Rediscovering Port St Johns : The Wild Coast Jewel

13 July 2017 Port St Johns, 5120, South Africa

My home can’t possibly be where my heart is, when i was 18 i ripped it ou of my chest and trew it into the indian ocean and unfortunately, I am no mam’lambo. Between the places my parents have rented and raised me in for the past 21 years and some change, my fathers paternal home in Lusikisiki where I’ve always felt out of place because of the ‘town kid’ priviledge treatment and my mothers maternal home in Tombo which I can’t really call home because my father wouldn’t be impressed, home is still a concept I haven’t quite mastered yet. I’ve always imagined myself buying myself a property somewhere around Port St Johns, putting my name on that title deed and waking up to the crowing of my chickens in the Hok every morning. How that’s going to happen with a Biochemistry oriented career is beyond me.

It took 3 years and some change of living in concrete jungle of Durban for me to realise what a gem this place is. The scores of tourists in their big bakkies with boats trailing behind them should have been my first hint. They would often lose their way trying to find one guest house or backpacker while on holiday and leave our school uniforms looking dusty after giving them the correct directions and sending them on their merry way. Thank God for the brick streets. There’s a reason why the information centre is right at the town entrance you know, but if its ever closed and you want to find you some accommodation, chances are you wanna take a left when you reach the intersection facing the Boxer super store complex and maybe make a small detour there to buy yourself some Mpondo traditional wear as a keepsake. The road straight ahead will take you through some shops, hawkers and on to a residential area.

I missed out on pretty much most of the good stuff this town has to offer. “Too touristry, probably costs an arm and a leg”. While I don’t really mind that scuba diving and swimming with dolphins wasn’t financially within our means and generally too strange of a concept for me to ever consider because lol, mam’lambo/ mami wata don’t play like that, I was too busy restocking or grocery shopping at the local spar, previously known as pick n pay, to ever walk into any of the restaurants for a meal. Not even the fish eagle restaurant (now called the waterfront) that for years has stood ever so beckoningly at the town entrance overlooking the Umzimvubu river mouth, right across the beloved KFC where I would often spend a portion of the money I made from selling sweets at school. I was too busy worrying about our school bus making it all the way up the mountain to ever take a moment to admire the view the way up to the old military base had to offer (it was my primary school back then). I can distinctly remember what appeared to be the most beautiful and clearest body of water right in the middle of a valley surrounded by the greenest of shrubbery and tall lanky trees, so clear I could see their reflection from the window as the bus turned the corner and not once did I wonder what everything would look and feel like from down there.

Places like esinuka for me represented a hotspot for amathongo and home to the tyranny that is the bitter tasting diarrhea inducing waters of hel that sangomas often travel far and wide to collect, not a spa day provided by nature although now that I think about it gives mpondo women the authority to call themselves the queens of facial masks. I don’t know whats in that mud but people who use it regularly have great skin! As bitter as I am about the stuff, it broke m heart to see the state of it. Its nowhere near as I remember it as a child. Maybe because I visited during the dry season? I don't know.

I wish I had more time to check out the Cape Hermes ruins and the beach and a better camera to capture the magnificent view of the moon rising over the the indian ocean offered but the Jungle monkey. I guess those are adventures for my next vac from university.Its about time I filled the lifestyle section of my blog anyways. With unsustainable developments sure to ruin the Landscape and all I’m lucky I get to come back to place like this and not to have had to completely lose this beautiful place before I truly appreciated it. Now, who wants to contribute to my vineyard and sorgum farms. Its about time the traditional mqombothi recipe gets and upgrade. Would anybody like to see a tutorial?Well, you’re going to have to subscribe and stay tuned now aren’t you?. Thanks for stopping by


  1. Have never visited but for me Port St Johns is a plant, a long legged creeper with lush pink flowers.

  2. Hi Diana. Cool comparison. Its got its own flaws buuut its a pretty beautiful place. Great to just come and breathe u know. Catch up with yourself, swim with dolphins and stuff. Hopefully I'll get to explore some more this place in coming vacations. Thanks for stopping by. Don't be a stranger.

  3. Thank you for sharing your hometown with us. I've been to PSJ once before and stayed at the lodge right at the entrance of the town next to the river... I can't remember what it was called. I remember being there in August and it was freezing cold in the evening and mornings. we drove up the hillside and saw amazing views of the ocean. Let me stop rambling :), yes please to the updated umqombothi recipe.

    Lungi |

    1. Oh You've been? I hope ubenjoyed ur stay. Thats awesome! Maybe u were at the PSJ river lodge or spotted grunter or cremorne or the pont river lodge. Wow this comment just made me realise how many there are. Yikes. Well babes to update the mqombothi recipe i will need vast amounts of land to plant amaguzu, amabele, amarula and need a few beehives lol. Hopefully this recipe will work out as well as it has in my head. But for now the standard one will have to do. Hopefully I'll have a tutorial filmed by heritage month.

  4. Great read, and I love how you have documented the experience with lovely pictures.
    I enjoyed it


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