Port St Johns Accommodation and Information
Welcome to Port St Johns the easygoing heart of the Wild Coast! You will find comfortable accommodation in Port St Johns that ranges from guest lodges and bed & breakfasts to relaxed backpacker hostels, where formal dress is unknown.
Port St Johns lies on the banks of the Mzimvubu River where it reaches the sea between "the Gates" of Mount Sullivan and Mount Thesiger. It is accessible via a good tar road and is a major tourist attraction on the Transkei coast, with a climate that is perfect for holidays year round and a wealth of activities and attractions to tempt the visitor.
Port St Johns Map
Includes: 8 attractions, 3 activities and 15 establishments providing bed & breakfast and self catering accommodation.
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Boat Launch Site
Meet the interesting characters and experience the Xhosa culture, visit the sulphur springs and mud caves or enjoy the sunrise from the top of Mount Thesiger, go fishing for the big one, learn to surf, explore the forests or simply chill out on the secluded beaches.
The town has always been a favourite holiday spot for those in the know. Tourism has picked up lately, and these days there is a steady stream of tourists from both South Africa and abroad, seeking everything from relaxation to the unusual.
Port St. Johns is named after the saint, but there are two conflicting theories as to why:
The first is that is was named after the Sao Joao (Saint John), a Portuguese ship that was wrecked on the 5th June 1552 at the mouth of the Mthamvuna River, 89km to the north (near Port Edward). The theory is that the location of the wreck was later confused with the Mzimvubu River, the present day site of Port St Johns.
The British, in the interests of security and the rule of law in the area, took control of the port in 1878, in a deal agreed with Chief Nqwiliso of the Pondo tribe, which lived on the western bank of the river. General Thesiger and Commodore Sullivan oversaw the hoisting of the British flag on the 31st of August 1878 at White's Landing Place. A garrison was quickly established at Fort Harrison, close to the Ford at Davis Drift, though this was later relocated to the river mouth in 1882.
The sleepy town has played host to some interesting characters over the years and even Huberta the wandering Hippo found the place to her liking, taking up residence in the river for 6 months in 1930, before her wanderlust got the better of her and she headed south once more. Port St Johns became a municipality in 1935 and saw the close of its harbour in 1944.
The white enclave remained separate from the Transkeian territories until 1976, when it was ceded to Paramount Chief Kaizer Matanzima, as part of a deal that would create an 'independent' Transkei homeland.
Directions & GPS Coordinates:
Take the N2 national highyway to Mthatha. On entering Mthatha, follow the route markers an turn on to the R61 to Libode and Port St Johns. Drive along the R61 for 93km and the road will lead you directly into town.