FOSTER needs your help

A letter by the chairman FOSTER (Friends of St Francis Nature Areas) and recently published on their website bears republishing to highlight the difficult situation that FOSTER finds itself in the hope the St Francis community will show their support for this important association in all that they do in protecting our nature areas.

Dear friends of FOSTER

This is a special message from your Chair. The message is simple: financially, FOSTER is going under, owing to dwindling income and increasing costs. We need your donations to keep us afloat.
Take a glance at the graph below and you will see what I mean.

Our income from membership fees and donations – the funds we use for routine management of the reserves – is not keeping up with our costs. This is alarming.

The reason for this is that FOSTER has inherited over the past few years two new and demanding tasks, namely the management of the Cape St Francis Nature Reserve (the one to the east of Cape St Francis) and the maintenance of the fire access routes established after the Feb 2016 fire. The first task is the mandate of Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, and the second is the mandate of the Kouga Municipality. Neither organization has the capacity to adopt these mandates, at least for the next few years.

In the interim FOSTER is committed to the judicious management of our reserves. However, to do this we need to raise R100 000 per year from our members. What we can deliver in return is extraordinary cost-effective management. At R400 per hectare per year, our costs are minuscule compared to the average cost of R8 000 per hectare per year incurred in small, state-owned fynbos reserves in the Cape in 2000 (the figure has more than doubled by now!).

Let’s imagine what will happen to our reserve network should FOSTER no longer be able to continue with its management programmes. Paths will become overgrown and littered; the fuel load will become augmented with invading rooikranz; fire access routes will become impassable; and there will be a steady increase in poaching, snaring, livestock grazing and bush dwelling. It won’t be safe to walk in the reserves.

I’m not kidding. We at FOSTER have responded to all of these threats on various occasions over the past two decades.

Please don’t tell us to approach the Kouga Municipality – the land owner of most of the reserve system – for our funding needs. We have been to many meetings and sent countless messages, to no avail. The shift to a DA government has made no difference whatsoever. Our recent attempt to get the KM to maintain the fire access routes has come to naught. We may have to wait many years before the KM develops the capacity to assist us in managing its land.

I won’t elaborate upon our dealings with the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, which is responsible for managing Cape St Francis Nature Reserve. Suffice to say the response has been underwhelming.

What about fund-raising events as a source of income. Well, to be honest, our experience is that in most cases the returns do not justify the effort required of our committee members, all volunteers. Our December 2016 Fun Run, a demanding event to stage, yielded a paltry R12 000. We now have a December slot for a Golf Day; this is likely to raise much more. However, and importantly so, we use the money raised by these events to fund capital projects (e.g. signage, walkways, fire access routes) and not routine management.

To conclude: In all likelihood, the decline of our precious green spaces will impact negatively on property prices and increase our vulnerability to wildfires. For this reason alone, all property owners in Cape St Francis should support us. And for those of you, wherever you live, who cherish our beautiful places where nature has primacy, donate, and donate generously and regularly. And please, renew your membership and encourage others to join FOSTER. We need your money but we will spend it wisely.

You have my word.
Kindest regards

Prof Richard Cowling
Chair: FOSTER”

MEMBERSHIP: If your name is not on this list maybe you would like to add it. Click here for more details and to add your name!.

Fees are R100 per person or R150 for family or corporate membership.

FOSTER is a registered Public Benefit Organisation – all donations over R200 are tax deductible and we will issue the relevant receipt.

Fill in the form  or send us your details with your receipt.


Friends of St Francis Nature Areas
First National Bank
Br code: 210115
Acc no: 62179531598



Calamari Festival 2017

Calamari FestivalCalamari Festival 2017

St Francis Bay has long been famous for its wonderful sporting events in September including the Calamari Classic Golf, squash and bowls tournaments.   Players and competitors travel from far and wide to enjoy the sportsmanship on offer.   Building on this success Tourism is delighted to announce the introduction of the Calamari Festival on Saturday 23rd September.

Offering an afternoon of live music, market stalls, kids’ activities, food and craft beers the event will also include an exciting Calamari Cook Off competition, where professional and amateur chefs can go head to head to create a delicious calamari dish. The general public will have an opportunity to taste the dishes and be a part of the judging process where the winner will receive a floating trophy and be crowned Calamari King (or Queen) for 2017.

The festival will be taking place from 12-5pm @ Village Centre, in St Francis and will be an opportunity for families to relax and enjoy themselves while others are testing their sporting prowess.  Popular muso Ben Badenhorst has been confirmed in the lineup, along with Driftwinds and our very own Absent Irish.  The event is just one of many during a busy festival weekend in the area and is timed to fit in with prize giving and presentation dinners happening later that night, along with live music, activities and celebrations in venues throughout the Greater St Francis.

St Francis Tourism are excited to be introducing this family event and encourage everyone to be a part of the weekend.   Anybody interested in entering the Calamari Cook Off, having a stall or offering food and drink trucks at the Saturday event should contact the Tourism Office directly on

Tourism Members of the community who will be offering any special events, services or activities during the weekend are asked to notify the Tourism Office asap so they can be included in the full weekend programme.

For more info contact St Francis Tourism on or 042 294 0076

Also read about the Great Calamari Cook-Off



Calamari Cook-Off

The Great Calamari Cook-Off

Calamari FestivalA great opportunity to show your creativity in the kitchen preparing that winning calamari dish at the Calamari Cook-Off during the Calamari Classic on September 23rd. How often do we all watch TV cooking shows and competitions and think we could do better?

Well, now is your chance….  St Francis Tourism is proud to announce that the first CALAMARI COOK OFF will be taking place on Saturday 23rd September as part of the Calamari Festival 2017. Enthusiastic home cooks, amateurs and professionals are invited to go head to head to find the CALAMARI KING (OR QUEEN) of 2017.

All the action will take place at the Calamari Festival ground on the Saturday afternoon along with live music, market stall and family entertainment.   Prizes will be awarded for the best dressed ‘kitchen’, best team spirit and a floating trophy for the best Calamari Dish voted for by the public and a panel of judges.  Cook Off entry fees will be donated to NSRI Station 21.  In brief, each chef may have up to 3 team members helping him/her, and will receive 5kg of calamari, a Spar voucher for ingredients plus serving trays and cutlery for the public to sample his/her offering.

Entry is R100 per team and chefs must register their entry with the Tourism office where a full set of competition rules is available.