St Francis Bay Travel Guide
Overview St Francis Bay is a picturesque holiday village lying at the
gateway to the Garden Route, one of South Africa's premier holiday
destinations and an hour's drive from the city of Port Elizabeth.
The bay was first sighted in 1575 by a Portuguese sailor who named
the area St Francis after the Patron Saint of Sailors. The climate
is temperate with warm summers and mild winters.
The Kromme River borders the one side of St Francis Bay, and is
navigable for six miles (10km) upstream from the river mouth. The
river and river mouth are popular with fishermen, boaters,
canoeists, windsurfers, kite surfers and marine creatures which
shelter in its waters. Linked to the river is a magnificent marina
lined with white, thatched homes, some of which offer bed and
breakfast accommodation. Canal cruises at sunset are popular here
or else one can enjoy drinks or a meal at a restaurant overlooking
Port St Francis, a small harbour resort village, lies in a
sheltered nook of the bay and provides a colourful setting and safe
anchorage for calamari boats, pleasure craft, and ocean going
Cape St Francis, a rustic fishing village, sits adjacent to St
Francis Bay. Cape St Francis is popular for surfing at Seal Point,
its beautiful long stretch of beach, and the historic lighthouse
built in 1878. Walking trails wind along the rocky coast, through
the Irma Booysen Floral Reserve, and along the Cape St Francis
Point, linking it to the village of St Francis Bay.
The Monastery on Plaza San Francisco © Francesco Bailo
Shopping The village has several small shops and art galleries that will
cater to almost all your needs and ensure that you find some
souvenirs to take back home. There are at least two fair sized
supermarkets which will provide all your basic requirements. In
high season most of the shops are open seven days a week.
Restaurants St Francis Bay has a wide variety of restaurants and coffee
shops that offer a reasonable selection of meals. Most restaurants
in South Africa have a reputation for good food at affordable
prices and St Francis Bay is no different. Most of the restaurants
focus on seafood, with local calamari being a menu highlight.
Nightlife Eating out is popular and the restaurants and bars offer an
opportunity to sample the large range of South African wines, which
are very affordable in comparison with other countries. Nearby
Jeffrey's Bay provides a much bigger range of nightlife options for
those truly determined to party. During the December summer holiday
season St Francis hosts a few big outdoor live music events and
parties which are very popular with youngsters.
Activities Whales can be spotted in the bay from May to late October and
dolphins can be seen almost daily on their way back and forth
between Cape St Francis and Jeffrey's Bay. The Cape Clawless Otter
is also indigenous to the area, and can be spotted frolicking in
the waves and rock pools around the Port of St Francis area and at
Nature lovers can enjoy the hiking trails meandering through the
nature reserves and along a dune river system, with its unique
landscape, where you can view the area's 'Fynbos' (fine leafed
indigenous plants) and see antelope roam freely. Over 200 species
of birds have been recorded including the rare African Oyster
Catcher and magnificent Fish Eagle.
St Francis Bay also has two 18 hole golf courses: St Francis Bay
Golf Course and the St Francis Links, a Jack Nicklaus Signature
The Addo Elephant Park, situated in a malaria free area, is a
mere hour and a quarter's drive from St Francis Bay and offers the
best elephant viewing in the world.
Cape St Francis and the nearby Jeffrey's Bay are both fantastic
Negatives Outside of the peak summer season, St Francis doesn't have much
of a nightlife. St Francis can be windy, so a windbreaker is