Things to do and see in St Francis Bay
The locality offers easy access to a variety of amenities and interesting things to do for those choosing a slow-paced unwinding time off all the way to the adrenalin junkies and thrill-seekers.
All the coastal towns have beautiful sandy beaches which cater for long walks on the beach and swimming where it is safe (best is to only swim where there are dedicated lifeguards).
The beach at Cape St Francis currently is a pilot Blue Flag Beach.
Various popular birding spots can be found in the Greater St Francis Area.
The Kromme River and surrounding farmlands sport a wide variety of habitats: riverine with mud and sand banks, salt marshes, coastal scrub, fynbos, open veld, agricultural land, as well as occasional freshwater vlei’s, and pans. Here we find a variety of birds including some of the special and endangered ones, such as the Denham’s Bustard, Blue Crane and White-bellied Korhaan.
Water birds abound on the sand banks in the Kromme especially in summer when the migrants are here. The best time to observe the birds is when the tide is coming in and the water pushes the birds closer to the banks of the river. Evening, provided the tide is right, is best for waders when the setting sun shines on the sandbanks in the estuary and highlights the identification features of the birds with their different sizes, plumages, and bill lengths. The bill lengths differ according to the foods they eat, so they can feed close together in perfect harmony without undue competition.
Watch out for the diminutive White-fronted Plover, Ringed Plover with its bright orange legs and black band across the chest, Common Whimbrel, Curlew Sandpiper, Sanderling, Grey Plover, Ruddy Turnstone and the striking African Black Oystercatcher which are all regulars on the sand banks. Bar-tailed Godwit, Greater Sand Plover and Red Knot also make an appearance at odd times. A boat trip on the river can yield African Fish-eagle and Osprey, as well as a variety of kingfishers and other species in the riverine and coastal bush alongside the river.
Terns found on the estuary, from biggest to smallest include the Caspian Tern (largest one sporting a bright red bill); Swift Tern (yellow bill); Sandwich Tern (black bill and yellow tip – think of it as a blob of butter on a sandwich); Common Tern (grey carpal bar on the shoulder) and the diminutive Little Tern. Roseate Terns with pink breasts and long tail feathers also make an appearance but are not easy to spot.
Cape St Francis and Seal Point are both rocky promontories from which you can see Cape Gannet and terns diving for fish. White-breasted and Cape Cormorant can be seen fishing off-shore or basking on the rocks while Kelp Gulls are continually on the hunt for anything they can scavenge.
Because the St Francis area juts out into the sea, it serves as a resting point for seabirds, which have been blown off course. “Out of Range” water birds such as Slender-billed Prion, Red-tailed Tropic Bird, Lesser Frigate Bird, American Golden Plover and others have landed up on our shores. The possibility of finding vagrants and less common species provides constant interest and excitement. Pelagic expeditions can be organised at the St Francis Sustainable Seas Centre from Port St Francis for birds occurring in the open ocean.
Travel along the gravel roads in the area and you will be pleasantly surprised by the birdlife in the fields and vlei’s, especially after rain. Park alongside the road and look out for Blue Crane, Denham’s Bustard, White Stork (in summer), Long-tailed Widowbird, Black-winged Lapwing, larks, pipits and cisticolas, and if you are lucky, White-bellied Korhaan. On the odd vlei visible from the road you may find Common Moorhen, Red-knobbed Coot, Little Grebe, and a variety of ducks.
Raptors such as Steppe Buzzard and Amur Falcon occur in summer, and Jackal Buzzard, Rock Kestrel and African Marsh-Harrier can be found throughout the year. Raptors such as Long-crested and Booted Eagle have also made appearances occasionally.
Walking in the Cape St Francis Nature Reserves, you can enjoy the local fynbos and the birds (mostly small) that frequent this area.
The sport of bowls is a healthy activity which caters for all ages both young and old. It creates a fun environment for the social player as well as an atmosphere for the competitive sports person.
Bruce's Ocean Museum & Cafe
In 1971 the NSRI Station 21 was established in St Francis Bay. Their boat house was built at Granny's Pool, but in 1997 they moved on to their new boathouse at Port St Francis.
