The Sunshine Coast is a malaria-free area and home to a number of game reserves (nearly all hosting the Big-5) and the only Nature Reserve hosting the Big 7 (Southern Right Whale and the Great White Shark). Enjoy the various habitats, from ocean, riverine, dune bush, grassland to forests. The area has 480 recorded bird species, a birders haven!
Our nature reserves offer excellent hiking and canoeing opportunities.
Woody Cape – Alexandria forest: from Kenton to Boknes, turn right at the 4-way stop, drive 600m & turn left to Cannon Rocks and then follow the road down ‘the golden mile’ through some of SA’s finest dairy farms, pass Woody Cape, enjoy the magnificent views of the ocean, Bird Island, the southern hemisphere’s largest shifting dunes and then through the Alexandria indigenous forest and on to Alexandria.
(The road can also be accessed from Cannon Rocks. Go straight across the 4-way stop onto a short farm road/track and turn left at the T-junction)
‘Poor man’s game drive’: from Kenton drive 12 kms west (or 13kms east from Alexandria) on the R72, turn right (left if coming from Alexandria) at the sign to Ngcyo & Emlanjeni and take the dirt road flanked by Big 5 game reserves, over the Bushmans River, cross the R343, continue through game reserves, cross the Kariega River onto the Southwell Road and turn right back to the R72 and Kenton. The drive can be as rewarding as anywhere, is ten minutes from Kenton and costs nothing!
(These two drives can easily be combined into one – suggest Woody Cape first. Time required is approximately one and a half hours to ‘whatever’, depending on the number of stops to enjoy the beauty of the scenery and game sightings)
The Sunshine Coast boasts 300km of pristine coastline. Swim at one of of 4 Blue Flag beaches, hike along the pristine coastline, enjoy a spot of fishing or simply soak up the sun. Many of our beaches are dog friendly, and provide excellent Surfing, Snorkelling, Body Boarding and Dune Boarding opportunities.
A number of artists and talented folk reside in the Sunshine Coast. Come and explore the excellent art galleries, studios and crafts on display.
The Sunshine Coast has 300km of coastline, 10 rivers, and a small boat harbour in Port Alfred. Boating, canoeing and water sports are arguably the most popular activities in the area. The Kowie River is navigable for 22km; and the Bushmans River 24km. Canoeing is popular in Kleinemonde, the Kap River, as well as on the Kowie River in Port Alfred.
The picturesque small boat harbour in Port Alfred is situated alongside the Royal Alfred Marina and is home to private boats of all descriptions, from private ski boats, fishing boats, millionaire's yachts, canoes and rafts. Across the river, at the mouth of the harbour, is the Ski Boat Club, host to the NSRI (National Sea Rescue Institute).
The Sunshine Coast has a rich tapestry of history spanning the Koi San, Frontier Wars, Settlers, right through to modern history. Take a fascinating journey through our world. Be sure to collect a copy of our heritage map available at the Tourism Offices in Port Alfred and Kenton on Sea for a self guided heritage tour.
Port Alfred and surrounding environs has some superb birding spots. There is a wide variety of habitats, nature reserves, hiking trails and private game farms where one can see some Eastern Cape specials. This coastal area has estuaries that provide feeding ground for waders, many of which visit our shores from the Northern hemisphere. Common Whimbrel, Curlew Sandpiper, Greenshank, Little Stint and Grey Plover mingle in with the resident Three-banded and Kittlitz’s Plovers, Blacksmith Lapwings and Black-winged Stilt. Occasionally, Bar-tailed Godwit, Terek Sandpiper and Eurasian Curlew are seen, but not as often as the “regulars”. Ruddy Turnstones frequent the rocky outcrops along the seashore, as do African Black Oystercatcher, Sanderling, White-fronted Plover, Kelp Gull and various species of Tern. Low tide is the best time to look for birds here, as rocky outcrops and mudflats are exposed, making feeding possible.
