Golf at St Francis Links
Discover the destination that surpasses every expectation, every time – St Francis Links in St Francis Bay. The world-class links golf course is a must on your golfing holiday itinerary. It’s the perfect blend of nature, relaxed living and the oldest of golfing traditions, and as Jack Nicklaus said, St Francis Links may well be “…the best golf course he has ever seen”.
And while St Francis Bay is an outdoor enthusiasts’ hotspot with plenty of activities, restaurants and shops, you may find that at The Links they have everything your heart desires, including a spa, breathtaking walks, a renowned restaurant and a wonderful function venue – all backed by their unwavering philosophy to “treat their members as Royalty and their guests as Members” during their stay.
Discover awe-inspiring. Discover St Francis Links.
St Francis Bay Golf Club
St Francis Bay Golf Club is renowned country-wide for its warm hospitality and a great club spirit, which has been the essence of the club over the years, and continues to grow. For all golfers, especially those visiting the Eastern Cape in South Africa, the opportunity to visit St Francis Bay Golf Club for a couple of rounds should not be missed.
Situated in one of South Africa’s, if not the worlds, the most exclusive locations, St Francis Bay Golf Course has been fashioned on an incredible piece of estate that overlooks the ocean that the town of St Francis Bay is built up against. The club, originally a nine hole course designed by Robert Grimsdell and funded by Leighton Hulett in 1975 was for private use but has since then incurred dramatic changes and a further 9 added by Maxwell in 1999 resulted in the 18 hole it is today.
The par 71, of moderate length provides a challenge and breaking par on this “thinking” course is going to prove to be a challenge. Fail or succeed there’s always the 19th to work out just what happened! Activities in the area include swimming, surfing, windsurfing, sun-tanning, body boarding and wave skiing. There’s also an operational airfield nearby for the aviators among you as well as the Kromme River that makes for excellent fishing.
Zwartenbosch Golf Course
Zwartenbosch Golf & Lifestyle Estate is situated just north of Humansdorp, after the Humansdorp Golf Club had to relocate in the early 1990’s. This course was opened in 1993 by Gary Player. It was originally a Gary Player Design with Bent Grass Greens but was incorporated into a Phil Jacobs 18 hole championship course.
It has perfect greens, lush fairways and fantastic views from the clubhouse.
St Francis Canal and River Cruises operated by Cape St Francis Holiday Resort
Built in 1967, the canal system of St Francis Bay has become a leading South African tourist destination. Sit back, relax and enjoy the tranquil canal waters as your professional skipper escorts you through the waterways offering you wonderful views of the architecture, wildlife and as evening draws in, the spectacular sunsets.
Our luxury imported 12 seater barge known as ‘River Break’ is designed and licensed to carry up to 12 passengers on the waterways of not only the canals but also the Kromme and Geelhout Rivers.
RiverBreak activities are tailored to suit the needs of the individual or group with trips ranging from a 1 hour cruise around the canal systems to a full day excursion up the Kromme or Geelhout Rivers. A minimum of 2 people is required to book River Break but commonly is shared amongst guests.
Guests have the option of bringing their own refreshments or all catering can be done through the famous Joe Fish Restaurant and prices can be structured to include South African wine, beer and cider.
From 1 hour cruise to a full day adventure
If you’ve settled into ‘African Time’ and have a full day to spare then there is no better way to spend it than book a full day ‘River Break’ excursion. Starting from the small boat harbour on the canals in St Francis Bay, board and take a leisurely cruise through the unique and picturesque St Francis Canals to the entrance of the Kromme River.
The 10km Kromme River offers spectacular views of the mountains of the Groot Winterhoek, and abundant wildlife. This river system forms part of a conservancy and is a haven for birds and animals. Fish Eagle, Kingfisher, Drongo. Oyster-catcher and numerous other bird species vie for your attention. Bushbuck graze the tranquil river banks and leguaan bask on the muddy banks.
On leaving the Kromme River your journey will take you along the picturesque waters of the Geelhout River until your final destination… your very own private farm.
On arrival at the farm known as the ‘Bat and the Boerboon’ you have the rest of the day to relax at the pool, paddle the still waters in a canoe, take a stroll through the fynbos thickets or simply sit and chill as your lunch is prepared.
Enjoy calamari starters followed by a full, traditional South African braai (barbeque) and a sumptuous dessert to end this awesome meal. At your leisure, board the barge for another relaxing cruise back toward St Francis.
For the full day river and farm adventure a minimum of 6 people is required.
