grand Prix Circuit, the oldest Grand Prix Circuit in South Africa for some heart pumping racing of the GP kind.  Home to Border Motorsports, this track showcases cars, bikes, karts, drag … and in the case of this race track, even bed (yes we are not kidding) races on this race-track on any given weekend.

And if you like your racing stock standard, then head to the Summerprice Stock Car Oval for some real excitement, speed and mayhem at the stock car races.

Looking for something slightly safer for yourself, head to Hemingways Mall and try out the Formula Dodgems!


Enjoy a breakfast run along the coast (of the 2 wheel kind)

No biker is worth their salt without taking a leisurely breakfast run, and while visiting our city, this is a must.  The Wild Coast Jikeleza Route offers some of the best ‘stops’ for bikers looking to stretch their ‘wheels’ or for those looking for a ‘quiet’ place with lots of coffee and a greasy breakfast to soak up the night before’s party.

Check out the Sunday Buffet Breakfast and ‘artisanal shopping’ at the gorgeous Pinecreek Restaurant & Farmstall.  Relax with your breakfast at the laid back and artsy Lavender Blue, or head in the direction of Chintsa and enjoy the amazing outdoors, delicious food and live jazz played on the sax at the quaint Tea in the Trees – an absolute must!

And what every biker needs after a great party is ‘a hair of the dog’.  From Tea in the Tree’s, it is a mere 2 minute bike ride to Emerald Vale Brewery, East London’s first and most established craft brewery … we recommend the pale ale (and a designated driver).


Indulge in some retail therapy

Those panniers may not be very big but we all know that great things come in small packages. If it is shopping you want, then it is shopping you can get.  Head to Vincent Park or Hemingways Mall for some serious retail therapy … and for those who prefer it informal, take a drive down Chamberlain Road and check out some of the wonderful boutiques and shops on this bustling little high street.  If you are taking a ride in the country, take a detour to the quaint Tea in the Trees, just outside of Chintsa, which holds a market the first and last Sunday of each month.


Check out the local history and culture

East London has a rich history and we celebrate this through our Arts & Culture.  Visit The East London Museum, rated as one of the best in South Africa, and home to the last Dodo egg and the Coelacanth (the WHAT you may ask?).

The Ann Bryant Art Gallery is an elegant ‘old lady’ housing some of East London’s finest art collections and well worth a visit for all art lovers.

Visit local artist Marlene Neumann’s ‘Centre for photography and Light’ and enjoy her beautiful photographs that reflect the wonder of Africa.

Book a Township Tour with Velile of iMonti Tours or visit the Khaya La Bantu Cultural Village to meet a sangoma, have a traditional meal and find out more about the Xhosa culture of the Eastern Cape.

Head to the West Bank and visit the Hood Point Lighthouse, built in 1895 and situated in the grounds of the serene West Bank Golf Course.


Local is Lekker

You cannot say you have truly experienced East London if you have not experienced a number of delicacies, starting off with our local staple, Samp & Beans.  If you have not heard, pap is out, Samp is in.  This is East London’s equivalent the Durban Curry Bunny, Die Vrystaat Pap en Wors, the Cape Town Wine & Cheese and of course the Gauteng Salad & Cappuccino.

Found only in East London, the Shamrock Pie is another ‘not so secret’ secret.  These delicious pies are made locally, crammed full of hearty goodness, and can be found all over the city in any self respecting grocery store.  Try one and you will soon understand.

Voted as the best milkshake in South Africa, the Friesland Milkshake can be found at the Friesland Milk Bars in The Quigney and Hemingways Mall.  Friesland has been around since … well … forEVER and all we can say is YUM!

And last but by no means least, we have no doubt you love your ale.  Don’t leave East London without indulging in some of our fantastic local craft beer brewed by Emerald Vale Brewery just outside of East London on the rolling hills of Chintsa.

From Coffee Shops to Fine Dining

No doubt you will be planning to dine out while visiting our city so have a look at our Guide 2 Evening Dining to help you select a venue for that night out.  If it is a breakfast, brunch or just a great cuppa Joe you are looking for, our Guide 2 Coffee Shops and Cafe’s should make sure you find the perfect cuppa and meal.

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For more detailed information on Restaurants & Coffee Shops visit the ShowMe East London RESTAURANT page.


Play the Tourist and do some fun stuff

While visiting East London why not enjoy some of the ‘fun activities’ the city has to offer.  On the Wild Coast Jikeleza Route you will find Game Drives, Elephant interaction, Zipline Adventures, Quad Bike Tours, deep sea chargers, river barges, canoeing, horse riding, Segway Tours and abseiling to name just some of the fun that can be found at Areena Riverside Resort and Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve, right on our doorstep.

Head to Hemingways Casino, Hotel & Entertainment for a flutter, or indulge yourself with a fantastic Thai Massage at Prana Lodge Spa, our Award Winning Spa situated in the picturesque seaside village of Chintsa.


Sundowners – need we say more?

Celebrate the end of the day and warm up for the evenings entertainment with sundowners at some of our favourite spots.

The Highlander Pub at the Blue Lagoon Hotel in Beacon Bay offers what must be considered one of the best views in town.  Facing west and overlooking the mouth of the Nahoon River, the sunsets experienced here are some of the best in East London.  This hotel, pub and restaurant is newly renovated just in time to welcome the bikers.

Grab a group of mates and arrange for a sunset barge cruise along the Nahoon River.  Sip (yeah right!) your sundowners as you meander your way along one of East London’s most beautiful rivers where locals and visitors alike come to play.

Head to the Hemingways Hotel and take sundowners around their swimming pool, set in a beautiful garden setting.  This east facing pool is set in lovely lush terraced gardens with bar facilities available from both the Key Largo Restaurant and the Felix Cafe.

A favourite of course would be a chilled bottle, a beach towel + one of our many beautiful beaches … however … as drinking is not permitted on our beaches, we would never recommend that. 😉

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So Bikers, we would like to officially welcome you to our city and we look forward to hosting (and partying with) you over the next 4 days.  Welcome to East London Africa Bike Week, we are SO glad you are here!

Article:  Sandy Loppnow

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