Eastern Cape Tourist AttractionsThe East London Museum
Residents of East London tend to mention their museum and the coelacanth in one breath, and with good reason.
Where? 319 Oxford St, East London, 5201, Eastern Cape
When? Monday to Thursday from 08h30 to 16h30
Friday from 08h30 to 16h00 and Saturday from 09h00 to 13h00
Sunday and Public Holidays from 10h00 to 13h00
Closed on Christmas Day
How much? Call +27 (0)43 743-0686
The East London Natural History gallery features the original coelacanth - a prehistoric fish that has lived in the Indian Ocean for 400 million years, thought to be extinct until it was re-discovered in 1938.
The discovery of a live coelacanth in the East London harbour was regarded internationally as the most significant zoological find of the century, which makes the East London Museum, open on every day of the year except Christmas day and Good Friday, worth a visit to see this specimen alone.
Of course there are other galleries at the museum. The border gallery gives a fine depiction of the history of the region and includes displays of southern Nguni beadwork and traditional culture; the costume gallery is a fine treat with period settings from the Late Victorian through to the 1930s Art Deco style; and the maritime gallery includes model ships and shipwreck artefacts.
The East London Museum lies in upper Oxford Street. It also serves as the home of the world’s only surviving Dodo egg and a reconstruction of the flightless bird that lived on the island of Mauritius, standing about a metre tall. Thought to be related to pigeons and doves, it has been extinct since the mid-to-late 17th century.