Tour the canals of St Francis Bay

2017-09-21 06:00

WHETHER you are here for a day or an extended vacation, no visit to St Francis Bay is complete without a canal tour.

Built in 1967, the canal system has become a leading tourist attraction that is popular with both locals and visitors. So, hop on board a boat and cruise around the expansive network of canals.

The water flows into places and past landmarks that cannot be accessed from the street, bringing explorers up close to some of the town’s most incredible sites that would otherwise go unnoticed.

The canals furthermore offer spectacular views of the mountains of the Groot Winterhoek and nearby farmlands, and is a haven for wildlife and over 40 different species of birds.

It even gives visitors a glimpse of the 1km secret beach.

The Swan of Brisan

Starting from the small harbour on the canals in St Francis Bay, board The Swan of Brisan and take a leisurely 7km cruise through the unique and picturesque St Francis Canals to the entrance of the Kromme River with Captain Kevin MacInnes.

“Originally established as a small fishing camp by the late Leighton Hulett in 1954, his insistence on a specific style of architecture ensured the development of a village that is a harmonious blend of black and white homes, set against a background of azure sea and linked by canals,” says MacInnes as he navigates his boat through the older side of the canals. Or as he calls it: “the wrong side of the canals” which boasts the three ugly sisters - three of the oldest houses formerly owned by three ugly sisters.

There is even a blind canal, home to the only optometrist in the town.

“These houses are in sharp contrast to the more modern houses on the opposite side of the canal that can cost up to R30 million,” says MacInnes.

“With only 16 properties left, some 85% of properties are holiday homes. Holiday season sees the usually quiet town transform into Sandton@Sea for the rich and shameless,” says MacInnes laughingly.

“But once the visitors have left, I am the stud of the town: I am a scallywag and I have a boat.”

Passing the homes of the rich and famous, one enters the main canal where the oldest house - Moon River - still stands proud, parallel with the river.

The canals are furthermore home to 17 restaurants.

For more information, contact MacInnes from The Swan of Brisan at 083 266 7824.

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