Up and out of the river valleys, habitats merge throughout the district – grassland, thornveld, dense scrub, farm dams and pans, riverine bush and cliffs abound. Birds to be seen in the more open areas scattered with Acacia trees include Rufous-naped and Red-capped Larks, Black-winged and Crowned Lapwing, Denham's Bustard, Chinspot Batis and Black-crowned Tchagra to name a few. Nearer the farm dams, African Stonechat is often seen, while Cape Longclaw and Long-tailed Widowbird display overhead in the breeding season. The reedbeds fringing pans, dams and rivers are where Black Crake, Lesser Swamp Warbler and other rather secretive birds skulk. Various species of Weaver breed here too, including Village, Cape, Yellow and Thick-billed Weavers. In the taller dense scrub, Fiscal Flycatcher keeps a watchful eye from the top of a bush, while Southern Tchagra dwells in the matted undergrowth and thicket. All in all, there is much to be seen here. One just has to know the right places to see the right birds
Rock and Surf Fishing along the Sunshnie Coastline offers excellent fishing opportunities. The most popular fishing spots are:
3 Sisters - walk west from Kleinemonde to the deep troughs at 3 Sisters
Great Fish River - fish from the rocky outcrops east of the Great Fish River
Koiwe River Mouth - Fish off the west pier in Port Alfred
Sharks Bay - situated between West Beach and Kellys beach - the deep troughs offer excellent fishing
Port Alfred has 5 Museums - Namely:
Situated off the R67 to Bathurst. Open by appointment (Contact: 046 604 3600) Free admission. This little museum has a lovely collection of aviation memorabilia and depicts the story of 43 Airshool through World War 1 and II. The original 43 Air School opened in 1942 as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme during WW11. It was used primarily for the training of observers, gunners and wireless telegraphers, and in its heyday housed 2000 people, had 2 cinemas, an Olympic-size swimming pool and hangered up to 100 aircraft, mostly Avro Ansons and Airspeed Oxfords. After the war, the school closed down and was finally abandoned in 1956. Jim Davis, well known in Aviation circles, bought the property in 1988, renovated some of the buildings, upgraded the runways, installed a control tower and founded 43 Air School. Today 43 Air School is one of the finest Air Training facilities in the world, training airline pilots from across the globe. It also houses a state of the art air traffic control training facility and full maintenance facilities. The 43 Air School museum houses memorabilia of the glory days of flying as well as a full Impala Mk1 jet on a 3m high column
Situated at Hawkins Industrial Park, 91 Alfred Road – free entrance (donations welcome). Open on the last Saturday of the month from 9.00 – 12.00 or by appointment. (Contact Dave: 082 453 2618). Established in 2010 by the Albany Vintage Club and run by members. The collection includes many beautiful vintage cars and bikes including some rare models.
Situated 1km from the Pig & Whistle on the R67 to Grahamstown. Open Monday – Saturday 9.00 – 16.00 (12.00 on Wednesdays and Saturdays). Admission R15 Adults; R10 Children under 12. Established in 1970. There is an impressive collection of over 1600 exhibits, ranging from household items, yesteryear toys, ox wagons, buggies, tractors and implements – something of interest for young and old. Children are encouraged to enjoy this museum.
Situated at the old Port Alfred Station. Open Tuesday - Saturday 9h30 - 12h30. Established in 1982, the Kowie Museum preserves, catalogues and displays records of the town's history and it's people. Displays include Victorian, Naval and Railway artefacts, photos and paintings of Port Alfred, including Xhosa customs and beadwork. There are extensive 1820 Settler records (Morse Jones cards) and a number of valuable books.
Possibly a ‘daub ‘n wattle’ cottage to start with, the original house was built in 1840 and has undergone many changes and additions over the years as a private residence. William Cock, probably influenced by the crenellated buildings at Hope Farm and Selwyn Castle in Grahamstown, added decorative crenellations to his 6-roomed home, giving rise to the name Cock's Castle. As the manor house of Port Kowie at the time, colonial dignitaries and visiting Governors were entertained at Richmond House. In 1999 the property was remodelled and the main house rebuilt. It offers self-catering cottages, a concert venue and a dedicated private museum, where salvaged artefacts from The Castle, and the history of the owners and alterations, are displayed. Richmond House Museum is a private museum established in the grounds of Richmond House. The museum building is a 1948 replica of the original Castle and traces 175 years of owners and alterations. The collection includes informative panels, original fireplaces, light fittings, millstone, 2 nautical cannons, flagstaff, an original Union Jack, photographs, paintings, letters and documents as well as the Cock family tree. To view: Saturdays 10-12:00 in December, otherwise by appointment 082 4567 437