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Port Alfred is a small town 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, almost exactly half-way between the larger cities of Port Elizabeth and East London. One of its most distinctive features is a beautiful marina with a number of luxurious houses facing on to the canals.
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. Port Alfred is home to Southern Africa largest air school – 43 Air school.
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The city enjoys a mild climate and award winning beaches, Kelly’s beach has blue flag status, meaning it is one of the top beaches in South Africa. It is growing rapidly due to a high number of retires and holiday makers building houses there.
The Kowie River and Port Alfred are also best known for its incredible sandy beaches that stretch for miles and the preservation of its largely English fishing village atmosphere that dates back to its beginnings as a settler village.
Today Port Alfred is the ‘heart of the sunshine coast’ and is home to a large yacht harbour, residential marina and is an active commercial and residential town with a Gary Player golf course at the Fish River Sun and a number of cinemas, restaurants and shopping centres. The wonderful warm Indian Ocean and a largely temperate climate make Port Alfred’s beaches wonderful for swimming and collecting shells.
Port Alfred is a water sport enthusiast’s destination enhanced by the navigability of the Kowie River for some 28 km upstream.
Port Alfred is set about halfway between Durban and Cape Town. It has a temperate climate which avoids the tropical humidity to the east and the cold wet winters of the west; instead it offers halcyon summers and winters of golden days and crisp nights.
The locals favour the months of March to July in Port Alfred claiming: “This is where summer spends the winter.” Rainfall 750-1000 mm per year. Average temperature 15-17,5 degrees C. Steeped in history, Port Alfred is a popular departure point for serious researchers who, along with more casual explorers, are rewarded by many quaint places of interest in town and countryside, all signposts to the rich and varied history of the region.
The Kowie History Museum and the Bathurst Agricultural Museum are excellent starting points. Along the banks of the Kowie River and the surrounding countryside settlers met Xhosa people.