Stay in Port Alfred, Eastern Cape

The jewel of the Sunshine Coast is a destination perfect for water activities and leisure time so why not make a trip down to a town that revolves around water like Port Alfred?

Driving from Cradock to Port Alfred is something else. Especially since it started raining and you still have to play Tetris on the Eastern Cape roads. The potholes are insane so you will survive with your tiny car but it’s best to have a high-clearance vehicle.

We drove through Makhanda onto the N2 and then onto R67; a windy route tucked away by lush-green forestry. The views are endless hills of life and it’s easy to see why it’s a holiday paradise.

Before arriving at our destination, you can’t drive through Bathurst and not make a pit-stop. Among the busy and packed restaurants and gift shops, you will find The Big Pineapple. Besides this attraction, Bathurst is steeped in history personifying the essence of the brave and hardy English Settlers. It’s still present in the architecture.

Standing at 16.5 m high with 3 stories, it’s one attraction you can’t miss. Known for its pineapple production, locals wanted to honour the pineapples by erecting this large building built in the 1980s. Try their pineapple beer and purchase pineapple souvenirs for memory’s sake.

Port Alfred is a ten-minute drive away from Bathurst. We arrive in humid conditions with a bit of rain and make our way to our accommodation for the next two nights. The Lookout Guest House has about 4 guest rooms ranging from a studio apartment to a 6-sleeper. We stayed in the studio with a spacious kitchen, an open-plan lounge with a television, and a queen-size bed. For R1100* per night, you won’t find a more peaceful retreat.

The establishment overlooks Port Alfred as well as the views of the famous real estate you see in images. The security community is picturesque so we try our luck to have a peek once we settled in but alas, we weren’t allowed in. Instead, we drove around the ocean, and admire the houses and sailboats.

For supper, our host jotted down a list of restaurants she recommends. We ended up going to Ocean Basket on Kowie’s river while sailboats went by and locals do somersaults to cool down as the evening descends.

Like many towns, history plays a pivotal moment in time since the 1800s with English settlers. Victorian parties and the old pontoon come up when you research the ‘hey-days’. You will certainly notice the Putt Bridge – the first reinforced concrete bridge in South Africa.

It’s the next day and the weather is looking rather gloomy so we head out for breakfast at Burksies. It’s a small establishment next to the river with a great menu selection. You can tell this is a small community because everyone knows everyone. Make sure to order the traditional breakfast with all the trimmings along with a hot cappuccino and, you set for the day.

We decide to spend the afternoon in Kenton-on-sea; 15-minute drive north of Port Alfred nestled between the Bushmans and the Kariega Rivers. The pristine beach is a given to explore so we parked our car, took off our shoes, and took a stroll along the sea.

If your stomach starts to rumble, stop at Pizzarella. It is said to be the best pizzas in town and, how can we not have a taste for ourselves? Since it’s packed with locals and tourists alike, we opt to order a takeaway and wait around the corner on a bench; overlooking the river. We grab our steaming pizzas, head down to the river, and eat in the car.

Nighttime fast approaches and we choose to stay in for the night; watching Matilda and eating leftover pizzas before turning in.

Even though the weather didn’t play in our favour and we never did a single water sport activity like cruising on a boat, it’s still a town worth visiting for some downtime and relaxation. Explore some of the neighbouring coastal towns and make a day out of it. Port Alfred is certainly a town worth spending some time in.

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Till the next small town.

Stephanie Marthinus Blog