RiverBreak has been used successfully for team building activities, birthdays and functions, corporate outings, family gatherings or simple private excursions.
St Francis Hiking and nature walks Operated by Cape St Francis Resort
Experience the natural beauty of Cape St Francis and the surrounding area via stunning reserve and coastal walks
Cape St Francis is home to no less than five beautiful nature reserves, Cape St Francis Nature Reserve, Seal Point Nature Reserve, Seal Bay Nature Reserve, St Francis Field Nature Reserve and Irma Booysen Flora Reserve.
These reserves offer a wide variety of walks suitable for all levels of fitness and experience. These walks, hikes and trails take you through natural coastal lands filled with indigenous plant and wild life.
What is so special about these areas?
South Africa is extraordinarily rich in plant and animal life and scientists have classified the different kinds of vegetation across the land. The southwestern Cape region is especially blessed in plant species, so much so that it is recognized as one of only six Plant or Floral Kingdoms in the world. Known as the Cape Floral Kingdom, it extends roughly from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town and inland, covering about 90,000 km2 and is home to 9,000 plant species, 70% of which grow nowhere else in the world (i.e. endemic to the Cape).
These plants are not scattered randomly across the landscape. Instead, from one hill to the next, different plant species grow together in their own communities. This means that the entire region is divided into these vegetation types, comprising plant species that grow in their particular area and nowhere else.
Our local vegetation type is the St Francis Fynbos/Thicket Mosaic and only grows on the lime-rich coastal sandy sites scattered between Tsitisikamma in the west and Port Elizabeth in the east. The conditions under which this vegetation type can grow is a relatively small area comprising 0.2% of the Cape region. Botanists from all over the world have visited the area discovering new species of plant life that are only found in this area.
Keep those eyes peeled for wild life
Look out for bushbuck, grysbok, common duiker, bushpig, porcupine, vervet monkey, caracal, yellow and grey mongoose and otters. You can sometimes see the rare African black oystercatcher and occasionally an endangered Jackass penguin. Bottlenose and common dolphins are often seen offshore and, from August to December, southern right whales may be spotted.
Experience the area with a 4 day/3night Chokka Trail
St Francis Canals
Leighton Hullet bought nearly 3 km of river frontage (179 morgen beside the Kromme River) and began to work on the canal system in 1968 with a dreger that he build himself.
In 1976 the first part of the canal system was completed with an eastern and western outlet to the Kromme River. The St Francis canal system is the largest man-made web of canals in the country. The canal system boasts a small craft harbour as well as a popular restaurant and is, together with the Kromme River, playground for the water sport enthusiast and fisherman alike. Paddling and Stand Up Paddling, swimming, boating, fishing, and especially late afternoon canal cruises are popular pastimes. Small boats can be rented on a day-to-day basis, and moorings are available for tourists who bring their own craft.
The Cove (the western outlet into the Kromme River) is a popular swimming spot for families as one of the sides will assure protection from the prevailing wind of the day.
Resident homes around the canal system are known for their black roofed and white- walled building style.
Little Venice Adventures
Enjoy a relaxing cruise around our canals or rent one of our 15Hp boats to explore our residential marinas. Also transport / shuttle service available for all your travelling in and around St Francis Bay.
- Family Friendly
- Canal Cruise
- Wheel Chair Friendly
083 436 7234
The Gamtoos, Grootrivier, Kouga, Kabeljous, Seekoei, and Kromme Rivers are but a few of the river fishing and boating spots the Kouga has to offer.
Fly fishing is possible both in the Baviaans and rivers close to St Francis and Jeffreys Bay, and grows on a annual basis in popularity as clean cold water flowing from the mountains provide us with the perfect fly fishing opportunities.
The age old sport of rock fishing on our rocky coastline will always be a favourite amongst locals as well as visitors, with many a fishing story to add after your visit.
A few fishing charter companies at Port St Francis and in Jeffreys Bay will gladly share their secret fishing spots with you. Annual deep sea fishing competitions are hosted mainly in July/July for tuna and other game fish, as well as over the Christmas holidays. It also includes rock and surf fishing.
- Kromme River
- Whale watching
- Cape St Francis
- St Francis Bay
- Oyster Bay
Whale and Dolphin Watching is available from Port St Francis as the Kouga’s only licensed boat based whale watching permit holder operates from there.
Irma Booysen Flora Reserve
The Irma Booysen Flora Reserve can be entered at various points in Cape St Francis, and has well marked intertwining routes through the reserve. The trees are marked for easy identification, and benches are placed throughout the reserve to enjoy the view over the headland with two points, unique in the world.