The St Francis Kromme Trust converted the old boathouse into a Heritage Eco Centre, housing displays depicting the history, flora, fauna and fishing industry of the Greater St Francis area. Today it is known as Bruce's Ocean Museum and Cafe, it performs the function of a museum and have roving displays.
Cape St Francis Nature Reserve
Enter the reserve from the end of St Francis Drive in St Francis Bay, just past Port St Francis, or from the end of Da Gama Road in Cape St Francis (don’t forget to stop at the Look Out Point, from where you have a panoramic view of Cape St Francis, Port St Francis and St Francis Bay in St Francis Drive).
The walk boasts many assorted fauna and trace of animal tracks, which is home to bushbuck, grysbok, common duiker, bushpig, porcupine, vervet monkey, caracal, yellow and grey mongoose and otters. The trails are quiet and tranquil with spells of fynbos and other wildflowers. From Cape St Francis’s white, wide stretch of beach you can continue to Shark Point or the Cape St Francis lighthouse.
Coastal Shell Middens and Fish Traps
Cape St Francis is situated on approximately 4,8km either side of a headland which is capped by two rocky promontories (Cape St Francis Point and Seal Point), a unique occurrence in the world.
Middens are present throughout the entire coastal and inland area, and clearly visible in dunefields and inland of the rocky stretch of coast between the Cape St Francis Point and St Francis Bay.
The wind is a very active erosive agent, constantly exposing and recovering the middens. Fish-traps are found in Oyster Bay with more middens and hearths around the Slang River. Standloper pottery can still be found around these middens.
River and canal cruises at sunset, with a bottle of wine and a picnic basket could be the perfect setting for a romantic evening out and is available in St Francis. Deep sea charters are available from Port St Francis.
Fauna and Flora
The Eastern Cape encompasses 6 of the world’s 7 biomes, and within them a myriad of ecosystems, in districts which can be easily accessed on National Roads from Port Elizabeth – from the precious Yellowwood Forests of the Tsitsikamma and Fynbos on the Garden Route to the inland Savanna that supports the ‘Big 5’, diverse animal and bird-life and huge herds of game. From the dense forests, Coastal Thicket and dunes the Sunshine Coast, to the Karoo to the north, with its two biomes – the Nama Karoo and the Succulent Karoo – both featuring unique plant life and an interesting cultural and paleontological heritage. Beyond the Karoo the magnificent mountain vistas and alpine and sub escarpment Grasslands of the Eastern Cape Drakensburg are accessed via some remarkable and highly worthwhile mountain passes.
Further away from the shore is low shrubland that is iconic of the Eastern Cape. This type of vegetation includes succulent trees (sclerophyllous) and shrubs, as well as intertwining vines that can combine to make these areas quite impenetrable. These plants can survive without as much water as the more fertile areas require as they are hardier and more resilient. There is also no real grass to speak of. This type of vegetation is considered the halfway mark between forest and savannah.
Fynbos is a vegetation type that is unique to South Africa, although some alien species from Australia have now taken root. This is one of the most prevalent and significant vegetation types in this region. There are approximately 7000 species within this group, making up about 80% of the local coastal vegetation. Fynbos includes some favourites, such as Proteoid, Ericaceous, Restioid and Asteraceous. Fynbos is rare in that it flourishes on infertile soils and even on granite and shale.
The Seekoei, and Kromme Rivers are but a few of the river fishing and boating spots the Greater St Francis area has to offer.
Fly fishing is possible in the rivers close to St Francis, and grows on a annual basis in popularity as clean cold water flowing from the mountains provide us with the perfect fly fishing opportunities.
The age-old sport of rock fishing on our rocky coastline will always be a favourite amongst locals as well as visitors, with many a fishing story to add after your visit.
A few fishing-charter companies at Port St Francis and will gladly share their secret fishing spots with you. Annual deep sea fishing competitions are hosted mainly in July/July for tuna and other game fish, as well as over the Christmas holidays. It also includes rock and surf fishing.
St Francis Bay Golf Club is renowned country-wide for its warm hospitality and a great club spirit, which has been the essence of the club over the years and continues to grow. For all golfers, the opportunity to visit St Francis Bay Golf Club for a couple of rounds should not be missed.
