The Perfect Spot for Sailing
For many sailing enthusiasts, the journey is as much a part of the adventure as the destination itself. That being said, it is essential to have somewhere fun, exciting and welcoming to arrive at for a trip to be truly memorable. With this in mind, it is not surprising that South Africa – with its wide range of unique destinations – has become so popular with sailing enthusiasts.
South Africa has long been associated with sailing, with a coastline home to many locations that – due to their geographical features – are naturally ideal for this exciting sport. Around these natural harbours, towns and villages have evolved to provide everything that sailors need on their travels. As a result, some of the most competitive sailing enthusiasts, such as Lord Laidlaw and his Luxury Superyacht by Feadship, count South Africa as a favourite place to visit, with St Francis Bay being a particular highlight.
So what is it that makes St Francis Bay, a small holiday village about an hour’s drive away from Port Elizabeth, such a special place to visit and, more importantly, a perfect place for sailing?
First of all, it is ideal from a logistical point of view, being home to both a commercial and a recreational harbour, and a small harbour resort village located in a sheltered nook of the bay. These provide safe anchorage for a large number of craft of various sizes. Thanks to this infrastructure, it is a great place to stock up on supplies, make repairs, or carry out a bit of maintenance if necessary.
Secondly, it is quite simply a beautiful place to relax and take in the sights. The rustic fishing village itself is famous for its white painted houses, many of which have thatched roofs. The area also enjoys some truly spectacular opportunities for wildlife-spotting, including whales and dolphins in the bay itself and over 200 species of bird. In fact, some birdwatchers visit the area specifically to try to catch a glimpse of rare species, particularly the African Oystercatcher and Fish Eagle.
Finally, Port St Francis potentially serves a great place to explore further afield, something which is invariably very appealing to sailors. There is an airpark close by and the first 10km of the Kromme River is navigable as it links to the area’s canal system. Even travelling on foot provides scope for adventure, with several walking trails along the coast, either to the beautiful beach and historic lighthouse of Seal Point, or through the Irma Booysen Floral Reserve.
For a destination to be absolutely perfect for sailing enthusiasts, it has to offer a combination of the important factors. It must be logistically suitable, safe and secure. It has to provide points of interest and reasons to actually want to go there in the first place. It must also meet the personal expectations and desires of the individual in question. These differ from person to person, but given its numerous advantages, it is easy to see why St Francis Bay should be a serious consideration for anyone with a passion for sailing.
St Francis Bay is surely one of the most beautiful places on the Southern Cape coast. And not only has it got an abundance of glorious scenery, but there are also some fantastic activities in the local area.
So here’s a quick run down of what St Francis Bay Activities are on offer.
St Francis Canal and River Cruises
Often known as the crown jewel of the Garden Route, St Francis’ sleepy waterways are a joy in themselves.
There are a couple of great options when heading inland via the waterways. One would be to take a one hour long canal cruise, where you’ll get to admire the unique architecture of the town and relax upon the tranquil canals before returning back to St Francis Bay for yet another spectactular sunset!
Or for the slightly more adventurous, there are some fantastic river cruises. These offer day long excursions which take you up either the Kromme or Geelhout rivers where you’ll be stunned by the vast array of exotic wildlife including fish eagles, drongos and bushbucks.
Lombardini Game Farm
Not far from St Francis Bay is the picturesque Lombardi Game Farm. Nestled in the stunning Seekoei Valley, the game farm has a fascinating collection of animals to view.
With daily guided tours around the park, you’ll get to see giraffes, rhinos, zebras and many more weird and wonderful creatures. Plus there are some enticing accommodation deals available where you can get to sleep in a under a thatched roofed house in the middle of an antelope camp!
St Francis Bay Golf Club
The wide open spaces of St Francis Bay area are a haven for sporting enthusiasts. Golfers will be spoilt for choice by the eighteen hole St Francis Bay Golf Club.
With its lush fairways and warm hospitality, the club has become South Africa’s best kept secret in the golfing world. And special mention must be made of its Sundowner competition that kicks off at 2pm every Friday that’ll have you testing your mettle over nine holes.
Of course, if you’re looking to take shelter from the infamous westerly winds that can top 80 kilometres per hour, you can always retreat indoors and play a competition of a different kind on South Africa’s Yebo Yes online casino where at least you’re guaranteed a quick payout if you win!
St Francis Bay Surfing
But if there’s one thing that St Francis Bay is world-renowned for, it’s the incredible surfing action on offer.
Seal Point is a great place to start with the prominent westerly wind giving rise to some fantastic waves – so good that one of the beaches was even featured in the 1960s cult film Endless Summer. And with a vast untouched beach to relax upon afterwards, it’s a paradise for anyone looking to enjoy the simple pleasures of sun, sea and sand!