To See & Do
To See and Do in St Francis
St Francis is a holiday maker’s paradise with much to see and do both within the immediate vicinity and a little father afield in neighbouring towns as well as in nearby Port Elizabeth.
Hikes and Walks
There are many superb hiking trails and walks in the area ranging in distance from under an hour to several hours with the four days on The Chokka Trail for those who want to explore the area and enjoy breathtaking scenery whilst hiking. We have outlined some of these hiking and walking trails below but for more information a good place to start is at the Tourism counter situated in the Viking Bakery shop in the old village.
Beach Walk – St Francis Bay
Approximately one hour
This walk is best at low tide to allow you to walk the beach from the Neville Road parking area to the Kromme River mouth and back without having to negotiate pockets of sea that exist at high tide. There are also shorter alternatives from the parking area at Ann Avenue or shorter still from George Road, Peter Crescent or Aldabara Run.
Two Harbours Walk
Walk time – 45minutes to an hour.
Starting at the old NSRI station at the bottom of Harbour Road, the walk takes one along the coast to Port St Francis. The walk features spectacular views across St Francis Bay and at the start of the walk is the Heritage Centre which is well worth a visit as are the Community Gardens on the opposite side of Harbour Road. Make sure to watch out for the trail markers as you leave the garden.
The trail follows the coastline rising in places to higher ground and a good resting point is at the Clive Withey Memorial Bench approximately halfway along the walk and which is at a particularly high point of the walk. In the latter months of the year you can often spot Southern Right whales and even the occasional Humpbacks. Dolphins are more prolific and this resting point offers you a great chance of spotting them from up high.
If you haven’t brought something to drink along with you food and drinks are available from a variety of places at the Port.
Cape St Francis Nature Reserve
Just beyond Lookout a path leads into the fynbos of the Cape St Francis Nature Reserve. Using the path leads to the through the fynbos and emerges atop a sand dune with a view of the beautiful, wide sandy beach Cape St Francis with Shelly beach to the left. The route leads along the shoreline and to where point where what remains of the yacht Genisis, wrecked in 1992. The point is a great place to view gannets, penguins and terns and is alo an extremely popular spot for fishing.
Nature rules prescribe that dogs must be kept on a leash in nature reserves.
Irma Booysen Floral Reserve
The Irma Booysen Floral Reserve at Cape St Francis coastal fynbos which has been almost totally been rid of alien vegetation and with well maintained paths through the reserve one can wander through the area taking in the plant and birdlife. At certain points in the reserve there are pleasant views of the beaches, the sea and the surrounding area.
From the reserve one can continue on into the Seal Bay to Rocky Coast Farm trail.
The Sand River offers a totally different walk through the Sand River Dune-Field, one of the finest examples of by-pass headland dune of its kind in the world. A phenomenon occurs where sand is wind-blown in a shortcut over the headland rather than passing around the headland. It is estimated that it takes 3000 years for the sand to travel from Oyster Bay to St Francis Bay. The dune-field is the site of great archaeological value with a number of ancient middens dating back centuries, possibly millennia. Please Note: Artefacts, bones and other remnants should not be disturbed in any way during your walk. Walking through a sand dune may seem difficult to some but really it is quite an easy walk as the route covers firm ground.
The walk starts where the Sand River passes between the St Francis Bay turn-off and the Kromme River Bridge and it is best waked after rain providing the river is not actually flowing. After rain there are usually many pools in the river bed around which an amazing collection of wildlife such as Bushbuck, Duiker, Bushpig and various mongoose and other smaller creatures as well as birds stop to drink. It is possible to walk all the way to Oyster Bay but this is a seven to eight hour hike but going as far as you feel on the day will promise a memorable outing as you encounter spectacular dunes and the utter remoteness of the terrain.