Dubbed the place ‘where the sun spends the winter’, the Eastern Cape’s Kenton-on-Sea is traditionally one of South Africa’s most popular holiday escapes. Whether you go for the quiet in the off-season or the buzzy vibe of a ‘Kenton Christmas’, the little seaside village will look after all your needs.

Did you know?

Ancient beachcomber (strandloper) middens are to be found along the coastline around Kenton-on-Sea.

Kenton-on-Sea in the Eastern Cape lies snugly in the middle of some of South Africa’s finest beaches. The little seaside village – a long-time traditional holiday resort – stands between the aloe-lined Kariega and Bushman's rivers.

To this paradise of wide, clean beaches one must add rock pools, bays and rivers. Are you reaching for that canoe and paddle yet?

What’s also great about Kenton-on-Sea (simply ‘Kenton’ to the locals) is the fact that you can load up the family and head out to any number of nearby game reserves, many of which offer the Big Five.

The Kenton Tourism office is one of the best-organised outfits along the Sunshine Coast. As a newcomer to the area, you’re advised to pop in and have a chat with the friendly tourism promoters. They will provide you with a brochure that maps out the local coastal geography. You’ll know where to walk, what to photograph and where to simply hurl down that beach towel, lie down and chill out.

If you like the buzz of a summer beach crowd, then come down to Kenton at Christmas. Not only is it ‘bucket and spade’ heaven with blue-sky weather, but you’ll not want to miss the Kenton Music Fest on New Year’s Eve. It’s an all-day affair on a local farm and the performance line-up is usually top class. And if there is a rare bout of rainy weather, you can take shelter in a huge 1 200m2 tent set up for just such an eventuality.

Kenton-on-Sea and its surrounds can be enjoyed in a number of different ways. You can fly over it in a helicopter; you can walk from river to river along its magnificent beaches; you can go boating; or you can do a day drive to the local capital of culture, Grahamstown, or the mountain forest hideaway of Hogsback.

The village is replete with good restaurants and bars, and there’s a surprising amount of nightlife for such a small coastal resort.

But the main appeal of Kenton-on-Sea is its beaches, which provide one with the purely escapist opportunity to relax and dream...

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Kenton Tourism
Tel: +27 (0)46 648 2411
Email: tourism@kenton.co.za

How to get here

From Port Elizabeth, you drive north on the N2 for 40km and turn off on the R72. From there it's about 70km.

Best time to visit

Kenton prides itself on being a sunny destination year-round.

Around the area

The main event around Kenton is the annual National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in July.

Get around

If you’re staying near the beaches and only want that experience, then you won’t need a vehicle once you’re in Kenton. But for the best access to all the other sights in the area, it's best to have your own car.

What will it cost

Accommodation costs range from R300 per person per night upwards, depending on whether you’re self-catering, having breakfast or on full board.

Length of stay

Anything from a weekend to a couple of weeks.

What to pack

Pack for outdoor activities, occasionally chilly nights and water-based adventures.

Where to stay

The listed websites offer many good accommodation choices.

What to eat

Kenton has good access to fresh seafood, so take advantage of that in the recommended restaurants.

What's happening

You can go line dancing in the Kenton Hall on Monday nights, garden touring in August, while in December there is a special event almost every day.