If you book cheap flights to East London (ELS) in the Eastern Cape, a stunning province awaits you. There is the ‘’Wild Coast’’ as it is commonly known, the Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthatha, and game parks, including Addo National Elephant Park.
Within East London itself, the statue of Stephen Biko, a symbol of the struggle against apartheid and the kilometers of sandy beaches are just two of the attractions. South African Airways is the national carrier and is one of many offering domestic flights within South Africa. Tourists can expect to be able to reach East London direct from not only Johannesburg but also Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban. Air New Zealand, Etihad Airways, Air France, Kenya Airways and Singapore Airlines are just a few examples of the airlines flying into Johannesburg for onward travel to East London.
There are up to 30 flights daily, passenger and cargo, to and from East London many with South African Airways and SA Express. You will be able to rent a car on arrival; it is worth remembering the excellence of South African roads and the relative cheapness of petrol.
The airport itself has excellent facilities with shops, bars and restaurants. There is an information desk if you require any assistance, ATMs, disabled facilities, restrooms and first aid assistance.
Transport in East London
Many tourists book cheap flights to East London and then travel within the Eastern Cape to see its many attractions. There are shuttle services from in front of arrivals to take you into East London as well as taxis that are relatively cheap.
The Airport is just 3.6 kilometers from the centre of the City so you will be at your destination very quickly after landing.
Within East London, there is as yet no public transport system, so unless you hire a car, you will have to rely on taxis. There are however regular train and coach services to other cities in South Africa. If you want to visit the Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthatha, you can catch a train via Amabele but it will take much longer than driving yourself.
Languages Spoken in East London
East London is the home of the Xhosa tribe while English and Afrikaans are the two languages spoken by the white population of South Africa. This area was primarily English with German settlement during the 19th Century so English is the common language which tourists will find is understood everywhere.
Basic Expenses in East London
The relative weakness of the South African Rand (13 to the US Dollar) overseas tourists will generally real value for their money.
Typically, a meal in a simple restaurant will only cost around R 90. A 3-course meal in a mid-range restaurant will be around R 200 per person. South African wine is excellent, as is the local beer at around R 20 for 0.5 litres. Imported products are generally more expensive but imported beer is still only R 15 for 0.33 litres.
If you want to finish your meal with a cappuccino, you will find around R 21.50 added to your bill.
Marlboro is a common cigarette brand will cost R 36.50.
There will be an initial charge for a taxi of R 12 and then R 11 for every kilometre. If you hire a car, gasoline comes at R 12.60 a litre.
The climate of East London is described as humid sub-tropical with the Ocean slightly moderating the warm temperatures. Whilst there is no dry season as such, the winter months are the driest with spring and autumn, the shoulder seasons, the wettest months. There are almost 800 mm of rain in the year with no one month totally rain-free but likewise, there is plenty of sunshine, even in the winter.
The record ever low temperature is 3C, and the highest 42C but such events, including snow are rare; snow fell in 1985 and 1989 but not since. You can expect highs in the summer is around 26C and still around 15C on average in the winter. Even in the winter, the average low remains around 10C.
Best Time to Visit East London
There is huge investment going into eco-tourism in this part of South Africa and when you take cheap flights to East London, you will be able to see that at first hand. Even though there is significant rain in months such as October and November before the real arrival of summer, there is not sufficient to justify not travelling to East London during that time.
You should have some warm clothing for evenings and night and lightweight rainwear makes sense but nothing should stop your following a planned itinerary. Some flights will be cheaper in the winter, certainly international ones while accommodation will cost less than in the high season summer months.