Few people visit Port St Johns without being captivated. It stands where the Mzimvubu River reaches the sea between Mount Thesiger and Mount Sullivan in a majestic setting of tremendous cliffs, densely covered in sub-tropical forest.
The port was named after the Portuguese ship, St John, which was wrecked further up the coast in 1552.
It is a drowsy, easy-going sort of place, with three superb beaches, several rocky headlands, excellent boating up the river which is navigable for 10 km and many paths leading through the forest to beauty spots.
The climate is perfect for holidays throughout the year with sea temperatures high enough for even mid-winter bathing.
In the river valley grow bananas, pawpaws, mangoes, lychees and avocados. Roadside stalls sell beautifully made mats, baskets and curios.
Port St John is said to have many ghosts, including one which haunts a hotel. It has always been the home of outlandish characters, none more colourful than Huberta, the famous wandering hippopotamus. She stayed for 6 months and each night wandered up the streets, chewing up the gardens. Hippos had not been seen in the area for almost 100 yrs and there was much regret when she eventually left to continue her journey southwards.
The British maintained a garrison at Port St Johns during the scramble for Africa and coasters were still using the port right up to 1944.
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