St Francis Bay Golf Course has been fashioned on an incredible piece of estate that overlooks the ocean. The club, originally a nine-hole course designed by Robert Grimsdell and funded by Leighton Hulett in 1975 was for private use but has since then incurred dramatic changes and a further 9 added by Maxwell in 1999 resulted in the 18 hole it is today.
Discover the destination that surpasses every expectation, every time – St Francis Links in St Francis Bay. Our world-class links golf course is a must on your golfing holiday itinerary. It’s the perfect blend of nature, relaxed living and the oldest of golfing traditions, and as Jack Nicklaus said, St Francis Links may well be “...the best golf course he has ever seen”. And while St Francis Bay is an outdoor enthusiasts’ hotspot with plenty of activities, restaurants and shops, you may find that here at The Links we have everything your heart desires, including a spa, breath taking walks, a renowned restaurant and a wonderful function venue – all backed by our unwavering philosophy to “treat our members as Royalty and our guests as Members” during their stay.
Discover awe-inspiring. Discover St Francis Links.
Irma Booysen Flora Reserve
The Irma Booysen Flora Reserve can be entered at various points in Cape St Francis, and has well marked intertwining routes through the reserve. The trees are marked for easy identification, and benches are placed throughout the reserve to enjoy the view over the headland with two points, unique in the world.
Conservation of the reserve was due to the late Irma Booysen, wife of founder of Cape St Francis Jim Booysen. Her family were the original owners of the farm Ongegunde Vryheid. During the development of the farm to a township, Irma persuaded her husband to set aside a tract of land for the preservation of the unique coastal fynbos (delicate bush) of the area. She was a great lover of nature. She painted the many diverse species of plants in the Reserve.
Fynbos is the term given to the vegetation typical of the South Western Cape, where wet winter rains and hot, dry summers occur. The term ‘fyn’ denotes the fine structure of the leaves of most fynbos plants. The area is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, the smallest kingdom but with the most species (there are 7 floral kingdoms in the world).
The fynbos in our region is called dune fynbos and is particularly rich in species. Many are endemic (occur nowhere else) to the region. Unfortunately, it is highly fragile and easily destroyed or altered by human activities. Much of the veld is now in danger of becoming extinct due to overdevelopment, extensive farming and the encroachment of the Australian Wattle, Rooikrants.
A walk in our Reserves at springtime will convince you of the fact that the Cape Floral Kingdom has the most species. You may be familiar with a particular scent associated with Cape St Francis. This is given off by a particular species called a Garlic Buchu. A myriad of interesting insects, reptiles, small animals and birds inhabit the Reserve.
Kite and Wind Surfing
The Kromme River Mouth in St Francis Bay is an excellent kite surfing spot, as is Cape St Francis in various winds.
Consistent good wind and surf make these popular spots for kite and wind surfing. Kiteboarding is a surface water sport combining aspects of wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding, and gymnastics into one extreme sport. A kiteboarder harnesses the power of the wind with a large controllable power kite to be propelled across the water on a kiteboard similar to a wakeboard or a small surfboard, with or without footstraps or bindings.
Kitesurfing is a style of kiteboarding specific to wave riding, which utilizes standard surfboards or boards shaped specifically for the purpose. There are different styles of kiteboarding, including freestyle freeride, downwinders, speed, course racing, wake-style, jumping and kitesurfing in the waves.
Even if this is not for you, it makes one spectacular sport to watch!
Lookout Point, St Francis Drive
Past Port St Francis, a Look-out Point is situated in St Francis Drive. A short walk / hike up the path leads to the benches at the top, from where you will have a 360° over Cape St Francis and St Francis Bay.
The Bottle-nosed dolphin is the most common species in the Greater St Francis waters. They are identified by their narrow beak and abruptly sloping forehead. They measure an average of just less than 2.5 metres. This is a matriarchal society that hunts together, feeding on squid and fish. It is always a delight seeing them ride the waves, jumping out of the water.
The two most common whales to cavort off the coastline are the Humpback and Southern Right species. However, Orcas and Bryde’s Whales also make their rare appearance. The Southern Right will migrate to the Western Cape coast to give birth. These waters are warmer than at the South Pole and are relatively sheltered as they are arranged in bays, rather than being exposed in the vast expanse of the ocean. The mother and her calf will stay in these areas for a few months after the birth, allowing time for the baby to build up strength and blubber resources.
