East London is 133 miles from Port Elizabeth by sea and 255 miles from Durban. Rail distance from Johannesburg 644 miles. Vessels enter Buffalo Harbour and lie on the East Bank of the Buffalo River within easy reach of the centre of the city by bus or taxi.
East London was founded on the West Bank of the river in 1847, but the construction of the railway on the East Bank soon led to the transfer of the majority of the population to that side.
Exports are principally wool, hides and skins, citrus and boxwood.