Port St Francis celebrates 20 years!

This month marks the 20th anniversary of the completion and opening of Port St Francis, one of the few privately owned and managed harbours in South Africa, as home to the more than 50 “Chokka” (calamari squid) fishing boats of the St Francis Bay fleet, and also as a substantial small craft harbour and marina.

The Port is unique in that not only is it a viable, working, commercial harbour, but is also a residential marina, boasting a wide selection of residential units, with its own retail outlets, excellent restaurants and bars, and marine supplies right on the premises.

The waters off St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis are prime fishing grounds for Calamari, a favourite delicacy both at home and abroad. Following the construction of the Canals and the small-boat  harbour at the canals, fishing boats based in Port Elizabeth found it useful  to use the facilities there. However, this soon became impractical and the need for a suitable harbour, right here in St Francis Bay, was becoming increasingly evident. That is when the idea of combining a working harbour with residential and holiday accommodation was conceived and soon became a reality, and Port St Francis was conceptualised and born.

There being no natural inlet for the harbour, a suitable site was selected, and excavations of the inner harbour and construction of the breakwaters commenced. This was after all the necessary EIA’s were carried out and approved. Much of the rock dug out of the new harbour basin was effectively used for the construction of both the main and secondary breakwaters, as well the reclamation for the housing development adjoining the secondary breakwater.

The Port St Francis small craft harbour and marina provides a protected water area of about 2,5 ha, with around 200 moorings for recreational and fishing craft. An innovative breakwater design saw the first deployment of Core-Locs, an economical single layer armour unit developed in the USA.

Construction was completed in November 1997 and today more than 50 “Chokka” boats from various commercial companies utilise the Port as their home base. This industry has a massive economical effect on the financial success of St Francis Bay and surrounding area.

With its 236 accommodation units already developed around the harbour basin, and plans for more to come, the financial impact of the Port on the local economy is immense, when one considers that retailers, wholesalers, building contractors of every description, the marine boating industry, building material suppliers, food and beverage outlets, estate agents and many others get a major share of their annual income from the harbour and the residential sectors at the Port, not to mention the many employment opportunities created for the local community.

During the tourist high seasons, Port St Francis fills to capacity as holiday makers flock to our shores, either as residents at the Port or in St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis villages.

The visitor gets an up-close experience of the “Chokka” fishing industry, with the added advantage of being able to take a leisure sea cruise, a deep-sea fishing charter or even a whale and dolphin watching charter directly from the Port! Twenty years on, and Port St Francis has become a “must visit” tourist attraction, a solid residential investment opportunity as well as an integral part of the local St Francis Bay community.

To celebrate this anniversary, all restaurants, retail outlets and charter operators are offering “Birthday Specials” during the month of November, so join us in our celebration in wishing Port St Francis a Happy Birthday!

For more information conyacy General Manager: (Mike Nunan), Port St Francis Property Owners Association.  042-2940954 or visit www.portstfrancis.org