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East London City Snapshots

Text Nicolette Scrooby, Carla Britnell Photographs Mark Andrews, supplied Best Hair Salon Be treated like royalty at Sculptures in Vincent. A simple cut and blow-dry includes the best head massage and, on Fridays, clients enjoy salmon quiche or delicious cake (with wine, if it’s after noon). 043-726-3510, sculptures.co.za Best Deli Nina Deli is tucked away in an unpretentious little spot in Stirling. Its salad buffet and vegetable panini are the best in town. For a sinful treat, try the chocolate cake with white chocolate mousse filling. 043-735-3944 Best for an Action Weekend Go game viewing on quad bikes at Areena Riverside Resort on the East Coast Resorts road. There’s also paintball, archery, canoeing and hiking. 043-734-3055, areena.co.za Best Cocktails Friendly waiters serve up sexy cocktails at Cafe Neo in Quigney Beach. It also has great sea views and good food. 043-722-4531 Best Sushi Chi Chi’s in Berea serves the best prawn nigiri in town, and its sushi buffet (R115 per person between 6pm and 9pm) on Tuesday and Saturday is a must. Red walls, pink serviettes and relaxing music all add to the vibe. 043-721-2496 Best Boat Trips Ocean Xtreme rubber-duck rides are not for the faint-hearted but you’ll be safe with rubber-duck racer Murray Elliot who does both ‘wild’ and ‘mild’. If you’re not into speed or wave jumping, just ask Murray to slow down so you can watch the whales and dolphins. 083-486-5740 Best Pilates Studio Instructor Vicky Luff offers group or individual Pilates sessions at The Dynamic Body Studio in Dorchester Heights, as well as belly-dancing and break-dancing lessons. 043-727-0058, dynamicbodystudio.com Best Decadent Cakes Sugar.com in Nahoon is a feast for the senses. Run by mother and daughter Bernadette Meaker and Faye Meaker-Saunders, who constantly reinvent their creations, it has truffles in every imaginable flavour (made    from imported Belgian chocolate), as well as a selection of cupcakes, cakes, sweets and biscuits. 043-735-1155, welovesugar.com Best Weekend Getaway Prana Lodge Private Beach Estate & Spa is a five-star boutique retreat on a private beach in Cintsa East, just 30 minutes’ drive from East London. There are seven exclusive luxury suites, and executive chef Jaycee Ferreira goes the extra mile with personal menu requests. Best of all, though, is the Prana Lodge Thai Spa and Wellness Centre. 043-704-5100, pranalodge.co.za Best Swedish Spa Treatment La Royale Ocean Spa at Windsor Cabanas on the beachfront has an awesome Ocean Unwind Swedish package that includes a sauna, hydro bath, foot scrub, light head massage and a 30-minute back, neck and shoulder massage. If you go with friends, be sure to take some bubbly to enjoy in the Jacuzzi. 043-743-2225 Best for a Girls’ Catch Up The sweet potato and carrot cake at The Roxy Coffee Shop in Berea is worth sampling with a cup of Roxy’s great coffee. Expect a combination of Afro chic and 1950s interiors at this East London institution, which has been run by three sisters for the past 23 years. 043-726-2444 Best Family Outing Lavender Blue Farmer’s Market, on the back road between Beacon Bay and Gonubie, starts at 7.30am on Saturdays, and you can buy plants at the nursery, pick strawberries in summer or simply enjoy the stalls. It also serves up hearty breakfasts. 043-732-1172, lavenderbluemarket.co.za Best for Kids (and Parents) A great place for kids to release pent-up energy is Strawberry Field Children’s Playground and Party Venue in Beacon Bay. Breakfasts and light meals are served under the gazebo for parents – very civilised. 082-773-0884 Best Beachfront Pancakes Head to Gonubie for a walk on the beach, a meander along the boardwalk or a leisurely stroll up the river – then pop in to the Heavenly Pancake House for a delicious cappuccino and a savoury or sweet treat. 043-740-5273 Best Walk If it’s a sunny Sunday morning, head to Nahoon Point Nature Reserve for some food for the soul. Then drop in at Footprints Café for the Sunday roast or a delicious cheese burger and chips. footprintscafe.co.za Best Club Numbers Dance Club at The Hub in Beacon Bay has been running for almost three decades, and local and international DJs keep the dance floor rocking every weekend. Their Fiesta and Decades parties are a hit and the upstairs bar overlooks the dance floor. 043-748-4425, numbers.co.za Best Sunday Lunch The Huberta Restaurant at Mpongo Private Game Reserve, about 35km outside the city, is strategically built just above a hippo waterhole. If you’re there at 1pm on Sundays for the traditional buffet of roasts and hearty stews, you’ll see the hippos being fed a weekly treat. 043-742-9000 Best Museum The East London Museum is justifiably famous for its coelacanth but there’s also impressive beadwork on display in this city landmark that dates back to 1921. 043-743-0686, elmuseum.za.org This original article is from the March 2012 issue of House and Leisure…