The Southern Right Whale is distinctive by its complete lack of a dorsal fin and the growths on its black skin, resembling barnacles. There are known as callosities. Their blowhole is also different as it is shaped like a “V” when viewed from the top. It has been discovered that certain Southern Right Whales return to the same spots along the South African coastline, including the Kouga coastline, every year. The whales were hunted extensively during the 19th Century and their population depleted significantly. However, their breeding habits and protection laws are working together to ensure that their numbers increase exponentially each year.
Humpbacks also migrate from the Antarctic waters, but they pass South Africa and travel to Madagascar and Mocambique to calve and mate. These whales may travel alone with their calves or in pods of up to about 10 animals at a time. The Humpback is distinguished by its small dorsal fin, which is perched two thirds of the way down its back, as well as its long white pectoral fins flanking its black body. These fins resemble wings, hence its scientific name Megaptera, meaning “large wing”. A Humpback whale can measure up to 18m, but averages lengths are of about 15m. Sighting these animals off the Eastern Cape coast is a fantastic experience, as they are known for their ability to push their entire body out of the water in impressive displays. They are also known for their extraordinary singing abilities. Interestingly, whales can compose their own ‘songs’ and teach these to their young, who pass them on in their specific whale population.
MTB / Cycling in St Francis
St Francis single track loop
20km route with 70 % single track with tar and gravel sections between St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis. Starting in St Francis heading to Port St Francis, you continue from the harbour along Otters Landing turning into Cape St Francis Nature Reserve. Once passed Cape St Francis Resort, you head right into the Irma Booysen Flora Nature Reserve, down to Seal Point joining a designated single track around the light house. Then back into Irma Booysen, onto the R330 and right into St Francis Field with a single-track section that links you back to St Francis Drive and back to town.
Starting in St Francis, this 37km route with 60 % gravel and 30% tar is a fast scenic route that takes you out on the R330, left towards Oyster Bay passing the wind farms , crossing over the Kromme River heading to Humansdorp and passing a number of dairy farms and back to St Francis via the R330.
Oyster Bay loop
Starting in St Francis heading towards Oyster Bay, 56 km and 650m of climbing, 85% gravel and 15% tar with wonderful views of the mountains and coastline. Once passed Oyster Bay you head inland towards Impofu dam and turn right and head back passing the wind farm and back to St Francis.
Starting in St Francis heading towards Oyster Bay, 73km with 874m of climbing 90% gravel 10% tar, the route takes you parallel to Impofu dam and right back towards Oyster Bay with stunning views of the coastline and dunes passing all the wind farms in the area and heading back to St Francis.
Round the mountain
104km and 1529m for climbing, 85 % gravel and 15% tar, leaving St Francis and heading to Oyster Bay turning right towards Humansdorp passing through the town, cross the N2 on the R330 then head out to towards to mountains with a left turn onto the R332 with a loop around the mountain and descend back towards St Francis with a full coastal view of J bay and St Francis.
Mountain bikers can enjoy safe and extreme cycling at Kamaria situated just off the Oyster Bay Road. Three individual routes cater for all levels of riders, with the easy Yellow Route a perfect starting point for beginners and families with kids; this is non-technical and perfect to introduce novices to off-road cycling.
Nature Reserves in Cape St Francis
Cape St Francis is home to the Cape St Francis Nature Reserve, Seal Point Nature Reserve, Seal Bay Nature Reserve and Irma Booysen Flora Reserve.
These reserves offer a fine variety of well-marked walks. The importance of these areas being declared as nature reserves is due to South Africa’s extraordinarily rich plant and animal life. It is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, especially blessed in plant species, one of only six Plant or Floral Kingdoms in the world.
The Cape Floral Kingdom extends roughly from the Cape West Coast to Van Stadens River close to Port Elizabeth as well as inland, covering about 90 000 km² and home to 9 000 plant species, 70% of which grow nowhere else in the world (endemic to the Cape).
These plants are not scattered randomly across the landscape. Instead, from one hill to the next, different plant species grow together in their own communities. This means that the entire region is divided into these vegetation types, comprising plant species that grow in their particular area and nowhere else.
