Road trip to Gonubie (Coastal town), East London, Eastern Cape South Africa
We made a road trip to Gonubie, a coastal town of East London in Eastern Cape (South Africa) recently for a wedding. This area is completely different from the Western Cape where I live and beautiful in its own very different way.
It is about 1060km drive from Cape Town to Gonubie. A plane trip would be much quicker, but the airways are extremely expensive to East London, they are busy bringing in cheaper airlines which would be amazing. So we drove all the way for a wedding and could only stay a weekend as we had to be back for work. It sounds a bit insane, but it really was not bad and we enjoyed our trip. It is wonderful to drive and see the country change around you, from Western Cape Karoo bos (bush) to forest type plants in Knysna area to the bushveld type plants in Eastern Cape becoming forest type again near Gonubie. Amazing to see so many different vegetation changes in one trip. Our land is diverse and plainly said beautiful.
We drove through Hartenbos (you can read a previous post on the town). We drove past George, Wildernis, Knysna – beautiful! (we were on holiday in this region a while ago, I will still add posts to these towns as this is a MUST visit when visiting South Africa). We stopped at Plettenberg bay, another coastal town. It is quite a pretty town with the ocean and river mouthing into the ocean forming a lagoon. This town attracts a lot of visitors over the holiday season. I might still do a proper post on the town in the near future, but this was just a stop for us on this trip. From here we stopped at Port Elizabeth and then continued the last stretch to Gonubie.
The road was a pleasure to drive, wide and straight all the way. From Port Elizabeth to East London/Gonubie there is less space to pass cars and you need to watch out for goats that is not kept behind fences as they should be. We however never had problems on this road. The Eastern Cape has a lot of small villages with goats and cows and this can be a problem on the roads. The roads were tar and of good quality throughout the trip, except for Gonubie itself, but they have roadwork in progress. It is beautifully green in East London area this time of year with their rain. You drive past rolling green hills. Beautiful.
Gonubie is a coastal town at the mouth of the Gonubie river where it flows into the ocean, about 21km north of East London. We did not really visit the town itself, but we did visit the beach where the river mouths into the ocean. There is a very nice long wooden boardwalk you can walk which goes way deep along the sand if you do not want to get your feet sandy. Then you can get off the boardwalk, there is a white sandy beach, it feels like a bay, but it is a long stretch so it is a nice big beach. You can continue to walk and will find the river mouth, amazing. When I saw the beach at first I said it is very nice. When I saw the river mouth and followed the river walking next to it it was amazing. There is a big hill on the other side of the river with almost a tropical vegetation. Small private ‘beaches’ across the river. It feels as if you should be somewhere on an island. It really was something to see and you can spend a great time at the beach / river.
As we only had a day to really spend in Gonubie, this is about all I can really write unfortunately. I hope it gives you a little feeling for the area. We will definitely be going back. We are planning to spend at least a week in this area known as the Transkei area. Visiting towns like Coffee bay, Hogsback, etc.
On our way back we stopped at Storms River, this is a nature reserve where the Storms River mouths into the ocean. The vegetation is beautiful. There are wooden houses that you can stay in, or you can camp. There is a nice shop and restaurant with a tiny, but great beach. There are lots of hiking trails, from easy to more experienced. you can follow an easy wooden trail to the hanging bridges – awesome! Also you have opportunity to canoe on the river. We just had a lunch picnic, was amazing to observe the beautiful nature around us and get our heads cleared for the last stretch home. We are also planning a holiday at Storms river in the near future. Lots of planning, lots of dreaming!
I know this was a jam packed trip with very little time and impossible to see all the hidden gems. I do however hope this intrigued you to visit the Eastern Cape as well when visiting South Africa. I cannot wait to go back and see the places we missed that is even more beautiful apparently.
Enjoy your traveling!