Gonubie Boardwalk
Destination Activities,  DESTINATIONS,  Eastern Cape,  Eastern Cape Small Towns

Gonubie Gems: 10 Activities you will love in this charming town

Gonubie is a small coastal suburb, about a 15 minute drive from East London in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province. Although a suburb by definition, Gonubie has somewhat become its only little town with a close-knit community. Because it is relatively secluded from the rest of East London, though, Gonubie has kept its laid-back coastal vibe. This makes it perfect for people who want to live close to the city but still enjoy a relaxed lifestyle.

It’s also a popular holiday destination, and it’s easy to see why. Its overall peaceful feel combined with the beautiful beach and riverside make it the perfect seaside destination. It’s all about leisurely beach days, spectacular sunrises, and simply unwinding here. So join me, as I explore some of the best things to do in the lovely little Gonubie.

[If you need suggestions for Gonubie Accommodation, just scroll to the end of this post. Or, click here to jump straight there.]

1. Stroll along the Gonubie Boardwalk

Gonubie Boardwalk

The Boardwalk is a 400-meter wooden path that stretches from the parking lot at Gonubie Hotel to the lifeguards’ shack on the main beach side. Take a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk, stopping to relax on the benches and soak in the breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean. Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit, as there is a nice tidal pool located closest to the Hotel side of the board walk. The tidal pool is loved by locals for a refreshing swim or as a standing platform for ocean fishing.

How to get there: Continue along Main Road until you reach the parking lot at the very bottom, next to the Gonubie Hotel. You can park your car at either the hotel parking lot or the Gonubie Main Beach parking lot and begin your walk from there.

2. Soak up the sun at Gonubie Beach

Gonubie Beach

No doubt, the main attraction in Gonubie is its stunning beach and riverside. Gonubie Main Beach has plenty of space for sunbathing, swimming, beach games, and relaxing strolls. It’s also a hotspot for surfers and bodyboarders due to its consistent waves. There are convenient restroom and changing facilities here, too, with showers where you can rinse off after a day at the beach. There’s only one small, casual restaurant here. Despite it being the only place to eat here, the Mussel Cracker. serves up amazing food. Their breakfast at R50 per person is excellent value for money!

Mussel Cracker Gonubie

How to get there: The Main Beach can be accessed from the parking lot in front of Mussel Cracker.

3. Dip into the waters of the Gonubie River

Gonubie River

The Gonubie river with its beautiful backdrop of steep cliff faces, is a little slice of paradise. Perfect for relaxing beach days, swimming, canoeing and fishing, the river is a cherished pastime for locals.The wide stretch of sand offers lots of room for long walks or for you to relax with a towel. It’s busiest on weekends and during December holidays, but usually, there are only a few people around.

How to get there: To reach the river, it’s just a short 5-minute walk from the parking lot at Gonubie Main Beach.

4. Go on a Gonubie river cruise with the Barge

Gonubie Barge

The barge is a two-levelled, flat-bottomed boat designed to take passengers on a leisurley cruise up and down the Gonubie River. The barge is equipped with tables and chairs upstairs, and an undercover area downstairs with a TV (so you’ll never have to miss an important sporting event, of course!). There are braai facilities, WIFI and bathrooms on board. You can also take along your own drinks and snacks to enjoy while cruising. Cruises run for 2 hours on average at R200pp. It’s great value for money and a fun way to spend a day in East London. Be sure to check out their Facebook Page for awesome specials and packages, such as inclusive braai cruises.

Reservations can be made via phone at +27 83 799 9128 or email at gonubierivercruises@gmail.com.

How to get there: For the Gonubie River Cruise, park at Edge Water Road and board the Barge from this location.

When your ride on the barge is over, consider winding down by enjoying a braai at one of the many braai spots along the river.

Gonubie River braai area

5. Walk along the Gonubie Point area

The point

The Gonubie Point, as it is locally known, is a favorite spot for residents to take a stroll and enjoy ocean views. The area features beautiful art sculptures, scattered benches for resting, and a newly paved section along the ocean for safe running and walking. It’s common to see whales and dolphins playing in the waters at the point. In the evenings and early mornings, people often park their cars to take in the sunrise or the glow of a sunset over the ocean. When the tide is low, rock pools appear along the shoreline, providing great opportunities for exploration and fishing.

Along the point road, there are a number of restaurant options to stop at and enjoy a meal with an ocean view. Some of the popular choices include Shelly’s, The Heavenly Pancake House, The Deck at Gonubie Hotel and Slipway Pub & Grub.

How to get there: To reach Gonubie Point, you’ll find the closest parking lot located here.

6. Enjoy bird-watching

bird at the ocean

Gonubie is home to a variety of beautiful bird species. Among the notable residents are the Fish Eagles, known for their impressive calls, and the elegant Crowned Cranes with their unique plumage. Additionally, Gonubie’s close proximity to the ocean means its common to see plenty of seabirds, too. Whether in the skies, by the water’s edge, or around the town, Gonubie is a wonderful place for bird lovers.

7. Admire the beautiful Artwork

art sculpture at Gonubie point

The lovely art projects around Gonubie are the work of Henri and Elna Smit. They do all the work voluntarily, attempting to make the town a little prettier and restore some pride. The eye-catching mosaic art and other sculptures certainly make Gonubie shine with character. These sculptures are prevalent along the point, starting from the parking lot at the Gonubie hotel towards Black Rock beach.

8. Try your luck at fishing

Fishign in Gonubie

Both the Gonubie river and the rocky area stretching along the point are excellent spots for fishing. In fact, the Gonubie River is known for its diverse fish population, including species like mullet, grunter and kob. Anglers can try their luck from the riverbanks or even opt for kayaking or canoeing to reach more remote fishing spots.

9. Get active with a running club or race in Gonubie

The harriers running club in Gonubie

The Harriers Running Club is a great option for runners in Gonubie. Here, a team of volunteers diligently keeps tabs on your running times, so you can keep track of your progress. They also hold races throughout the year which you can read more about through their Facebook page.

In addition to more casual running, there are also significant and well-known races such as the Surfers Challenge that start or cross through Gonubie.

East London Surfers Marathon

10. Be mesmerized by a sunrise or sunset


If you love a good sunrise or sunset, then Gonubie is the right place for you. The surises over the ocean here are absolutely spactacular! In fact, if you drive by the Point or Gonubie hotel in the early hours of the morning, you will often see people around, admiring the views. The sunsets are just as special, casting a soft orange glow over the town most evenings.

Gonubie Sunset

Where to stay in Gonubie

Gonubie offers a range of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. Here are a few recommendations:

Gonubie Hotel: Close to the beach with ocean views, ideal for those who want convenience. Below the hotel is the Deck Restaurant, a popular location for live music and arguably the best pizza in the little village!

Blue Waters Hotel: Also conveniently situated close to the Point and Boardwalk. The Hotel is attached to the Slipway Pub & Grub and close to other popular spots to eat.

Bluewaters Hotel Gonubie

Bayview Apartments: With a combination of seafront apartments and rooms set slightly further back, Bayview ranks among my top picks for accommodation in Gonubie. The rooms are spotless, the location is superb and it’s very safe.

Bed and Breakfasts: There are several cozy options scattered around town, perfect for a homely stay. The Crowned Crane and the Birdhouse are two top rated options for accommodation in Gonubie.

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