The St Francis Fynbos/Thicket Mosaic only grows on the lime-rich coastal sandy sites scattered between Tsitisikamma in the west and Port Elizabeth in the east. The conditions under which this vegetation type can grow is a relatively small area comprising 0.2% of the Cape region. Urbanisation, agriculture, forestry and alien plan invasions has caused considerable damage and disturbance.
Much of our local Fynbos has been disturbed by alien plants and developments. As a result of this as well the threat of continued destruction, it has been classified as Critically Endangered and enjoys legislative protection. Animals you may see are bushbuck, grysbok, common duiker, bushpig, porcupine, vervet monkey, caracal, yellow and grey mongoose and the cape clawless otter.
You also see the rare African black oystercatcher and occasionally an endangered Jackass penguin. Bottlenose and common dolphins are often seen offshore and, from August to December, southern right whales may be spotted.
Paddling and SUP
The Greater St Francis boasts ample rivers, canals and the ocean for paddling and SUP’s.
The long stretches of beach are perfect for padding as well as stand up paddleboarding (SUP), the fastest growing ocean sport in the world. The Greater St Francis has easy conditions and are perfect for the beginner to intermediate SUPer. One can start with the easy breaks and slowly move yourself up to more advance spots as you progress. Even when there are no waves one has the option to do a long-distance ocean paddle with beautiful scenery and marine life. This makes St Francis with the canals and river mouth a SUP heaven.
For the more advanced and experienced SUPer we have the wild open ocean side of the bay. Situated outside the protected bay, these areas get raw ocean swells that break onto rocky outcrops which is what makes it an advance to expert surf spot. The untouched beaches are virtually unspoilt and you are bound to spot southern right whales nursing their calves. Around April to November we can also spot the breeching humpbacks migrating south to mate and give birth. Over 10 000 humpbacks pass through these waters every year. The inquisitive inshore bottlenose dolphins are always around and love surfing the swell with us. You’ll also run into the more conservative humpback dolphin and some African penguins.
Experience the beautiful St Francis Bay Canals and Kromme River on a luxury 12-seater barge.
Built in 1967, the canal system of St Francis Bay has become a leading South African tourist destination. Sit back, relax and enjoy the tranquil canal waters as your professional skipper escorts you through the waterways offering you wonderful views of the architecture, wildlife and as evening draws in, the spectacular sunsets.
Our luxury imported 12-seater barge known as 'River Break' is designed and licensed to carry up to 12 passengers on the waterways of not only the canals but also the Kromme and Geelhout Rivers.
RiverBreak activities are tailored to suit the needs of the individual or group with trips ranging from a 1 hour cruise around the canal systems to a full day excursion up the Kromme or Geelhout Rivers. A minimum of 2 people is required to book River Break but commonly is shared amongst guests.
Guests have the option of bringing their own refreshments or all catering can be done through the famous Joe Fish Restaurant and prices can be structured to include South African wine, beer and cider.
If you've settled into 'African Time' and have a full day to spare then there is no better way to spend it than book a full day 'River Break' excursion. Starting from the small boat harbour on the canals in St Francis Bay, board and take a leisurely cruise through the unique and picturesque St Francis Canals to the entrance of the Kromme River.
The 10km Kromme River offers spectacular views of the mountains of the Groot Winterhoek, and abundant wildlife. This river system forms part of a conservancy and is a haven for birds and animals. Fish Eagle, Kingfisher, Drongo. Oyster-catcher and numerous other bird species vie for your attention. Bushbuck graze the tranquil river banks and leguaan bask on the muddy banks.
On leaving the Kromme River your journey will take you along the picturesque waters of the Geelhout River until your final destination... your very own private farm.
On arrival at the farm known as the 'Bat and the Boerboon' you have the rest of the day to relax at the pool, paddle the still waters in a canoe, take a stroll through the fynbos thickets or simply sit and chill as your lunch is prepared.
Enjoy calamari starters followed by a full, traditional South African braai (barbeque) and a sumptuous dessert to end this awesome meal. At your leisure, board the barge for another relaxing cruise back toward St Francis.
For the full day river and farm adventure a minimum of 6 people is required.
