Things to do
One of South Africa's Blue Flag beaches, Gonubie Beach is one of the best secrets of the Sunshine Coast. Access to this beach is along a raised boardwalk leading down to a beautiful tidal pool. The boardwalk is a fantastic lookout spot for watching dolphins and whales as well as surfers and windsurfers. Gonubie Lagoon is popular with families, providing kids with many hours of fascinating exploration as they discover small fish, shells and other marine creatures.
Situated only 8 km from East London, the coastal village of Gonubie is considered to be a suburb of the city. But the chilled vibe and awesome scenery of Gonubie belies this.
Lavender Blue Market
Lavender Blue Market in East London is a family friendly farmer’s market that focuses primarily on organic and natural produce from free range eggs to wonderful freshly baked goods. Many stallholders offer their produce every day and you'll be spoilt for choice - a large selection of jams and preserves, freshly baked organic breads, vegetables and fruit freshly picked from nearby farms and a selection of meats including Karoo lamb. With an on site coffee shop you'll be able to relax after shopping and why not browse around the nursery to see what you can find.
Beach walk on the wild side – tread the sandy routes and rocky footpaths of the Khoikhoi and shipwreck castaways. The five-day Strandloper Trail treats hikers to a subtropical carefree meander through incredibly scenic rocky shores, sandy beaches, grasslands and coastal scrubland. Starting at the Strandloper Ecotourism Centre at Cape Morgan, the southbound paths eventually reach Gonubie on the last day. Endless wave-washed seascapes, interesting tidal pools, unspoiled river estuaries, cool forests and golden sand dunes characterise this varied route.
Ann Bryant Art Gallery
Increasing awareness of cultural diversity through visual arts and promoting the work of contemporary Eastern Cape artists are the objectives of the Ann Bryant Art Gallery in East London. Its collection of South African art, primarily from the 1960s, includes works by George Pemba, Walter Battiss, Judith Mason, Lawrence Scully, Norman Catherine and names of similar stature. The gallery is located in Bryant’s family residence, The Gables, constructed in 1905. An avid collector of art, she left the twin-chimney-topped home to the City of East London to be used as an art gallery. Its decorated ceilings, and ornate mantelpieces and stained glass features are works of art in themselves.
Sunrise-on-Sea to Kwelera River Mouth Trail
Sunrise-on-sea lies on the southern edge of the Kwelera National Botanical Garden (formerly theKwelera Nature Reserve) roughly 18 km from Gonubie. Kwelera is a small strip of protected coastline that lies between Gonubie and the Kwelera River mouth, lined with heavily wooded sand dunes - alive with birds, Vervet monkeys, bushbuck, blue duiker and dassies.
The beaches of the hike are littered with boulders and pebbles that, given time to explore, will doubtless reveal exceptional examples of seaweed or hold you transfixed with the sound of the sea over the rocks that litter some of the coves.
Slipway Pub and Grill
The Slipway Pub and Grill has been a long-time favorite, popular with the beach crowd due to its proximity to Gonubie beach, and because it offers a fantastic product for the whole family. Slipway has a casual atmosphere, and welcomes boardshort-wearing sun-lovers strolling in off the beach.
The a la carte menu offers a selection of delicious burgers, Italian food, seafood and succulent meat off the grill.
Yellow Sands Beach
Yellow Sands Beach is a fantastic and enjoyable fishing spot for anglers and those going out on a boat. There is a boat launch spot here, also suitable for ski boats. Situated next to the Kwelera River Mouth in the Wild Coast, you have the option to fish in the river or from the shore into the plentiful sea. Paddling in the river and swimming is enjoyed by locals while surfers take to the waves at this popular break point. There is an exposed reef on this stretch of coast and it is advisable to take care when swimming and surfing as there are many rocks and the reef is home to urchins and sharks.
East London Aquarium
The East London aquarium is small but fun and informative thanks to a number of unique displays and features including a whale-watching deck, a breeding colony of African penguins and some of the best seal shows in the world. While it's not the biggest aquarium in the country, the East London Aquarium, opened in 1931, is the oldest and contains a number of excellent displays that make it a must-see for visitors to this charming coastal city.