Wild Flowers in St Francis

Why visit Namaqualand when we have just as good on our doorstep?

wild flowers st francis

Not be as expansive as offered up in Namaqualand but our wild flowers are just as breathtaking.

Driving between Cape St Francis and St Francis Bay one does get a glimpse at some of the magnificent spring flowers presently blooming in the greater St Francis region. One of the benefits of the devastating fires of last January is that it cleared some of the alien bush and has allowed the spring flower to find their freedom and adorn our landscapes.

Cape St Francis Resort with FOSTER promoted a fantastic opportunity on the Wild Flower Chase, a supervised tour into the Air Park to experience the floral phenomena on our doorstep which although on a far smaller scale than the spring flowers of Namaqualand, certainly compete in terms of their beauty.

Dave Bowmer of FOSTER has set up an extremely interesting and educational display of the many types of Fynbos that are present in our region sampling many of the species with a live plant along with a description. This display was set up in one of the resort’s conference venues but as the room is presently being used for its intended purpose, conferences, the display is not available at the moment.  Anita Lennox of Cape St Francis Resort has informed St Francis Today that the resort hopes to be able to set up the display and tour, even if only for a day or two, to allow more people to experience our floral beauty.

So watch this space for as soon as there is more definite news on whether and  when the  Wild Flower Chase to see this floral beauty in situ in Air Park and IBFR may again be available, we will let readers know. We do however encourage you to book your place immediately if the opportunity presents itself.

Possibly in years to come our sping flowers could feature as a futher attraction and reason to visit St Francis over the Calamari Classic festival.

Educational racks displaying various flora

21 = Geranium Icanum | 22 = Gladiolus Huttonii

43 = Pelargonium | 44 = Pelargonium

33 = Indigofera

Bestmed Chokka Trail Run

Second annual Bestmed Chokka Trail Run

The second annual Bestmed Chokka Trail Run will take place on Sunday 6 August 2017 from the Cape St Francis Resort, with the highlight of the weekend’s trailrunning the 62km ultra distance.

Other distances are 30km, with 24km and 18km open to walkers.  A 5km family fun run will take place just before prize giving at 11h, while youngsters can participate in a 1km or 3km race on Saturday 5 August and enjoy an adventure sport programme on Sunday hosted by the Cape St Francis Resort allowing parents to compete with peace of mind.

The ultra will kick off at 05h00, so a head lamp is compulsory.  This distance is the only one to include the popular Sand River, the highlight of the Chokka Trail.  The 30km distance will start at 07h00, and the 23km and 18km at 7h30.  Race briefing is 15 minutes prior to each starting time.  All races will start and finish at the Cape St Francis Resort.

The staggered starting times will ensure that most runners and walkers be back by midday for the festive prize giving ceremony at 13h00.

Ultra and 30km runners must download the ORGSU App to ensure tracking and check in times at various waterpoints.  They can also leave a draw bag at the 15km/45km waterpoint at Duneridge Country House, and one at the 30km waterpoint at the Oyster Bay Beach Lodge is advised.

The Cape St Francis Resort offers a weekend special at R300 per person, book for 2 nights but you only pay for 1.  Children under 12 stay for half price.  Contact Anita Lennox on reservations@capestfrancisresort.co.za to book.

Registration and number collection will be at Joe Fish Restaurant, Cape St Francis Resort from 13h00 on Saturday 5 August, including registration for the 1km (starting at 15h00) and 3km (starting at 15h30) races.  Prize giving is 16h00.

62km runners can collect their numbers on Saturday between 16h00 and 20h00 only, no late entries on Sunday.

30km, 23km and 18km runners can also collect on Sunday from 06h00 – 07h00 but a late entry fee applies.

Registration for the 5km is from 09h00 – 10h45 on Sunday.

Entry fees are:
1km:  R20, race weekend R50
3km:  R30, race weekend R50
5km:  R50, race weekend R80
18km: R100, race weekend R150
23km: R150, race weekend R200
30km:  R250, race weekend R400
62km:  R400, race weekend R600 (no entries on Sunday)

Online registration is open on www.stfrancissport.co.za.  The Bestmed Chokka Trail Run is organised by St Francis Sport and hosted by the Cape St Francis Resort.

