human settlement in South Africa

Port St Johns is a town on the Wild Coast of South Africa.

Port St Johns

Renowned worldwide for its open beaches, awesome weather and wild waters, Port St Johns and the Wild Coast offer visitors to South Africa an opportunity to experience unspoiled Africa.

Visitors to the small town of Port St Johns will encounter an eclectic mix of local characters and African flair. The friendly chaos of this bustling coastal community is inviting and mesmerizing. Many visitors describe their experiences here as “distinctly African”; striking a balance between the changing face of rural South Africa and traditional recognition of the past.

Second Beach, Port St Johns
Second Beach, Port St Johns

Get in


By bus


The fastest way to get in and out of Port St Johns is catch a taxi from the Rank in Port St Johns to Durban. Takes about 4 hours and is about R110.

The Baz Bus runs along the Wild Coast on its way between Port Elizabeth and Durban making it one of the best options in this part of the country for the more pampered traveller. The Baz Bus does not serve Port St Johns and a drop off for the Port St Johns hostels is made at Mthatha.

Best public transport from Mthatha to Port St Johns is on the public taxis (R31 each way.) Catch a taxi from Circus Triangle (ask anywhere in town and someone will guide you) or phone the Port St Johns backpacker operation ahead of time and they will organise collection for you.

However, on the whole public transport, apart from the ever present day-time-only taxis, in the Wild Coast is sparse.

By car


There are two ways to get to Port St Johns by road. On the R61 from Mthatha the N2 highway to Durban or East London) or in a winding route north-east to Port Edward on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal.

Cars can be rented at the Mthatha airport.

By plane


Fly directly in to Port St Johns and land on top of Mount Theisger.

There is an airport in Mthatha serviced by the national airline SA Airlink from Durban International Airport or Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport direct to Mthatha.

Get around

  • Walk around town
  • Drive the Wild Coast
  • Take a ferry on the river
  • Explore Second Beach and Silaka Nature Reserve by foot
  • Visit town and the Lighthouse by foot
  • Do Mpantu and Agate Terrace by vehicle
  • Visit the top of the town by vehicle - Gap and Airstrip
  • Visit the top of the town by foot - Sullivan or Thesiger walks
  • The River: canoeing, lunch at Mpantu and Sulphur Springs
  • Take a drive out of town to see Magwa Falls
  • Angling. Sea fishing is a must do during your stay. The locals will be happy to show you the best places to catch a bite.
  • Surfing. Lifeguards on duty at 2nd Beach and Agate Terrace.
  • Diving. To dive at the Wild Coast is to discover the fascinating beauty of the underwater world - unspoilt, colourful, alive.
  • Horse riding. There are various places to hire horses in the area.
  • Walking. There are many hikes along the coast or in the mountains.
  • Hiking. The Wild Coast Hiking Trail offers backpackers some of the most spectacular coastal wilderness in southern Africa.
  • Birdwatching
  • Boardsailing
  • Boat trips
  • Canoeing
  • Beach combing and shelling
  • Golf



There are several small-scale volunteer programs in the area. Projects range from preschool, junior and secondary schools to after school and community projects.

  • Amapondo Backpackers, +27 47 564-1344. Restaurant and bar.
  • Cremorne Estate, +27 47 564-1113. A la carte restaurant and bar. Great breakfasts!
  • Delicious Monster, Second Beach, +27 47 564-1317. Has the best view in town.
  • Jungle Monkey, First Beach, +27 47 564-1517. Restaurant with pizza oven.
  • News Cafe (Outspan Inn), Main St, +27 47 564-1741. Good food and bar.
  • Umzimvubu Retreat, First Beach, +27 47 564-1105. Restaurant serves excellent food and cakes.
  • Wood'n'Spoon, Second Beach, +27 47 564-8202. Try their cheese fondue or hamburgers.




This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under R500
Mid-range R500 to R1000
Splurge Over R1000


  • Amapondo Backers, +27 47 564-1344, fax: +27 47 564-8280, . Doubles R250.
  • Glass House, +27 72 332-3569. From R225pps.
  • Jetty River Lodge (Cross the bridge, turn right on to gravel road, travel 1 km till you see the sign), +27 73 816-8407. 2 bed and breakfast rooms, 5 self-catering, 1 wheelchair-accessible room. Set in a beautiful tranquil garden on the mighty Umzivubu River. Camping and caravans welcome From R150pps.
  • 1 The Kraal (From Port St Johns: Travel 20 km on the R61 towards Mthatha. At the Isilimela Hospital/Mpande turn-off, turn left. The Kraal is 20 km down this road), +27 82 871-4964, fax: +27 43 683-2098, . The Kraal Eco Backpackers Lodge is an eco-sustainable rural haven situated on the hills above the Indian Ocean, located in a village, Tswelleni, which translates from the Pondo dialect to "onion". Camping: R110 per person. Dorms: R160 per person. Share a hut: R250 per person.
  • Umngazi River Bungalows, Golf Course Drive, First Beach, +27 47 564-1115, . From R155pps.


  • Jungle Monkey Backpackers, 340 Berea Rd, 1st Beach, +27 47 564-1517, . R250 per room.
  • 2 Ntafufu Eco Lodge (formerly Khululeka Retreat) (25 km from Port St Johns), +27-60-678-6443, . If you want to get off the beaten track to a place that is unique for its beauty and unspoilt surroundings. Set in an indigenous forest, high on the hills with an awesome 180-degree view of the sea and estuary. You can take various walks: to the river, along the beach, explore footpaths in the forest and grassland, mangrove swamps or go to the village of Mtambalala and experience rural village life (either guided or on your own). To access the beach, they rent out two-seater canoes. (There is no car access to the beach.) Self-catering rates: low season R420 per person sharing, R510 per single room, R210 for children under the age of 12 years if sharing a room with parents; peak season (13 Dec 2017-8 Jan 2018) R480 per person sharing, R590 per single room, R240 for children sharing.
  • Kingfisher Cottage, Poenskop Road Agate Terrace, +27 72 755-7734, . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. 2 beautiful self contained cottages each sleeping 6/8 people set in a tropical garden and only metres to the beautiful unspoilt Long beach R200-R300.
  • Outspan Inn, +27 47 564-1057. From R325pps.
  • Spotted Grunter Resort B&B, +27 47 564-1279. From R390.
  • Umzimvubu Retreat (B&B, Self Catering), +27 47 564-1741. R350pps.



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