So much potential! - The town itself is in a terrible state, dirty and falling apart. The tourism office was also closed for the entire time we were there. This little town has such amazing potential. Come on municipality, get yourselves in gear! The accommodation and nature in Port St Johns is truly stunning and they would benefit greatly from upgrading of the town center. But even though the state of the town is a bit sad, we will be back there in no time, having fallen in love with the people there!
PSJ in a minute - Port St Johns is not the cleanest town and their municipality is failing them with dilapidated infrastructure etc. It’s quite popular but needs some TLC. We had fun nevertheless.
Zoliswa Bacela South Africa
Not what we were hoping to find - I think the place has lost its lustre and after hearing great reviews we wanted to see for ourselves. As we arrived on Boxing Day and there is only one entry and exit to and from the town, I doubt we will return that way.
Disgusting - So disgusting ....so dirty .....so full of litter ....will never go back .....let them have it ...!!!!!
I would not give it a star rating at all but this web site makes you have to .
Not good - The place resembles a big squatter camp.
Neil Myburgh South Africa
Beautiful views - Port St Johns' surroundings have beautiful views and natural forests and very good fishing spots.
Not too impressed with the town itself.
Raymond Pratt South Africa
Nice rural place - Port St Johns has very nice natural forests and beaches. The people are great and the atmosphere is relaxed. Beautiful place!
Nick Scheunemann South Africa
Port St Johns. - Teleurgesteld.
Port St Johns is regtig nie wat ek verwag het nie dis vuil en slordig glad nie n dorpie waar jy wil oorbly nie. Ek wonder wat met die dorpie gebeur het dit lyk tog of dit op n stadium n mooi dorpie was.
Jaco Pieterse South Africa
Port St Johns is a dump. - No town planning, no refuse removal, no development, just rubbish and bottle stores. A very sad place indeed.
David Sternberg South Africa
Heavenly... - Wow, what a heavenly place! Ocean meets beach meets jungle meets river meets authentic pub after adorable pub. Life is good.
Anita du Toit South Africa
Jungle and ocean - Port St Johns is an unexpected place but beautiful as long as you love lush jungle and yellow sandy beaches!
thomas bakker Netherlands
Rural town, but worth the visit! - I was a little taken aback by how rural the town is. Made me appreciate my blessings. It is a long drive from Mthatha to PSJ (about 80+ km) and there are many potholes in the roads. However, Second Beach is like something out of a fairy tale. Plus, the trees and shrubs are the greenest I have ever seen in my life. Find a nice guest house/resort for an enjoyable stay in PSJ.
Melanie Prins South Africa
Port St Johns - Beautiful nature! The town itself is not a favourite.
Anna Johansson South Africa
Don't visit it not safe at all - Not safe at all in Port st johns.
Port St Johns - Nature lovers paradise.
Hein Taljaard South Africa
Port St John's Got Talent - Port St John's nestles in a luxurious sea of indigenous green nourished by a sub-tropical climate that means if you plant it - it will grow. It sits on the edge of the ocean where the mighty Umzimvubu river meets a sea whose wild and unpredictable nature has claimed many a shipwreck. Framed by mighty mountains and hidden by its small size Port St John's would be easy to miss - but make sure you don't.
Port St John's has always attracted the talented and the artistic, the adventurers and the musicians, the hippies and the free thinkers. It's as well known for it's 'Transkei gold' the cream of the marijuana crop as it is for it's alternative travelers.
It's a town that has the ability to charm and embrace all types and talents. Nature lovers could tell you about the beautiful beaches, waterfalls, mountains and the glory of the spectacular ancient indigenous forests. It would all be true. Those in search of a more true 'African' experience would relish the untouched African villages and the chance to witness tribal customs that have been long abandoned in the modern world . A real fishermen could not willingly miss this last frontier, they would tell tales of nothing less than paradise. Shark diving, the sardine run, deep sea fishing, quad bikes, motor bike scrambling - adventurers would say it's most aptly named the wild coast.
Port St John's tempts you to leave the big city behind and embrace the vibrancy of a bustling African town. Small tatty stalls frequent the streets selling everything from oranges, bananas and cabbages to lighters, radios or intricate bead work. Music fills the less than clean streets and smiling faces greet you everywhere if you only smile first.
Tribal drums pulsate through the evening air but so does techno music from taxis. The modern world collides with ancient superstition and old ways of life in Port St John's. You are just as likely to see a local Sangoma or witch doctor in feathers and animal skins queuing at the tills of the local supermarket, as you are a teenager with a mobile phone glued to his ear.
Now is the time to experience this tiny piece of paradise as change is definitely coming. But one thing is certain Port St John's may be small in size but it's big in talent.
Barbara Radford South Africa
Unwind delux - My stay in Port St Johns was the most relaxed I had been for a long time! Away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, you have no choice to kick back and just enjoy the spectacularly beautiful beaches this town has to offer (don't swim on second beach though!!).
Our hosts at Amapondo Backpackers were super friendly and we had a great walk to the waterfall during our stay with some fellow travellers. I recommend if you just want to totally rejuvenate yourself without any modern distractions.
