What to do in St Francis over Easter holidays 2013

 By Bev Mortimer (Copyright)

There is a wide variety of things to do in St Francis over the holidays. When you’re tired of sun tanning or the weather is miz there are plenty of fun activities lined up daily – from social happenings to sports events to enjoying the natural beauty of the area.

penguin chicks

We are sure that out of all these listed below visitors and locals will find something they will enjoy participating in or doing:

* Visit the Penguins Eastern Cape: Cape St Francis has one of the few penguin rehabilitation centres on the continent and is certainly becoming most renown. Visit the centre at the lighthouse and learn how penguins are saved from starvation, nursed back to health when unwell or injured, fed and then released into the Indian Ocean. And you may just be fortunate this holiday to watch them being fed at feeding times or even better, watching these cut6e sea birds being released back into the Indian Ocean.

* Visit the Cape St Francis lighthouse… climb up to the very top on a guided lighthouse tour and learn something of the history of the area and some of the ships that went down just offshore.

* Trips up the Kromme River or along the canals: Pack a picnic basket and take the whole family for a leisurely trip around the canals and a half day trip or full day trip up the river. Spot the aquatic birds, dabble at fishing and then stretch your legs at Geelhout pit stop where there are braai facilities as well. Hire a boat or take a river cruise.

* Magnificent sunset watching on the rocks: On a clear, warm evening, pack a picnic basket and head to the wild side at Cape St Francis at about 5 pm. Then watch the sun slowly sinking into the sea while creating a stupendous kaleidoscope of colours in the sky and turning itself into a blood red fireball as it disappears from view.

* Picnics at the Cove: This is an ideal, safe spot for the families to have a picnic… plenty of pools for the little ones to splash in. There are braai facilities and what’s more this cove is sheltered from the windy blasts that hit the main beaches sometimes.

* Visit the Heritage Centre at the bottom of Harbour Road, St Francis own little museum. If you want information on things like the current state of the beach, indigenous vegetation, birds, fish, shells, whales & dolphins, the penguin rehabilitation project at the lighthouse, walking trails, the chokka industry, the history of St Francis Bay, aerial photographs of the development of the area, future planning proposals, including the Spatial Development Framework, the proposed nuclear power station, and proposed windfarms, the state of the Kromme and Sand Rivers, etc., etc., then this is the place to find out.

* Community Garden: Also at the bottom of Harbour Road is the most delightful indigenous garden. The community garden has an impressive range of indigenous vegetation as is well worth a visit to enjoy the seasonal flowers and shrubs.

Two Harbours Walk: From the community garden one can take a delightful walk to the Port and back. The meandering route takes you through indigenous bush and along the coastline with beautiful views. There are resting places along the way. The authorities are hoping that parts of the walk damaged in the flood will be repaired to avoid the current circumventing paths.

* Visit Port St Francis: Walk right to the harbour entrance along the wall and see the gulls and gannets… visit the new Sustianable Seas Sea centre and learn bout sharks and other marine animals, or take in the bustling fishing industry and the chokka boats in port.

* Irma Booysen Flora Reserve. The Reeserve lies within 200m of the Cape St. Francis Resort. A walk through the reserve is a must-do for all lovers of fynbos. Maps and plant guides are available at the Resort’s reception office.

* Kromme River and Estuary walks . Access is from Shore Road. At low tide the estuary offers beautiful, firm and clean sand, which allows for an extended walk out to the river. Long or short walk, depends upon how long you wish to spend on the sand bank. Wide variety of water birds and waders to enjoy on any part of the Kromme River.

* Look-Out Point: Drive down St Francis Drive towards the Port, pass the turnoff to the Harbour and a little bit further on there is a pathway on the left to a look-out point. A short paved path leads up to a view spot with benches. Ideal for a picnic. Amazing views stretch from the Seal Point Lighthouse to the Groot Winterhoek mountains.

* Port St Francis to Cape St Francis walk. Start at the Port. Walk over the road leading into the harbour and through the gap in the wall on the right to the sea. This path follows the coastline. You will walk across Boulder Bay and into the Cape St Francis Nature Reserve. Pass by magnificent sand dunes and steep rocky outcrops. Look out for the endangered African Black Oystercatchers, you are sure to see them as there are a number of pairs in this area. Dolphins and otter may be spotted so keep an eye out for them. 

* During certain times of the year, particularly during June/ July and Nov/Dec you may be in for a whale treat. Seals also may be spotted sunning themselves on the rocks along the way. It takes at least half an hour each way walking briskly. It is possible to walk on from Cape St Francis Point all the way to the lighthouse but it takes an additional one hour, one way.

mike tagg

Photo, above, of Sand River by Mike Tagg

* Sand River outings. A lovely outing with the dogs is to walk up the Sand River to see the sand river crystal pools, see lots of birds, strange insects and lots of frogs plus other fauna. This walk is strenuous but a unique experience. 
After the rains when the river stops flowing a number of pools of water remain which attract wildlife and birds. Bush buck, duiker, bushpig and mongooses or (more likely) their tracks may be spotted. The walk starts at the Sand River causeway which is situated about half way between the traffic circle and the Kromme River Bridge.

* Game drives: Lombardini Game Reserve is close by on the Humansdorp side of the Kromme Bridge. Take the gravel road turnoff to Jeffreys Bay from the R330. 3 game drives a day. lots of wild animals to be seen from safari vehicles.

And last but not least here are some other things to do:

* Go on cycle rides and MTB rides (enquiries at custom bikes)

* Play golf at St Francis Links estate or at St Francis Bay Golf Club;

* Play tennis at the courts in St Francis Bay or at Cape St Francis

* Go for long walks on St Francis Bay from main beach to the Kromme River Mouth – at low tide. if the tide catches you there are footpaths on the dunes to walk along to get back instead. or walk from main beach at Cape St Francis all the way to the point.. 

* Visit Nomvula’s Knitters and buy homemade knitted goods and clothing. Situated off Tarragona Road behind Honda Marine. 

* Visit the Morning Market on Saturday mornings next to the tennis courts in St Francis Bay and buy delicious home made goodies and bric a brac.

* Sustainable Seas Centre offers kids programs during the holidays at the Port. 

 

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