Cape St Francis is probably best known as a surfing and holiday village, what is not so well known is that it is the centre of the Squid (Chokka) fishing industry in South Africa. It starts with a fairly testing but fascinating walk over the extensive inland dune fields before joining up with a coastal path that passes through Cape St Francis and finishing in the St Francis Bay village and marina. It includes visits to the chokka processing plant and a chokka tasting, as well as a tour of the SANCOB coastal bird (mainly African penguins) rescue centre. A moderately easy hike, although the section across the dunes can be quite strenuous, depending on weather conditions.
Greater St Francis – St Francis Bay, Cape St Francis, Oyster Bay – Eastern Cape.
Shuttles to and from Port Elizabeth Airport
Trip Duration / Options
Option 1: (Standard) 4 days/4 nights
Option 2: 4 days/3 nights
Option 3: 3 days/2 nights (hiking day 3 and 4)
Option 4: 5 days/4 nights – self catered, backpacking
Start / Finish
Start: Oyster Bay – GPS: 34˚09'66.40 S / 24˚ 38'15.70 E
(vehicles are parked at the Cape St Francis Resort GPS: 34˚11'56.39 S / 24˚49'53.04 E, and hikers transported to Oyster Bay)
Finish: St Francis Bay – GPS: 34˚14'63.55 S / 24˚83'02.94 E
(hikers will be transported back to their vehicles in Cape St Francis)
Daily Time / Distances
Day 1: up to 19km Day 2: 18km Day 3: 16km Day 4: 12km
Day 1: 4 – 6 hours Day 2: 6 – 9 hours Day 3: 5 – 6 hours Day 4: 4 hours
On a scale of Easy – Moderate – Strenuous
This trail is moderate. A reasonable level of hiking fitness is required but most active hikers will manage.
Moderate fitness required. Difficulty is related to the weather on the day.
Technical detail / Terrain
Beaches, dunefield, footpaths, coastal forest and thicket.
3 and 4 star guest houses and a Resort
Food Supply / Catering
All food included – warm breakfast, lunch pack, cooked dinner plus calamari tasting and farewell meal. You only pay for your drinks.
Logistic support / Guiding
Accompanied by the owner on day 2, 3 and 4. Support vehicle can fetch hikers in need.
Visit to SA's only working harbour, Port St Francis. Calamari Tasting – unique in SA. Diverse route which includes sightings of middens, shipwrecks, the Seal Point Lighthouse situated on the south-eastern most tip of Africa, sunset cruise on the famous St Francis canals, the Oyster Bay Dune Bypass System – hiking 14km on a moving dunefield.
Swimming, snorkling, paddling
Fauna & Flora
Coastal forest and thicket, dune bypass system.
250 species of birds counted.
Seasonality & Best Time Year
Jan – Feb can be hot.
March – November ideal, might have 4 seasons in a day though!
4 – 16
Option 1: R5250 pp sharing – alternatives on application
Option 2: R6250 pp sharing
Option 3: TBC according to group size.
Option 4: R1850 pp
Option 1 – 3: accommodation, all meals, canal cruise, calamari tasting, transfers
Option 4: accommodation, calamari tasting
Here you'll find any scheduled trails that you can join. Trails may be booked up to one year in advance, so be sure to scroll ahead using the arrows on the left to find if there are any available. The trail operator page will also list any scheduled trails.
If you would like to enquire about different dates, please fill in the form below. Trails are initiated when someone makes an enquiry, and go ahead once the minimum numbers are confirmed.
Scheduled Chokka Trails
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