Tamaryn Bradfield South Africa
Port St Johns - Port St Johns as a destination has the allure of the old colonial Wild Coast. It has however been overtaken by times with the deforrestation of the Mt Thesinger Reserve just to the northwest of the town and a blooming informal settlement.
The facility that we book was a big disappointment. No amount of words can describe it. It reminded one of stories from Treasure Island and was rustic in the true sense of the word.
If one were on a student / backpacker's budget, then the place would not be so bad... The garding is also a bit misguided...
Mbongeni Tukela South Africa
Port St John's - Definitely Different - Do you know I could tell you about the spectacular beaches, the incredible nature, ancient forests, views to die for...sounds familiar - well it's all true but what really makes Port St Johns different? It's a place with a history of shipwrecks and smugglers, hippies and wayward spirits, it's always attracted the different. Don't expect pristine streets, or modern shopping malls if thats your ideal holiday then give PSJ a miss. If however you want to experience the vibe and friendliness of what some might call the real Africa then come on down. Be quick it's changing fast so now is the time. The lack of development has left a pristine coastline and spectacular nature which quite frankly may not be here in 10 years time. It's not for everyone, but if you want to take a walk on the wild side this is the place for you. But be warned, you might just catch what the locals call 'Pondo Fever' they are the tourists who came, saw and never left. Hey I'm one of them. Barbara (From London, England.)
Barbara Radford South Africa
Port St Johns - Port St Johns – also known as the Jewel of the Wild Coast and Paradise in Pondoland, is situated at the mouth of the Umzimvubu River, about half way between Durban and East London.
As the only coastal town in the former state of Transkei, Port St Johns has seen ups and downs, and has some fascinating history. The area was first visited by the Portuguese in the 1500’s.
Most articles on Port St Johns highlight the relaxed lifestyle, writing of the little village as if it were caught in a marijuana induced time warp, that never made it out of the ‘60’s hippie era. This not true - the town does have its fair share of colourful characters, but mostly they are talented artists who make a living by plying their respective trades.
The beaches are white and deserted, and have the unusual phenomenon that you are more likely to see cows there than people. Washed by the warm Indian Ocean, bathing can be done nearly all year round. The beaches are surrounded by high cliffs, which in turn are clad in sub tropical forests, which are home to over 250 bird species, including the rare Cape Parrot. Vervet monkeys and Samango monkeys are the most commonly seen mammals in these forests, but bush buck and puti (blue duiker) live here too.
The business centre of Port St Johns itself doesn’t hold many attractions, it is well serviced by supermarkets and other stores, and most goods are available, but it does tend to be crowded, with hawkers taking up every available space. But it is safe to walk around, and an hour spent browsing, could see you come home with some fun, inexpensive items.
The Pondo people have lived in this area for centuries, and their culture and traditions can be seen everyday. Port St Johns does not have any artificial ‘cultural villages’, only the real thing, and visitors are welcome to visit kraals and villages in the area, and share some ‘mqomboti’, the traditional, homemade beer. Sangomas, traditional healers, which are misnamed in Western culture as ‘witch doctors’ are often seen taking part in ceremonies on the beaches or in villages.
Eating out in Port St Johns is varied – restaurants range from the extremely Bohemian to regular a la carte. A number of popular pubs welcome both the locals and tourists. Wild Coast crayfish and oysters are sold by local fishermen, as are other fish.
Accommodation in Port St Johns is also varied – from village based to Back Packers, to 4 star lodges. The most picturesque are situated on the Umzimvubu River banks. They offer assorted amenities, and are very comfortable.
Port St Johns is the centre of the annual Sardine Run. This is the fore runner to KZN’s Sardine Fever, where the fish wash up on the beaches there. Here, off Port St Johns, the tiny fish do not come near the beaches, but swim in their millions, up the coast, creating the marine equivalent of the Masaai Mara migration. Thousands of dolphins, porpoise, shark and sea birds follow these shoals of fish and feed off them. The sardine run coincides with the annual migration of whales en route to their breeding grounds off Madagascar, making Wild Coast the venue for Earth’s most spectacular marine event, which is enjoyed by both divers and sightseers.
If you prefer out of the way places with character when on holiday, Port St Johns could be just what you’re looking for. No shopping malls, no movie houses, no traffic. But you will find great weather, spectacular scenery, friendly people and wonderful memories.
Kathryn Costello South Africa
Overnight stay only - Only overnighted, so can't comment too much on Port St Johns - but the "town" is dirty and shopping difficult (battled to buy a toothbrush!) Had two WONDERFUL meals at North East West South Restaurant. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Jean Thomassen South Africa
Not in January - Gorgeous beaches and fantastic hikes and coast line! River is brown and seeps into ocean - making for Zambesi shark infested water and dangerous swimming in January. Any other time of the year - could be fantastic!
Diante Fuchs South Africa
Beautiful surroundings with a neglected town - The Spar is great and KFC was welcome.
This jewel of a town is unfortunately being neglected as far as infrastructure go. People we dealt with was very friendly.
Maria Compion South Africa