RiverBreak has been used successfully for team building activities, birthdays and functions, corporate outings, family gatherings or simple private excursions.
We don’t only boat but can arrange a host of other activities including coastal walks and hikes, Golf, surf lessons, calamari tastings as well as day trips to Addo National Park, Baviaanskloof and Huisklip.
- 042 298 0054
- Cape St Francis Resort, Da Gama Way, Cape St Francis
Romazini Valley is a public open space between Romazini Road and Tom Brown Boulevard. It is also serves as a home for the Cape Clawless Otter and the Spotted Eagle Owl. The Two Harbours Walk passes over it at its beach section.
Rocky Coast Farm Hike
The entrance to Rocky Coast Farm is at the first parking area at Sunset Rock, Cape St Francis. Follow the footpaths up to where you find the first houses at Mostertshoek.
Stay close to the shoreline, and you will see a small pile of white rocks. Turn towards the sea, and you will find the blow hole – it’s got to be high tide to be at its most impressive. Turn around and stay close to the shoreline.
At the next beach (it is opposite a green shack), you will see an unknown unmarked grave, the remains of the Osprey that sunk in 1867, coastal middens with ample shells and stone tools. Enjoy the unique fynbos and plant species of this area.
Follow the footpaths back to the parking area – but maybe enjoy a moment of peace and quiet on Sunset Rock, very popular for obvious reasons!
Oyster Bay has great sand dune boarding spots to provide endless fun for young and old in the Greater St Francis area, where our beaches are home to some of the biggest and most spectacular dunes in South Africa.
Feel the wind blow through your hair, while there is nothing but serene beauty surrounding you. Sand boarding is very similar to snowboarding; it is fast, fun and easy to learn.
The Sand River is one of the finest examples in the world of a by-pass headland dune system – it is in fact called the Oyster Bay Dune Bypass System.
In the dune-field are numerous ancient middens, dating back centuries, and possibly even millennia, which are of great archaeological value. Artefacts, bones and other remains are by law to be left undisturbed. Khoisan burial sites at least 2000 years old have been discovered here.
Start at the Sand River bridge and walk for about 90 minutes to one of the largest middens in the Sand River. From there you will see the highest dune to your right – take time and climb to the top for the most amazing 360º view of the greater St Francis.
The dunes are ideal for sandboarding – take one with you and enjoy!
The entire dune system, 16,8km, can be done as part of the Chokka Trail.
Seal Point Lighthouse
The Seal Point Lighthouse, standing at 27,75-meter, is the tallest masonry lighthouse in South Africa and is situated on the South Easternmost Point of Africa. Built in 1878, the lighthouse is still operational with a modern radio beacon, fog signal and fog detector.
The 28-meter circular masonry tower supports a lantern house and second order revolving lantern consisting of 8 catadioptric lens panels. The lighthouse was declared a National Monument in 1984. Today it is hard to imagine that it took 2 weeks per ox cart trip to bring building supplies in from Humansdorp, as many rivers and gorges had to be crossed.
Shark Point, or the Cape St Francis Point, is the point between St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis Bay. Remains of shipwrecks can be found there. It is a popular fishing spot and sightseeing includes sea life and boats passing. The point can be reached from either Port St Francis (30 min) or Cape St Francis (20 min).
Walk from Port St Francis round the point to the Seal Point Lighthouse, which is about 6km, and return through the Cape St Francis Nature Reserve.
St Francis Bay Squash Club is home to two doubles courts and one single court. The club hosts an annual tournament in February/March which attracts players from around the world.
St Francis Canals
Leighton Hullet bought nearly 3 km of river frontage (179 morgen beside the Kromme River) and began to work on the canal system in 1968 with a dredger that he build himself.
In 1976 the first part of the canal system was completed with an eastern and western outlet to the Kromme River. The St Francis canal system is the largest man-made web of canals in the country. The canal system boasts a small craft harbour as well as a popular restaurant and is, together with the Kromme River, playground for the water sport enthusiast and fisherman alike. Paddling and Stand Up Paddling, swimming, boating, fishing, and especially late afternoon canal cruises are popular pastimes. Small boats can be rented on a day-to-day basis, and moorings are available for tourists who bring their own craft.
