Port Alfred

Port Alfred is a small town with a population of under 21 000 in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.

It is situated on the eastern seaboard of the country at the mouth of the Kowie River 30 km West of Cannon Rocks.

Port Alfred lies on Route 72 between Port Elizabeth and East London and is known fondly as the ‘heart of the sunshine coast’. Port Alfred boasts a wonderfully mild climate, never too hot or cold. Rainfall is in the spring and autumn months.

The Kowie River, which flows into the Indian Ocean is navigable for about 28 kilometers upstream and divides the town in two. The banks are linked by a couple of bridges. Boat cruises and various hiking trails navigate this river region, rich in indigenous fauna and flora (African Fish Eagle and many more).

One of its most distinctive features is the Royal Alfred Marina with houses facing the canals which are linked to the Kowie river. Associated with the marina is a small boat harbour, providing mooring for a variety of vessels from luxury yachts and other pleasure craft to sporting and commercial deep-sea fishing vessels. The town enjoys a mild climate and award winning beaches, Kelly's beach has Blue Flag beach status, making it one of the top beaches in South Africa. Port Alfred is growing rapidly due to a high number of retirees and holiday makers building houses there.

Port Alfred is home to Southern Africa's largest air school, 43 Air School. In addition, Port Alfred is also home to Stenden South Africa, a Hospitality Management Education Institution. Stenden is a satellite campus of Stenden University in the Netherlands. This campus attracts a large number of international students to Port Alfred, South Africa every year.

Port Alfred has many activities for visitors including fishing (rock, surf and excellent deepsea fishing), Scuba diving, canoeing, water skiing and tubing. Other sporting activities include golf (Port Alfred boasts one of the seven "royal" courses in the country), horse trails and surfing, with Port Alfred being regarded by many as one of the best-kept surfing secrets in the country.

For visitors seeking dry land entertainment, there is always the Gary Player golf course at the Fish River Sun hotel, just 20 minutes drive from the town. Guests can also visit the Shamwari game reserve or the famous National Parks Board Addo Elephant Park. There are a few shopping centers, although not very large, restaurants, pubs and sports bars (including favorites like The Highlander sports bar).

Port Alfred was established in the early 1820s by Rachel West and Nicky Reid who had been moved into the area by Lord Charles Somerset as a buffer between the Western Cape and the Ama Xhosa. Originally it was two separate towns (1820 Settlers arriving on the West bank named it Port Kowie and those arriving on the East Bank named it Port Francis). In 1839, William Cock started to block the natural river mouth to the East and canalize the present opening to the sea. This allowed high-masted sailing ships with their heavy cargo to dock at the Wharf. Later, in 1860, when Queen Victoria’s son Prince Alfred visited, the name was changed to honour him.


Port Alfred as seen from 6km on Google Earth.

Port Alfred is located on the junction of the R67 and R72 roads. The R67 connects Port Alfred with the N2 at Grahamstown to the north, while the R72 joins the N2 near Colchester to the west and follows the coast to East London in the east.



1. Horse Safari on the Fish River - Port Alfred - Telephone: +27(0)46 675-1271 or +27 (0)82 433-5662

2. Kite Flying - Telephone: +27 (0)46 624-4432

3. Fish River Country Club - Port Alfred - Telephone: +27 (0)40 676-1101 (Boasting a Gary Player designed golf course.)

4. Grahamstown National Arts Festival - Grahamstown - During July

5. Royal Port Alfred Golf Club - Port Alfred - Telephone: +27 (0)46 624-4796

6. Shamwari Game Reserve - Eastern Cape - Telephone: +27 (0)41 407-1000

7. Sibuya Game Reserve - Eastern Cape - Telephone: +27 (0)46 648-1040

8. Allan Schenk Safaris - Eastern Cape - Telephone: +27 (0)83 784-9031

Call Allan Schenk for an unforgettable hunting expierience. For more information on Allan Schenk Safaris please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.allanschenksafaris.com.

9. Oceana Beach and Wildlife Reserve. Only 8 km outside Port Alfred enroute to East London. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Tel: +27 (0)83 616 0605

10. Mansfield Private Game Reserve. Only 6 km from Port Alfred on the R 67 to Bathurst. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Central Reservations +27 (0)86 174 3374 or Tel +27 (0)46 624 8199