Conservation of the reserve was due to the late Irma Booysen, wife of founder of Cape St Francis Jim Booysen. Her family were the original owners of the farm Ongegunde Vryheid. During the development of the farm to a township, Irma persuaded her husband to set aside a tract of land for the preservation of the unique coastal fynbos (delicate bush) of the area. She was a great lover of nature. She painted the many diverse species of plants in the Reserve.
Fynbos is the term given to the vegetation typical of the South Western Cape, where wet winter rains and hot, dry summers occur. The term ‘fyn’ denotes the fine structure of the leaves of most fynbos plants. The area is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, the smallest kingdom but with the most species (there are 7 floral kingdoms in the world).
The fynbos in our region is called dune fynbos and is particularly rich in species. Many are endemic (occur nowhere else) to the region. Unfortunately, it is highly fragile and easily destroyed or altered by human activities. Much of the veld is now in danger of becoming extinct due to overdevelopment, extensive farming and the encroachment of the Australian Wattle, Rooikrants.
A walk in our Reserves at springtime will convince you of the fact that the Cape Floral Kingdom has the most species. You may be familiar with a particular scent associated with Cape St Francis. This is given off by a particular species called a Garlic Buchu. A myriad of interesting insects, reptiles, small animals and birds inhabit the Reserve.
- Family Friendly
- Cape St Francis
- Nature Reserve
- Hiking Trail
Seal Point Lighthouse
The Seal Point Lighthouse, standing at 27,75m, is the tallest masonry lighthouse in South Africa and is situated on the second southernmost point of Africa. Built in 1878, the lighthouse is still operational with a modern radio beacon, fog signal and fog detector.
The 28m circular masonry tower supports a lantern house and second order revolving lantern consisting of 8 catadioptric lens panels. The lighthouse was declared a National Monument in 1984. Today it is hard to imagine that it took 2 weeks per ox cart trip to bring building supplies in from Humansdorp, as many rivers and gorges had to be crossed.
- Cape St Francis
St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis are meccas to all watersport enthusiasts. Surfing has always been a big part of watersport in this area due to the stretch of magnificent beaches in and around this area. Blessed with the perfect combination of warm water, calm seas and fair breezes this area has inspired many ocean sports including surfing, kite surfing, surf skiing, paddleskiing and stand up paddleboarding (SUP) alike to bring thrills to your life.
Kite and Wind Surfing
The Kromme River Mouth in St Francis Bay is an excellent kite surfing spot, as is Paradise Beach and Cape St Francis in various winds.
Consistent good wind and surf make these popular spots for kite and wind surfing. Kiteboarding is a surface water sport combining aspects of wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding, and gymnastics into one extreme sport. A kiteboarder harnesses the power of the wind with a large controllable power kite to be propelled across the water on a kiteboard similar to a wakeboard or a small surfboard, with or without
footstraps or bindings.
Kitesurfing is a style of kiteboarding specific to wave riding, which utilizes standard surfboards or boards shaped specifically for the purpose. There are different styles of kiteboarding, including freestyle freeride, downwinders, speed, course racing, wakestyle, jumping and kitesurfing in the waves.
Even if this is not for you, it makes one spectacular sport to watch!
Paddling and SUP
The Kouga boasts ample rivers, canals and the ocean for surf skiing, paddling and SUP’s.
The long stretched beaches are perfect for padding as well as stand up paddleboarding (SUP), the fastest growing ocean sport in the world. The Kouga has easy conditions and perfect for the beginner to intermediate SUPer. One can start with the easy breaks and slowly move yourself up to more advance spots as you progress. Even when there are no waves one has the option to do a long distance ocean paddle with beautiful scenery and marine life. This makes St Francis with the canals and river mouth a SUP heaven.
For the more advanced and experienced SUPer we have the wild open ocean side of the bay. Situated outside the protected bay, these areas get raw ocean swells that break onto rocky outcrops which is what makes it an advance to expert surf spot. The untouched beaches are virtually unspoiled and you are bound to spot southern right whales nursing their calves. Around April to November we can also spot the breeching humpbacks migrating south to mate and give birth. Over 10 000 humpbacks pass through these waters every year. The inquisitive inshore bottlenose dolphins are always around and love surfing the swell with us. You’ll also run into the more conservative humpback dolphin and some African penguins.