The Cove (the western outlet into the Kromme River) is a popular swimming spot for families as one of the sides will assure protection from the prevailing wind of the day.
Resident homes around the canal system are known for their black roofed and white- walled building style.
St Francis Community Garden
The garden, situated in Harbour Road is one of the treasures of St Francis Bay and well worth a visit. One can wander along the paths or take a picnic and just enjoy the beauty of the surroundings.
There are numerous paths leading through the garden with plenty of benches on which to rest or simply sit and take in the tranquil surroundings and in some cases, spectacular views. There is also a seasonal stream that wanders through. The gardens are a good place for bird watching. The majority of the plants are indigenous and attract a wide range of birds and butterflies. During the rainy season when the stream is flowing the arum lilies and reeds provide nesting material and a suitable habitat for many bird species and frogs. The frogs can be heard all day and night.
At night the owls, porcupines and otters also sometimes visit the garden and leave their calling cards. The upkeep of the Community Garden is the responsibility of the St Francis Kromme Trust, assisted in this task by staff from St Francis Links, a group of volunteers and some of the adjacent homeowners.
The most consistent waves occur between about May to mid September, also often coinciding with offshore winds, although good waves can occasionally occur at other times of the year. The initial discovery and promotion of the wave is curious. Another nearby right hand point wave at St Francis Bay was first idolised and promoted in the cult classic surf movie The Endless Summer in the 1960s.
There are a few tennis clubs in the Greater St Francis area with courts in Oyster Bay, Cape St Francis and St Francis Bay. To promote the sport and to meet new friends, non-members are always welcome.
Two Harbours Walk
The Two Harbours Walk connects the Heritage Eco Centre at the Granny's Pool in Harbour Road with Port St Francis. 2A walk on this beautiful rocky shoreline can be started either side and takes about an hour.
Boat based Whale and Dolphin Watching is available from Port St Francis as the Kouga’s only licensed boat-based whale watching permit holder operates from there.
The coastal area is home to many more animals, the most fascinating of which are concealed beneath the blue of the waters. Tuna, Dorado, cob and salmon are common catches in these warm waters.
St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis are meccas to all watersport enthusiasts. Surfing has always been a big part of watersport in this area due to the stretch of magnificent beaches in and around this area. Blessed with the perfect combination of warm water, calm seas and fair breezes this area has inspired many ocean sports including surfing, kite surfing, surf skiing, paddle-skiing and stand up paddleboarding (SUP) alike to bring thrills to your life.
The Cape of Good Hope has been famous for more than 500 years as the 'graveyard of ships'. And sea captains of yore also talked about another danger spot: the 'mountains of water' off the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape. Indeed, the 3 000km South African coastline has claimed perhaps 3 000 vessels over the centuries, with known records dating back to the 1500’s - one for every kilometer of coastline.
That’s without any information on the sea-going Phoenicians who might have come earlier, or any other sailing civilisation possibly Arab traders – that may have passed these shores and almost certainly lost some of their ships to misadventure, bad visibility and treacherous reefs.
It is believed that the ships that were wrecked came from as many as 37 nations, and that their sites are invaluable heritage and historical assets. Everything that went down with a ship tells a story of how people lived, what they did, what they traded in, and what they achieved during their times. The modern attitude to shipwrecks especially along the South African coastline is to preserve the sites instead of indulging in the frenetic kind of 'treasure hunting' that took place in the 20th Century.
Indeed, all shipwrecks are protected by South African law, and it is illegal to remove any
part of them or object associated with them.
The names of famous shipwrecks off South Africa's coast include the Grosvenor, the Arniston, the Waratah, the Birkenhead, the Sacramento and, in more recent times, the Oceanos. Even the mythical Flying Dutchman is sometimes 'spotted' on a foggy day down at Cape Point. Many ships that sailed these waters simply disappeared without
trace – the most famous being the Waratah in 1909. Because of the numerous shipwrecks, lighthouses were put up along the South African coast, and thousands of castaways suddenly found themselves on forbidding African soil for the first time in their lives. As they wandered up and down the coastline, they were killed by starving animals and hostile locals, or simply assimilated into whatever village system existed in the area. There are some colourful accounts of European castaways being integrated with local communities of people, even marrying into them, and living out their days not far from where their ships went down.