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The Buffalo City Municipality was established in 2000 through the amalgamation of previous coastal and inland transitional authorities.


It consists of a number of settlements including the urban core of East London and its extended suburbs, the second-largest township in South Africa (Mdantsane), the historically-significant King William’s Town as well as the provincial administrative capital of Bhisho. A large number of rural villages also fall within its area of jurisdiction.

Buffalo City covers an area of about 2,700 square kilometres and is the sixth-largest local authority in South Africa measured by population.

The region has one of South Africa’s most diverse populations, closely reflecting the country’s demographics. While the home language of the majority of residents is isiXhosa, there are substantial minorities who speak either English or Afrikaans. 

With over 300 days of sunshine annually, Buffalo City enjoys a moderate subtropical climate that favours an active outdoor lifestyle, allowing residents and visitors to engage in a wide variety of recreational pursuits throughout the year. 

Buffalo City has 68km of pristine coastline that includes 10 tidal estuaries, 14 excellent beaches, a number of sites of great anthropological interest as well as endless opportunities for leisure and relaxation.

The developmental aspirations and successes of Buffalo City were acknowledged by national government when it was classified as a metropolitan municipality in 2012.

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