All proceeds of the 1km, 3km and 5km races will be donated to the Aurora Rehabilitation Centre in Port Elizabeth, and a donation will be made to SANCCOB, the rehabilitation centre for Sea Birds in Cape St Francis.

Cape St Francis Resort

Home, Food & Travel votes Cape St Francis Resort #1

In an article titled “Top 10 Beach Resorts From The Wild Coast To The Garden Route” Cape St Francis Resort reached the number one spot… here’s what they had to say:

Our coastline has a number of absolutely awesome places to spend the morning on the beach, the afternoon at the pool and the evening in a great restaurant. At Home Food and Travel, we are passionate about the Wild Coast, Sunshine Coast and the Garden Route – hence, we have selected our list of top 10 resorts from this area.

1. Cape St Francis Resort – Cape St Francis, Eastern Cape Choosing this resort to top our list was an easy decision. It is situated on one of the best beaches in the country; has a wide range of accommodation offerings to suit most pockets; has a great pool, pub and restaurant area that is also popular with the small local population and the resort has a great holiday feel about it.

Weddings at Cape St Francis ResortAnita Lennox, Manager at Cape St Francis Resort, says; “Family owned and run, we offer accommodation options to suit all tastes from luxury beach villas, family cottages to affordable apartments. Without a doubt, our proximity to one of South Africa’s best beaches and the activities that we have to offer set us above the rest.”

Liandè Barnard, Editor of Home Food & Travel, agrees; “This stylish and sophisticated resort has accommodation options for every taste and need – from beach mansions to holiday houses and apartments. Being walking distance from the beach, Cape St Francis Resort also boasts the Joe Fish Bar & Restaurant, Hibiscus Health and Beauty Studio, sparkling pool facilities and a convenient shop. This is, by far, my favourite resort.”

Darren John, the owner of the Wedding & Function Eastern Cape and Home Food & Travel Border franchises, adds; “Definitely the relaxation centre of Cape St Francis. The resort features comfy family accommodation which lacks nothing; is a stroll away from the beach; has a sparkling pool, great value restaurant and a bar area that’ll turn your afternoon into an evening without much persuasion! Stress relief from the moment you disembark your transport.”

Jeanice Schalkwyk, Bargain Buys Supervisor at Ricochet Publishing, describes; “There is nothing more rewarding than visiting Cape St Francis Beach Resort. The exclusiveness and tranquility make every stay worthwhile.”

Press Release – Cape St Francis Resort


Expedition Port Elizabeth

The only other reason to cross the Gamtoos would be to visit Port Elizabeth

The recent Expedition Africa was motivation to cross the Gamtoos River for the first time in over two years. The only other reason to cross the Gamtoos would be to visit Port Elizabeth and quite frankly cities were too much part of life for so many years to find any joy other than visiting through necessity.

So having to travel for a very early medical appointment in Port Elizabeth last week saw me crossing the Gamtoos river for a second time in a week. Not wanting to add to the stress of a very early morning drive in the dark (old eyes don’t see too good in the dark) for what was already promising to be a stressful day, staying overnight in Port Elizabeth seemed the only sensible option. Certainly staying with a friend would have been preferred but inconsiderate so the choice was either a hotel or B&B.

Having become a ‘true St Franciscan’ supporting anything St Francis will always be uppermost when making decisions on where to shop, stay or dine so the decision was easy knowing that Cape St Francis Resort has in its stable, a B&B in Newington Road on Richmond Hill, aptly named Newington Place. Having lived in PE way when this area really was in rather bad repair and it was certainly a revelation to see how beautifully these historic, Victorian homes have been so lovingly restored.

Newington Place

Newington Place a beautifully restored Victorian Home

In the mid 70’s I purchased a settler cottage (circa 1864) in Ivy Street on the hill when it could only be described as a slum. A few pioneers’ snapped up these little cottages (I paid R8500 for a two bedroom with an outdoor toilet) and so the area was gradually upgraded. Being young and energetic I soon had the cottage restored into a rather quaint little ‘yuppie’ pad and yes it now had an indoor bathroom.

But back to Newington Place!  Set on a large (double) stand on the corner of Newington Road and Dickens Street with a huge garden to one side filled with leafy green trees and colourful bushes and certainly a bird paradise. At the rear of the house, well away from the road frontage is a lovely and sunny garden with a sparkling pool, a built in braai and el fresco bar for visitors to enjoy as well as a newly built deck overlooking the garden, a perfect spot to chill out after a long journey or day in the city.

