Those Who Move to East London are There to Stay

Private Property South Africa
Anna-Marie Smith

This quaint Eastern Cape city with a magnificent coastline attracts residents who prefer stability, and as little upheaval as possible. As illustrated by Lightstone, only four sales transactions of properties in the centre of town were concluded during 2010, holding average values of R1 275.

Located near the mouth of the Buffalo River that adjoins the Indian Ocean, East London was renamed Buffalo City after being re-located to the river’s east bank. The city’s geographic location within the Amathole District includes East London, King William's Town, Mdantsane and Bhisho. Buffalo City forms the central business district of the Eastern Cape, within close proximity of the Sunshine Coast tourist route, only 300km to the west toward Port Elizabeth, and the Wild Coast route in a north-easterly direction toward Durban.

Not only is it SA’s only city with a river port operational since 1870, but is better known for the unusual double-decker bridge that crosses the Buffalo River, the only one of its kind in the country. When it comes to global status, one of the city’s most beautiful beaches - Gonubie Beach - located approximately 25km from the city centre, now proudly holds on to its Blue Flag status that was recently re-gained after heavy floods caused major destruction there in 2009.

The city received its name as a result of local Xhosa war battles when the British opposition forces created a fort in King William's Town to receive supplies from the local port. As a result of the city’s original location on the river’s West bank causing strategic complications during war, it was re-located to the East bank and called ‘little London” by Sir Harry Smith. He also referred to the ‘little harbour’ as the Port of London, that was finally renamed East London in 1848.

Today the city continues its history as an industrial and commercial hub, SA’s centre of motorcar manufacturing, and also where the country’s first Industrial Development Zone was developed. From an environmental and residential perspective the city holds a rich place in history. It is home to the prehistoric Coelacanth, thought to have been extinct for 70 million years, that was found alive at the Chalumna Mouth near East London in 1938 and preserved for science by the curator of the East London Museum, Marjorie Courtney-Latimer, a local resident until the age of 97. As one of SA’s centres of political activism, this Eastern Cape city was also home to liberalist Donald Woods, and today houses the Steve Biko Monument.

Boasting some of the country’s most spectacular beaches, this friendly town is popular with young families privileged to work and send children to local schools, often within a 5 to 10km radius. Well known schools in the area, also popular with the surrounding farming communities include Nahoon Montessori, Clarendon Preparatory, St Anne’s Primary, Selbourne College, Stirling High and Hudson Park High. An interesting statistic about this city is that it retains residents for an average of 11 years and more, who fall in the age group of 36 to 49 years of age.

Catering for young and old who either own or rent properties, this city is both a popular family holiday and famous surfing destination that offers magnificent beaches such as Nahoon and Gonubie, all within easy reach of the city and suburbs.

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