The St Francis area was named by Portuguese sailors who sighted its shores in 1575 and encompasses Cape St Francis, St Francis Bay, Port St Francis and Oyster Bay. The small coastal village of Cape St Francis is on a headland surrounded by the Irma Booysen, Seal Point and Seal Bay nature reserves. Luxurious holiday homes are hunkered down in the low coastal scrub and have exquisite sea views.
Sandy tarred roads wind informally among the dunes and vegetation. Cape St Francis is famous for its lighthouse, its pristine five-kilometre beach between Shark Point and Seal Point, and its world-class surfing. Cape St Francis offers a holiday resort with a shop, restaurants and pubs.
In St Francis Bay, quaint thatched white cottages are laid out around a canal system linked to the Kromme River estuary, forming a marina where visitors can relax at the water’s edge. With the warm Indian Ocean breaking onto its gorgeous, unspoilt beaches, St Francis offers excellent water sports and adventures, including rock-, surf- and deep-sea fishing and boating on the river, which is navigable for 10 kilometres. The area falls within the Cape Floral Kingdom and offers birdwatchers and hikers a beautiful, gentle environment to explore.
The privately owned commercial harbour of Port St Francis is the hub of the area and is famous for its “chokka” (calamari), which can be sampled at the superb local seafood restaurants. The harbour also provides anchorage for recreational sailing vessels.
Oyster Bay is 14 kilometres west of St Francis Bay, over some rather bumpy dirt roads, but it is beautifully located.
A wide range of three- to five-star self-catered, fully catered, bed-and-breakfast, caravan or camping accommodation is available, much of it on the beachfront. The temperatures are wonderfully mild (12-25 degrees Celsius in winter and 15-28 degrees in summer), and those who have visited St Francis speak yearningly of its incredible sunsets and cannot wait to return.
Look out for
The Cape St Francis Light House at Seal Point is a National Monument and was built in 1878.
The Penguin Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre is situated on the grounds of the lighthouse at Cape St Francis. Feeding times: about 8:30 and 15:30.
Surf Seal Point at Cape St Francis - one of the most consistent point breaks along the coast – or the Endless Summer at St Francis Bay. Surfing lessons available. Sand-boarding is also great fun.
The Irma Booysen Floral Reserve – guided tours are available for those wanting to know more about the tremendously varied flora of the area, including endemic dune fynbos species. Hiking and coastal trails showcase the beauty of the area.
Golf – St Francis Bay Golf Club, and Jack Nicklaus’s signature St Francis Links.
Sailing – boat on the Kromme River, charter a fishing vessel or enjoy a Sundowner Cruise around the St Francis Bay Marina, departing daily from the Marine Harbour.
Shark Point - great whale-watching between June and November, especially September- October, when southern right whales enjoy the bay.