Port St Johns, Eastern Cape
Port St Johns is a swashbuckling village of legend on the Pondo side of the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape. It is also one of the highlights on any international backpacker's world itinerary because of its natural setting, frontier atmosphere and appeal to more adventurous younger travellers.
The village lies on the Umzimvubu River, Xhosa for 'hippo'. The most famous hippo ever to have visited Port St Johns was Huberta who ventured south in 1931 and settled upriver for more than four months during her trek from Zululand down to the Eastern Cape.
From one of the most interesting airstrips in Africa, one can see the famed Gates of St Johns (Mounts Thesiger and Sullivan) on either side of the river. Three good beaches, excellent fishing and a general atmosphere of live and let live have made the coastal village an attraction for young tourists looking for adventure on the wild side of Africa.
These days, tourists do far more than lie on the area's golden beaches. This is prime hiking country, full of forests and trails, where more than 250 species of birds have been recorded. Canoe trips, horse trails, dolphin and whale watching, golf and simply chilling out are all leisure activities regularly exercised in Port St Johns.
Cultural tourism and shopping for African items go hand in hand, and the choices range from reedware to walking sticks and quality fabrics. You can also go on guided tours to neighbouring Pondo villages to meet locals and see how they live.
The backpacker facilities in this African village are excellent. They cater for couples, solo travellers and small groups of young people. The backpacker lodges will help their guests set up activity itineraries every day, which include everything from jungle swings to unusual walking destinations.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Port St Johns Tourism Bureau
Eastern Cape Tourism Board (Mthatha office):
Tel: +27 (0) 47 531 5290