Hugging the south-east coast of South Africa, East London – or Buffalo City as it’s also known to locals – is a diverse, vibrant city best known and loved for its beautiful beaches, sub-tropical climate and surrounding beauty.
It’s also the town of my childhood and where I spent four special years as a girl enjoying Nahoon beach and lagoon, the “Smartie” train and Friesland milkshakes!
With plenty of outdoor activities, local attractions and beautiful beaches, East London is the ideal local holiday destination for families.
Here are the top ten things to do with kids near East London.
Top 10 Things to Do with Kids near East London
1. Head to Lavender Blue Market
This family-friendly farmers’ market is suitable for all ages. With a focus on organic produce, craft goods and selected foodie finds, Lavender Blue Market is a wonderful market to explore.
Add to that a pleasant atmosphere, great play area, ample outdoor space and excellent food and drink options – and you have the perfect family experience.
The market is free to visit.
Tuesday – Friday, 08:00 – 15:00 and Saturday – Sunday, 08:00 – 14:00.
Closed on Mondays.
Tel: +27 (0) 43 732 1172
2. Stop by Emerald Vale Brewery
Emerald Vale Brewery is a short distance from East London but it’s definitely worth the drive. Especially when you factor in a unique craft beer experience, Wild Coast hospitality and excellent indoor- and outdoor-kids’ play facilities.
Their family-friendly restaurant offers wholesome, homemade meals in a laid-back setting. It is also well-positioned, as it overlooks the brewery. This is handy if you wish to join a Emerald Vale brewery tour.
Emerald Vale Brewery is free to visit. However, brewery tours cost R85 per person and must be booked in advanced.
The tour includes a tasting tray with four ales and runs for +/- 45 minutes.
Wednesday – Saturday, 11:00 – 19:00 and on Sunday from 09:00 – 17:00.
Booking is essential.
Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Tel: +27 (0) 43 738 5397
3. Explore Nahoon Point Nature Reserve
For those who crave the outdoors, look no further than the beautiful Nahoon Point Nature Reserve. Here, in this incredible coastal reserve, families can enjoy sublime nature.
The reserve offers well-maintained boardwalks and stunning views and ensures a lovely outdoor experience for all.
Tel: +27 (0) 43 7355 015
4. Visit Morgan Bay
This beautiful seaside village near East London is one made for families. Especially thanks to its a relaxing, laid-back pace, fresh sea air and surrounding scenery, rich birdlife and other natural wonders.
Morgan Bay offers plenty of outdoor fun too. Activities include beach horse rides, rock climbing, beach fun, MTB trails and more.
Head to this special coastal village and enjoy life at a slower, more soothing pace.
Prices varies according to the selected activity.
5. Enjoy Pinecreek Restaurant and Farm Stall
This local favourite is a wonderful spot for families. It offers visitors delicious fare, amazing kids’ play facilities and fun jaunts in the countryside.
Whether you stop by for a quick meal or spend a few hours savouring this farmstall and restaurant in one, scenic Pinecreek is sure to delight young and old.
Monday – Friday, 09:00 – 17:00 and Saturday – Sunday, 09:00 – 16:00.
Tel: +27 (0) 43 732 1101
6. Brave Venom Pit Snake Park
If you dare, visit the fascinating Venom Pit Snake Park. Here, families can enjoy learning about a variety of different snakes. And, if you’re brave enough, you can even touch a snake or two!
Found some 10 kilometres outside East London, Venom Pit Snake Park is one of Africa’s largest snake parks. Although it is home to some of the world’s deadliest snakes, great care is taken to educate the public, while looking after these amazing, fear-inducing inhabitants.
Adults and children alike enjoy visiting Venom Pit Snake Park, as it is both fun and educational.
Please contact them directly for pricing and additional activity information.
Wednesday – Sunday, 10:00 – 16:00.
Tel: +27 (0) 83 285 0534
7. Escape into the Wilderness at Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve
At Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve, families can enjoy a luxurious, fun game reserve experience.
Found along South Africa’s stunning Wild Coast, this unique reserve boasts four of the Big 5, along with many other exciting experiences and attractions.
You can enjoy everything from guided game drives to rich plant and animal life, outdoor adventure (such as quad biking, bush hikes and canoeing) and of course, incredible fare and luxury bush accommodation.
Read more about our visit to Inkwenkwezi
Pricing varies according to the selected activity and nature of your visit.
Monday – Sunday, 08:00 – 16:00.
Tel: +27 (0) 43 734 3234
8. Visit the East London Museum
Another unmissable local attraction, and a favourite of my own childhood, is the East London Museum. First established in 1921, this amazing natural- and cultural-history museum is considered to be one of the best in South Africa.
Visitors of all ages can enjoy seeing a unique range of exhibits. Including the type specimen of the coelacanth, along with an extensive collection of Xhosa beadwork.
There are also beautiful animal- and bird-exhibits and it is a good, interesting museum to explore with kids.
Please contact the museum for entry fees and additional information.
Monday – Friday, 09:00 – 16:00.
Tel: +27 (0) 43 743 0686
9. Explore Kei Mouth
Kei Mouth is yet another lovely seaside village found near East London. Whether you visit for the day or enjoy an extended stay, this village is sure to thrill.
Aside from some stunning beaches, fishing, horse riding, some easy coastal hikes and incredible bird watching spots, this village also offers charming accommodation gems and great local eateries.
Kei Mouth is a lovely place for families to enjoy some quality time together in peaceful, beautiful surroundings.
10. Grab a Famous Friesland Shake
For those craving a special treat, look no further than Friesland Milk Bar.
First established in 1924, Friesland Milk Bar has stood the test of time and has been consistently delighting visitors of all ages through the years. In fact, it’s often the first place returning locals head to when they hit the city.
At this popular local spot, you can enjoy a wide range of awesome ice-creams and milkshakes. In fact, there are over 20 mouth-watering flavours to choose from!
So treat your loved ones to an ice-cream or delicious milkshake at this iconic local institution.
Monday – Sunday, 09:00 – 19:00.
Tel: +27 (0) 43 722 3260
These are just ten of the top things you can do with kids in and around East London.
Are there any child-friendly activities or places that you would add to this list? Leave a comment below!