Port Alfred on the Kowire River became the first real stop-over on our journey North. A pleasant town at the mouth of the Kowie River in the Eastern Cape, Port Alfred has magnificent clean beaches, good fishing (yes, fishing) and a wide choice of places to stay over.
Blaaukrans, J-Bay and PE
Leaving Vic Bay, we travelled the Garden Route north-east, by-passing Storms River (it’s a marine reserve so no fishing) and heading for Port Elizabeth. I really wanted to take the old road – through the Blaaukrans Pass, bu no way – the road is still closed to all but a handful of residents, so had to stay on the boring N2 highway, over the concrete bridge. I wonder if that road through the pass will ever get repaired and re-opened…
Leaving the N2 at Humansdorp we made a brief stop at Jeffreys Bay for refreshments – what an eye-sore that place has become in the past fifteen years. Back on the old PE road, but once again had to detour back on to the N2. Arriving on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth (PE) late in the afternoon we discussed whether to stay over, or continue. PE has become a popular hloiday destination in recent times, but the camping facilities are not great – either extremely exposed to the howling winds, very run down, unsafe, the one fairly decent spot is horribly cramped – and way over-priced.
It was an easy choice to continue. Taking the Alexander Bay Road just outside PE, we veered back towards the coastline. (from Alex the road more or less follows the coastline to East London… Another hour and some – the road is not bad, but 80km speed limits are in place for long sections, we got to Port Alfred in the early evening.
Overnight on the Kowie Riverside
Arriving in Port Alfred (Kowie) we booked into the Willows Caravan Park, a small, pleasant camping ground on the banks of the Kowie River. Well kept, clean and well laid out. PE caravan and camping park owners should visit some of these places to get an idea what is required for a decent caravan resort!
Pitched the tent, and headed out for a few cold ales, and to find out how the fishing had been lately, where there were some good spots. It always pays to meet the local fishermen; usually they are a great friendly bunch, and Jen’s keenness always invokes comments – mostly humourous.
Later, armed with directions and tips (including where the ‘unsafe’ places were) we took a drive around to spy out the lay of the land. By now it was getting late, so after sighting a few interesting looking spots, decided to call it a night, and headed back to camp.
Morning on the Beach
Now I was starting to get into fishing mode, so a few hours after hitting the sleeping bags, I was getting the coffee going while Jen dragged herself up… By the time coffee was ready, the rods and kit were ready to go, so the first mugs were swallowed quickly, and with 2 vacuum flasks filled we headed for one of the spots discovered the previous night.
Gone are the days fishermen could use their vehicles to get to the hot-spots. Sadly, badly behaved moronic holiday hooligans have required the authorities to ban driving on the beaches. Instead of local authorities adequately policing and prosecuting those fools who turned the beaches into off-road racetracks and playgrounds, the entire nation has to suffer for their abuse. So fishermen had to get fitter, and used to taking long hikes loaded down with kit to get to where the fish are.
As it turned out, time was getting on, first light showing in the sky, so we found a likely looking spot, too dark to be sure, but it looked like a hole, and got down to the reason we were there – getting baited lines in the water…
A Kob for Jen
I started with a well presented squid bait, with a small piece of foam to give it some movement, while Jen settled for a piece of elf belly. Jen must have dropped the belly bait right in front of a kob – she was still taking up the slack when her bait was picked up. Kob sometimes take a bait so gently the angler has to be very alert to notice. Not this time however, the fish took its meal and moved off immediately, and a few minutes later Jen was working the fish through the surf break, into the shallows. Result – a nice size kob for the braai.
My early morning was not as succesful. After the kob, only a few undersized elf took our baits shortly after sunrise. By nine-thirty we decided to pack up, return to Willows for a shower and breakfast, and plan our next venture.
Ray the Fisherman