East London in South Africa: A Photo Essay
Gonubie in East London, South Africa
The Gonubie Boardwalk
Gonubie River Mouth
Gonubie is just on the outskirts of East London, in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Gonubie has a beautiful main beach, next to the mouth of the Gonubie River.
The Gonubie Boardwalk next to the main beach is enjoyed by many. The river mouth is at one end, and a parking area near the Gonubie Hotel is at the other end.
Although Gonubie is a residential area, there are many small b&b's and self-catering accommodation options for vistors. There seems to be a "holiday atmosphere" in Gonubie, enjoyed by even those who already stay there all year round.
The little coastal village marks the end of the first third of the annual Surfers Marathon Challenge. The Surfers Marathon is a 16 km race for runners and walkers along the coast of East London, held in February of each year. Yours Truly, here, has done 13 of them.
After swimming across the Gonubie River, runners head across the beach, below the boardwalk, and past the hotel, unfortunately not stopping for refreshments at the hotel, but having to make do with water and cooldrink in front of the hotel instead. Then they run along the Gonubie coastal road for the next third of the race, before heading back down to the sand for the last third.
Running in the shallows of the Gonubie River
Bonza Bay Beach
Bonza Bay beach
Once runners and walkers of the Surfers Marathon leave Gonubie behind and return to the sand, they make their way towards Bonza Bay beach. If travelling by car to Bonza Bay - and not along the coast by foot - one would drive through the East London suburb of Beacon Bay, then through the suburb of Bonza Bay, to get to Bonza Bay beach.
Mermaid's Pool and FootPrints Cafe
From Bonza Bay beach, Surfers Marathon runners have just 2 km (just over a mile) to the finish of the race, at Nahoon Beach, after crossing the Nahoon River mouth. If one has enough energy over after the race, one can take a walk along the Nahoon beach, up over the cliffs, and down to Mermaid's Pool.
Not far from Mermaid's Pool is Footprints Cafe where one can enjoy a light meal, coffee, or drink.
On the beach near Footprints Cafe
What if you have to go back to the start of the Surfer's Marathon to fetch your car?
If you were'nt dropped off at the start of the Surfers Marathon, at Kwelera River Mouth, near Kwelera Village in the East Coast Resorts area, and if you didn't catch the bus from Nahoon to the start, somebody will be giving you a lift back to the start of the race to fetch your car. If there's time before dark, take a slight detour on your way back, past Brakfontein. The countryside in this area is often overlooked by visitors to East London, and perhaps East Londoners themselves aren't fully aware of the beauty of the area.
A giraffe at Areena
Upriver from Kwelera Mouth
The Surfers Marathon starts at the mouth of the Kwelera River, just outside East London. Now, upriver from the mouth, you will find a delightful riverside holiday resort called Areena.
Areena has various kinds of accommodation options available, and there's plenty of family fun to be had at Areena. Go abseling or quad biking. Do some shooting or game watching (not both at the same time ha ha!) - or just relax at the river's edge. Do some fishing, swimming, or go paddling in a canoe. Don't forget to get up close with a young giraffe or two, but avoid the ostriches during mating season.
What to see the next day to walk out those stiff muscles
The day after the Surfers Marathon be sure to walk around a bit to avoid feeling stiff for days on end.
Visit the Hemingways mall and casino.
Visit the East London harbour - it's the only river port in South Africa.
The Queens Park Zoo is great fun for the whole family.
Pop in at the East London Museum and the Ann Bryant Art Gallery.
The East London Aquarium is the oldest aquarium in South Africa.
Try some Guido's Pizza, and do not leave East London without trying a Friesland milkshake!
So, when are you coming to East London to run the Surfers Marathon and explore my lovely little hometown?