This eco-conscious village on South Africa’s southern coastline is known for its nature reserves, super surfing beach and wildlife conservation.
Cape Saint Francis is a great destination for outdoor pursuits in South Africa’s Eastern Cape region. This seaside village has just a few hundred year-round residents, each of whom takes great pride in preserving the magnificent natural environment. Visit the four pristine nature reserves located within walking distance of the center of Cape Saint Francis. Swim in the warm, rolling waves of the Indian Ocean and spot marine animals such as southern right whales.
The beautiful beach, backed by the dunes and forests of Seal Bay Local Authority Nature Reserve, curves between the headlands of Seal Point and Shark Point. Spot dolphins throughout the year and humpback and southern right whales from June to November. Swim in the inviting blue water or try surfing or windsurfing in the mid-sized waves. At the southern end of the beach, Johnson’s Pool is a sheltered tidal pool ideal for watching children swim safely.
Walk along the trails of Seal Point Nature Reserve and take a guided tour of the 19th-century Seal Point Lighthouse. Volunteers care for injured marine birds at the nearby Penguin Rescue and Rehabilitation center. Wander amid the coastal fynbos of Irma Booysen Flora Reserve, through which passes a footpath to a blowhole and a shipwreck lookout.
Admire endangered dune forests, fynbos and ocean views and see bushbuck, monkeys and otters while hiking in Cape St. Francis Nature Reserve. A 1-hour walk via the reserve connects the village with St. Francis Bay. Surf at Bruce’s Beauties, made famous by the 1966 movie The Endless Summer. Take a boat or canoe tour along the Kromme River and around the St. Francis Bay Canals.
The nearest international airport to Cape Saint Francis is in Port Elizabeth, which is about 75 miles (120 kilometers) to the east. Renting a car is a good way to explore this area of the Eastern Cape. Visit other nearby places including the popular backpacker and surfer hangout of Jeffreys Bay and the fishing hamlet of Oyster Bay.