St Francis Bay Squash Club is home to two doubles courts and one single court. The club hosts an annual tournament in February/March which attracts players from around the world.
The sport of bowls is a healthy activity which caters for all ages both young and old. It creates a fun environment for the social player as well as an atmosphere for the competitive sports person.
The most consistent waves occur between about May to mid September, also often coinciding with offshore winds, although good waves can occasionally occur at other times of the year. The initial discovery and promotion of the wave is curious. Another nearby right hand point wave at St Francis Bay was first idolised and promoted in the cult classic surf movie The Endless Summer in the 1960s.
There are a few tennis clubs in the Greater St Francis area with courts in Oyster Bay, Cape St Francis and St Francis Bay. To promote the sport and to meet new friends, non-members are always welcome.
Two sand dune boarding spots provide endless fun for young and old in the Kouga area: Oyster Bay and Jeffreys Bay, where our beaches are home to some of the biggest and most spectacular dunes in South Africa. Adventure companies offer sand boarding where you can rent equipment and find instructors.
Feel the wind blow through your hair, while there is nothing but serene beauty surrounding you. Sand boarding is very similar to snowboarding; it is fast, fun and easy to learn.
St Francis Safaris
Ocean adventures include – Whale watching July through to Nov close encounters with these amazing animals. Eco tours year round boat cruise up the coast looking for dolphin, seals penguins. Trips 1.5 hours.
Fishing half day year round a mixture of bottom and trawling all bait and tackle suplied you keep your catch. Our experienced skippers will take you to the fish. Canals – Cruise around the extentive canal system taking in the stately homes very relaxing for the whole famly.
- Canal Cruise
- Wheel Chair Friendly
082 569 3750
Kouga Day Trips
Guided day trips to places like ADDO Elephant Park, Baviaans Wilderness Area, Storms River Mouth, Gamtoos Valley, Langkloof, Tsitsikamma or what you want to see.
We cater for small groups (1-6 persons) and tailor made the trip to suit your style.
082 490 6340
Sea Bird Rehabilitation Centre
A SANCCOB Seabird Rehabilitation Centre is based next to the Seal Point Lighthouse in Cape St Francis, and a must to visit. SANCCOB (the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) sees to the rehabilitation of the highly endangered African penguin and other vulnerable seabirds.
Their work mainly involves treatment and care of sick, injured, oiled and abandoned African Penguins, Cape gannets, cormorants, Oyster Catchers, Terns and Seagulls.
In a non-spill year, the centre typically treats between 300 – 350 birds, with more than half of the birds admitted being penguins from the two colonies, Bird and St Croix Islands, in Algoa Bay, Port Elizabeth, which collectively support 60% of the global African penguin population. With less than 2% of the global African penguin population left in the wild, it is of great importance that SANCCOB and their partners (such as SANParks) and the public work closely together spot any seabirds in need of care and are admitted to the centre for rehabilitation (3 week to 3 month process) before being released back into the wild.
Visitors are welcome to the souvenir shop and behind-the-scenes tours, which are great assets to their cause. Tour groups are welcome. A number of filming crews and travel agents visited Cape St Francis because of the centre.
Educational programmes at SANCCOB include the Wild About Exploration lessons, where they strive to educate local schools about the integrity of the marine environment. Forming part of the Walk along the Wild Side Schools Programme, groups of all ages are received at the centre.
As a registered non-profit organisation (2001/026273/08, 003-134NPO), SANCCOB is wholly reliant on public donations and sponsorships of public awareness and fundraising initiatives which contribute enormously to their work.
042 298 0160
Seal Point Lighthouse, St Frances Way, Cape St Francis, 6313
Port St Francis
Port St Francis, one of a few privately owned harbours in South Africa, is also home to a diversity of restaurants, retail outlets, commercial offices, a hotel, conference facilities, residential property, self catering accommodation and guest houses.
Port St Francis, a working harbour is home to a large fleet of squid, hake and pilchard vessels with more moorings filled by charter boats, deep sea fishing boats and yachts from all over the world. The moorings are surrounded by residential penthouses and apartments in a Mediterranean building style. A business centre with offices, restaurants and other retail outlets finishes the picture.
The launching of boats, loading and offloading of vessels, crew fixing large fishing nets and fishermen coming back with their daily catches are quite intriguing and fascinating to the visitor and holiday maker. This all contributes to the unique vibe of Port St Francis, giving the first time visitor enough reason to come back, again and again.
Coordinates Port St Francis: 34° 11’ 02” S 24° 51’ 04” E