As South Africa's only large river port, East London is important for the export of citrus fruit, mineral ores and wool. A considerable amount of goods are imported here as well.

The first documented vessel to these waters arrived in 1688 while searching for survivors of a shipwreck. In 1848 a proclamation annexed the area to the Cape Colony. Today East London is a bustling port of approximately 175,000 inhabitants and serves as the area's commercial center. Visitors use East London as a starting point for trips into the Eastern Cape Province and to the Cape Wild Coast, a stretch of coastline between East London and the Transkei.

The town's most noteworthy attraction is displayed in the East London Museum. The prized exhibits include the world's only surviving dodo egg from Mauritius, where the large flightless bird has been extinct since the 17th century, and the stuffed body of the first coelacanth found in the waters of the Indian Ocean. Thought to be extinct, this specimen was caught near East London in 1938 and has been tagged a 'living fossil.'

In the town center there are a number of Victorian buildings. Of special interest is the Old Lock Street Gaol, one of the former garrison forts which became South Africa's first women's prison. The complex has been restored and now is the site of a variety of shops and cafes.




Online Agency Travel Websites