Port St Johns has a stunningly beautiful location alongside the massive Umzimvubu River, which flows between two 300 metre high cliffs. In fact, the river is so deep that until 1905 is was considered one of the best harbours in Southern Africa. Unfortunately, for shipping, the mouth has subsequently silted up, but for holiday-makers this makes for a wonderful lagoon.
Port St Johns is a popular backpackers’ haunt, with a number of options along the various beaches (with hugely original names such as First Beach, Second Beach and Third Beach). All types of accommodation are available in the town and along the river and there are wonderful restaurants to suit all tastes along the beachfront. The town is also a popular starting point for a two-day hike to Hole in the Wall.
The town is also a lovely destination for family holidays with an abundance of activities available on the beaches, the river and in the surrounding forests. For those who want to fly in, Port St Johns has about the scariest airstrip in the country, where if you don’t brake in time, you are likely to be swimming in the river 300 metres below. (And that’s assuming that there are no cattle sleeping on the runway!)
- Various beautiful beaches
- The Hole in the Wall
- Great fishing
Port St Johns is named after the Portuguese ship, the Sao Joao, which was wrecked north of this spot. Some believe, however, that it bears the name because on a clear day sailors could make out the profile of St John the Baptist, naturally sculpted in a nearby cliff face.