Port St Johns in South Africa – A Coastal Retreat with Wild Jungles

“I just had to dedicate a post to the little former hippie haven of Port St Johns in South Africa as the place totally blew my mind.”

A warm late September breeze blows through an open window of our old Toyota taxi van. As I am trying to look outside, the wind loudly tramps in my ears. On the outsides of the little bus, there is a long stretched out flag of South Africa. On the inside, loud South African beats enhance the crowdy atmosphere of the van. There is a man with a straw hat and no shoes and the woman sitting in front of me carries a small wooden cage with a chicken she just bought from a local street market in Mtatha. I know she bought it there because I saw it when we just passed there with the van. She got into the van with the caged chicken and she told the taxi driver to drop her off on the way. So did the other travel companions. It wasn’t planned though as originally I alone called for the van to drop me off in Port St Johns. At first, I expected I was going to be the only passenger. But as there was plenty of room left in the van, the driver decided on the road that he would also take other people with him. It was a surprise to me, but I didn’t mind. It was a rather pleasant surprise. “This is South Africa”, I told myself and smiled.


A view over the Port St Johns coastline

A Jurassic Park landscape

Arriving in Port St Johns, the vegetation around us started to get greener with the mile. Coming from a dry desert kind of landscape, the area around this little bay looked a lot like a Jurassic Park scenery (a very abundant wild and dense jungle). The movie could have been shot right here in Port St Johns.

I was going to stay at Amapondo, a backpackers hostel in Port St Johns that I just found on Booking.com 2 days ago. I chose to stay there because the place has a good rating.

Arriving at the town center of Port St Johns, it was only me again who sat in the van together with the driver. All other passengers had been dropped off on the way.

We drove up right to the hostel and as I had my tent with me, I got pointed up to the camping area. After that I put my tent up, right under a tree on a plateau with a view upon the mouth of the Umzumbe river, upon the wild coast ocean. I had gaze upon the view for a while, soak up the moment. It was beautiful. On my left side, there was a lemon tree on the same plateau with sizeable delightful lemons. Behind me, there was a jungle and my ears could only hear the wind and birds singing in the background.


A charming hostel

The Amapondo backpackers lodge in South Africa is a lovely place. The staff is nice, the views from the camping ground are wonderful and the breakfast is tasty. During the evening time, most people that stay over spend their time in the bar area. Most of them have a chat, some play games and have a drink.

The camping ground is the best part of the hostel. It’s a bit elevated from the ground, so you wake up with an amazing view over the river mouth of the Mzimvubu river.


A lemon tree at the Amapondo camping ground in Port St Johns.

A lovely beach

The beach in Port St Johns is beautiful. You can do good walks there and it’s an amazing spot for yoga or just to sit down for a while. The beach in Port St Johns might be one of the hotspots in the area as it stretchy enough and it located in a picturesque bay.

A river bank in Port St Johns, South Africa.

Two days in Port St Johns

How to spend two full days in Port St Johns?

Well, there’s a lot of cool things you can do here. You can visit an interesting airstrip, do a Port St Johns tour, do a day to a waterfall, Visit Pondo villages, ride horses, visit a nature reserve…

To get more information about these activities, visit the Amapondo backpackers website.

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Port st Johns South Africa
Port st Johns South Africa

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