Tuesday, February 16, 2010


The holiday town of Kenon-on-Sea is situated about halfway between Port Elizabeth and East London in the heart of the sunshine coast. It lies between the two tidal rivers of Bushmans River and Kariega River. The picture above is the Bushmans River. The houses on the left hand side of the rive is Bushmans River Mouth while those on the right hand side is Kenton-on-Sea.

Kenton is primarily a beach and outdoor destination with the population exploding during the summer months. Some of the activities you can do in the area are swimming & snorkeling as well as fishing, boating, sailing, water-skiing and wind-surfing on both the rivers. Boats can also be hired for cruising on the river.

The coastline between the two river mouths are divided between sheltered rocky coves and long expanses of pristine sand. A very popular beach is the sheltered Shelley Beach. To get to it one either has to walk about 15 minutes across the dunes or along the coastline. But ones you there is feels like a beach on the Mediterranean Sea.
At the top of the cliff overlooking the beach is a small memorial to Marcella (Shelly) Marinelli, born 14-1-1979, died 30-12-1997. It says: "Departed this life at Shelly Beach aged 18 years. From the sky I can often see whales and dolphins. I swear it feels like I am in heaven". I haven't been able to find any more information regarding her though.
(Edited: Thanks to Karin and Zane for the info - see comments. Follow this link to see an article about the crash)

The most popular beach around seems to be Middle Beach, about halfway between the two river mouths. When we got there it was still fairly early and quiet, but about an hour later it was packed. Middle Beach had a lagoon like feeling the day we were there as there. There was a big sand bank deeper in which meant that the part where the kids were swimming was calm and quiet.

For more information, visit Kenton-on-Sea.


GPS: 33°41'29.18"S, 26°40'21.41"E


  1. That beach looks like the perfect place to be Jonker, especially for children as it seems sheltered. I was there once but many, many years ago.

  2. Ah, Firefly, this is a post about a town very dear to my heart and undoubtedly my favourite place on earth! My family has been coming to Kenton and Bushman's for three generations and my grandfather and -mother retired there in the '70's. My grandmother still lives there and I think one of the reasons for her longevity is that she is privileged enough to be able to live in such a blissful town. The girl who's memorial is up at Shelly beach died when the light aircraft she was traveling in, crashed into the ocean. We actually saw the plane going down and it still give me chills thinking about it. Kenton and Bushmans is absolutely ideal for family holidays, thank you for writing about it. And, btw, your photos are stunning and a perfect portrayal of the beauty of place!

  3. Wow! These beaches are beautiful. I've connected with some CouchSufers who live in Kenton-on-Sea. Can hardly wait.

    13 more days.

  4. http://www.dispatch.co.za/1998/02/05/easterncape/COWIE.HTM

    1998 Flying school accident. Tragic.

    Lovely photos and information. I was at Bushmans and Kenton on Sea for business a few ago, wind was blowing, and pictures I took were not ideal - unlike your photos.

  5. What a sheltered life I live! I had NO idea South Africa had such beautiful beaches! Love, love, love the rocky coves! Totally dig your blogs...I learn alot and take in the beauty...thanks Firefly :o) Isn't the internet just the coolest...

  6. OH what a lovely place. I have heard about it often, but never been. How sad about that young woman, but what a beautiful place to have her memorial. She clearly loved the area too.

  7. Lovely place..the name sounds like the beaches I visited in the UK...everything is at the sea there as well...

  8. WOW!!! just beautiful! Fire? do you guys see Great white sharks alot? We have them here but ive never seen one.. which can be a good thing but when i think of SA i also think of the magnificent great whites. the hawaiians held the great white shark sacred! getting a pic of one of those without me gettin eaten would be joyous!

  9. Thank you sooo much. I stumbled across your blog as I was thinking about my short trip to South Africa in 2008. I had no idea I would find my best friend Shelley. I think about her often. We where best friends in high school here in Melbourne, Australia. I knew of her accident but had no idea where she was laid to rest. She started learning to fly here before she moved there, she wanted to be just like the pilots in Top Gun... I just wish I knew she was there when I was... I was so close... It would have been great to see her one last time. Thank you again, I now have reason to go back to South Africa.

  10. My Oumie and Oupie still live at boesmans, and i went there every summer holiday till i was 15 and we moved to new zealand. I miss boesmans like the air in my lungs, I remember all the streets, all the tannies and ooms, the dixie boat, the slipway, absolutely breathtaking.