06 December 2011 by Chris Marais

On The Beach

The Sunshine Coast of the Eastern Cape, in particular Kenton on Sea, has been one of South Africa’s premier Christmas holiday spots for many generations.

When we were students at Rhodes University, down the pike in Grahamstown, we used to make the weekend trek in someone’s old jalopy down to these magnificent beaches, built for romantic wanderers.

And, occasionally, their dogs. As long as you stay off the Blue Flag Beach, the rest of this stretch of coastline can belong to you and your hound any time of day. Just don’t forget that little poop-scoop and plastic bag. Let’s not give dog owners a bad name.

Out of season, you often have one of the most stunning series of beaches anywhere in the world - to yourself.

This Christmas, however, the beaches of Kenton will rock with lamb-on-a-spit parties and a New Year’s Eve celebration that everyone’s looking forward to. The lights will go on at the holiday houses and families who have not seen each other all year will hit the sand will stage those famous meat-burning rituals known around the world as barbecues - or, locally, braais.

Me, I’m laying low and returning to Kenton once all the party hats have been packed away, and those holiday makers have gone back to their up-country homes. Then it’s me, the wife and the German Shepherd and all the beach sand in the world…

  • Interesting factoid about Kenton: These beaches were once owned by a family called Butt. Then a Mr Tilt bought the land. He often missed his home village of Kenton, back in the UK. So in 1946 he established Kenton on Sea - so he could feel more at home in Africa. And if you can show me a British beach that beats Kenton, I’ll eat my slip-slops.

Category: Culture & History

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