The scenic Eastern Cape hamlet of Oyster Bay is a nature lover’s haven; a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.
About the area
Boasting a broad range of homes in various price categories – from cosy lock-up-and-go units, to sprawling, opulent beach houses – it’s a peaceful coastal spot that’ll almost immediately have you forgetting all your woes.
Besides neatly kept existing properties, many designed for optimal coastal conditions and carefree outdoor living, there are various plots available that boast fantastic views of the sea, nature reserve and surrounding farmlands.
A few of the homes have been around since the early years of the village’s history and are still owned by the same families whose children and grandchildren return again and again to their little slice of paradise.
Endless safe, sandy beaches and an interesting round-up of tourist activities, along with the hamlet’s close proximity to Jeffreys Bay, St Francis and Cape St Francis Bay make it an unbeatable out-of-season hideaway. But, for those who enjoy a little more activity and buzz, the pace can pick up quite significantly during peak holiday periods.
Oyster Bay is also known as a resort destination where all your holiday needs are met in one convenient location, whether you simply want to sun yourself on the beach, or prefer more adrenaline-inducing activities like a fun canter along the coast on horseback or sandboarding on the area’s dunes.
Linked to St Francis Bay and Humansdorp by dirt roads and forming part of the Kouga Local Municipality of the Sarah Baartman District, you will find the town about 22km from St Francis Bay, 39km from Jeffreys Bay and 110km from Port Elizabeth.
No traffic (and definitely no traffic lights) is a real boon in Oyster Bay. You might have to stop for cows crossing the road. It’s safe to walk or cycle along the long stretch of sandy beach. The village is tranquil and the perfect place to raise kids. Locals don’t know the street names – we only know the names of our fellow residents!
Lindy Lombard, resident
Where to stay:
- Oyster Bay Lodge is a four-star luxury lodge situated on a natural coastal reserve, including a 3,5km private sandy beachfront.
- Oyster Kaya offers rustic and comfortable, self-catering accommodation, while River Kaya, closer to St Francis, is right on the Kromme River and offers regular live music events, or just a fun day out.
- Oyster Bay Beach Lodge is a relaxed guesthouse on the beach.
Things to do:
- Explore the beach, dunes and coastal fynbos trails by mountain bike, or hit the dirt roads which locals call the Milk Route.
Birdwatchers are spoilt for choice; whale-watching is another big pastime at this time of year.
- The Huisklip Hike and Chokka Trail are popular routes, or head for Klippenpunt. Four trails have also been set out on the coastal reserve at Oyster Bay Lodge, each marked with different colours and varying from 3km to 7,5km.
- Explore the coastal reserve (accompanied by a guide) on horseback. You might also feel like a gallop or trot along the 3,5km private beach alongside the lodge.
- Experience the life of the dairy cows on the Grass Ridge Dairy farm. A guide will take you through the pastures and around the farm, as well as to the dairy to watch as more than 900 cows are milked daily.
- The Brakkeduine campsite and 4x4 route offer various adventure activities in a picturesque setting at the water’s edge, about 12km past Oyster Bay.
- Oyster Bay Lodge has sandboards for hire: you will be shown the ropes and can then go at your own pace with the board.
Best in food and drink:
- The Seagrass Restaurant and Bar at Oyster Bay Lodge serves a la carte breakfast, light lunches and a freshly cooked, set three-course dinner every evening.
- The Nautilus Restaurant and Bar at The Oyster Inn is a laid-back local restaurant that is open seven days a week.
This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.