Newington Place Pool

Newington Place private garden and pool, a perfect spot to ‘chill’

With five bedrooms in the main house, a self-catering cottage and another self-contained unit in the garden, Newington Place is certainly worth considering if you need to stay in the city the night or for a few days. All the rooms have garden views and most of the bedrooms have flat screen TV’s but the common area with its large comfy couch is a far more sociable place to ‘hang out’ and chat with fellow guests or watch TV. Wandering around the passages there are some interesting pictures including what appears to be the original deed of sale. There is no doubt that care has been taken to retain the house’s originality whilst installing modern conveniences.

Newington Place en-suie bedrooms with beautiful period furnishings

Richmond Hill has benefitted hugely from the SRA (yes that word that seems to scare a few locals) and no better example of this is Stanley Street which is a short drive or taxi ride from Newington Place. Rather reminiscent of Florida Road in Durban there is a wide choice of places to dine and I chose a nice little pub that was really reasonable with a good draught beer at a very reasonable price.

So if you have an early flight out of or a late flight into PE and don’t want to risk a drive in the dark or for whatever other the reason you may have to stay over in the city, staying over at Newington Place certainly is worth considering. Nothing in Port Elizabeth is said to be more that a 20 minute drive away and Newington Place is certainly even closer to most, particular the hospitals and some great dining choices.

Final team arrives

Final team arrives and the party is on

Team Flud arrives after 150 hours on the raos

It is almost inconceivable the mental strength the back runner teams on the Expedition Africa must have had to keep going, knowing they were never in the prizes, yet they did. Two teams in particular must be congratulated for their fortitude. Team Cape St Francis team made of two ladies rather than just one as with the rest of the teams, finished late on Friday night after some 134 hours on the road with Team Fluid, the last team to cross the finish line on Saturday afternoon after over 150 hours on the gruelling course of this year’s Expedition Africa.  These are the real heroes of the event for they were not racing for glory but just the reward of achieving what must have seemed impossible at times. But they persevered and finally achieved their goal – to finish.

As written in a previous post last week, it is those who make up the back runners that make events such as this the success they are. Be it the Comrades, the Dusi, King of the Kromme or a community fun run, they don’t make up the numbers; they are the heart and soul of these events.

With the ending of this fantastic event many locals will be left with a void in their lives for a few days for there is no doubt it captured many of our lives for seven days. So many joined in by volunteering their services by manning the many control and transition points on the challenging course through some of the wildest and beautiful parts of the greater Kouga. These volunteers must be thanked for without their help this event could never have been the success it was. Camped out in the cold of night waiting hour after hour for the next team also must have had them wondering what they had gotten themselves into but they too persevered and stuck to their posts.

A word of thanks must got out to Stephan & Heidi Muller for bringing Expedition Africa to our region and for brightening our lives with such an exciting and prestigious event. Almost a year in the planning, their organisational skills are quite honestly, incredible. The logistics of planning and running such an event are quite simply mind boggling! Moving kayaks and cycles from one transition point to another in time alone was amazing.  So too was their reporting on the progress of the teams with their live tracking and continuous stream of news on social media. To see some of the great video of the event go to the official website expafrica.live.

Tired bodies and no doubt minds, gathered along with volunteers and locals to celebrate the event  at Cape St Francis Resort for the Prize Giving on Saturday evening.

First prize and free entry into the AR World Championship to be held in Colorado, United States later this year were, if you don’t already know, Team Skylotec Adventure from Sweden  with second place going to Team Thunderbolt AR from Australia and in third, the leading SA team, Team Nevarest Jabberwok.

Fasie Malherbe added to the occasion with a surprise where he offered a team voted for by the other competitors, a choice of a 10-day holiday for 10 people at any one of his properties – Cape St Francis Resort, Casa Malcampo situated in the small fishing village of Tofo, in Mozambique or Villa Tapenade in Croatia. The teams voted Team Cadena Challenger from Mexico as the lucky recipient of the prize.

Thankyou Stephan and Heidi for bringing Expedition Africa to our shores. It is an event that will live long in many of our memories and certainly many of us will be glued to social media next year when you repeat the event for the fortunate community of the Namaqualand Coast.