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Royal Alfred Marina a piece of paradise

Port Alfred estate a destination the whole family can enjoy

The Royal Alfred Marina in Port Alfred
PRETTY PERFECT: The Royal Alfred Marina in Port Alfred
Image: CATHERINE RICHARDS

De Wet Steyn brought the idea back to SA and about 14 years later the planning for the Royal Alfred Marina in Port Alfred began.

Now, hundreds of families enjoy the canals on the private estate.

One of the first families to buy in the estate was Gqeberha resident Tracey Hutton’s family.

“My parents built on the marina in 1994,” she said.

Tracey, her husband, Richard, and their two boys, Zach and Ross, love spending quality family time at the marina. 

“Between my parents and our family we try to visit as often as we can.

“At least once a month in winter, but more frequently in summer.

“Our best time of the year is the three or four weeks we spend there every December.

“The vibe is there but you feel relaxed.

“The houses are lit up with Christmas lights and the best time of the day is from 5-7pm when most residents hit the canals for their evening booze cruise.

“Port Alfred is a special place for families and the marina is its own little piece of heaven.”

It was during a recent trip to the Royal Alfred Marina that my family and I also enjoyed this piece of paradise.

We were hosted by the very efficient Ronelle and Niven in their gorgeous waterfront property.

The house was clean, beautiful and equipped with everything we needed for an enjoyable weekend stay. 

As soon as we unpacked, we enjoyed a family meal in the garden, looking out on to the canal.

It was quiet, peaceful and you could just watch the world go by.

We experienced the most magnificent sunset as pink, orange and red hues splashed across the sky.

Later that evening, the general manager of the marina, Mike, invited me to meet the Bouchers, permanent residents at the marina. 

Over a chilled glass of wine, Stuart and his wife, Liz, told me stories about the marina and their life there.

We chatted for hours and discovered that our families are connected through Border hockey.

This is what I love about the Eastern Cape and its people — we are  connected in some way and somebody always knows someone that you know.

And this marina community is special, with old school family values.

After a delightful evening with newfound friends, I went back to our house in the marina where my two boys and husband were waiting for me.

The next morning, I woke up early for a quick walk around the marina.

I loved taking in the beautiful houses and there is something peaceful about walking near water. 

I felt completely safe. The security is top-notch.

I saw children riding their bikes in the streets, doors left wide open and neighbours sharing a story or two. 

We decided to take the children out for the morning to see the Big Pineapple in Bathurst.

This is a rite of passage for any child living in the Eastern Cape.

Bathurst is a mere 15km from Port Alfred.

My sons were so excited when they could see the Big Pineapple from the road.

They could not believe such a big pineapple existed.

We enjoyed the magnificent views form the top of the pineapple and some freshly made pineapple juice.

We went to Bathurst to explore the small town.

It is a vibrant community with quaint shops to explore.

It was best to explore on foot but the children soon got tired and hungry so we went back to Port Alfred for lunch.

Port Alfred is spoilt for choice with all its fine restaurants, but we settled on Ocean Basket because it is right next to the Kowie River and any parent with fussy eaters goes with what they know and in our family fish is always a winner.

It was a beautiful warm winter’s day, so we had a lazy lunch as we watched the boats go past.

The boys enjoyed playing on the jetty and meeting the other children out and about.

That afternoon, Mike and his wife, Diane, took us for a boat ride on the Kowie River and the canals.

It was special to watch my sons enjoy being out on the river and clearly my eldest son has a need for speed.

The canals come alive at this time of the day.

Large groups are out on their barges enjoying the river and taking in the magnificent sunsets.

Everyone seems happy and without a care in the world, even if just for a moment.

Mike, a former principal of Dale Primary, is knowledgeable about the area and the marina in particular.

Diane is an estate agent and she told me interesting stories about the history of the development of the marina.

The boat trip was a highlight for us.

That evening we enjoyed a braai by the canal and were sad to be leaving the next morning.

The Royal Alfred Marina is a special place with special people.

We enjoyed every minute of our stay and cannot wait to be back.

HeraldLIVE

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