+ How do I get to Port St Johns?
We are located in the heart of the Wild Coast and getting to us is part of the adventure. There are several options:
1. You can book an international flight straight to Mthatha (sometimes written Umtata): this is the closest city to Port St Johns that has an airport. Umtata is about 100km away from Port St Johns: there we will pick you up at the airport by car.
2. There are international flights to Johannesburg and Cape Town. You can book a separate domestic flight to Umtata, where we will wait for you at the airport. You can also choose to take a bus to Umtata: Greyhound, Translux, City to City or Baz Bus offer daily drives throughout the country. You can also book a separate domestic flight to Durban and take a bus from there (see below).
3. There are international flights to Durban. You can book a separate domestic flight to Umtata, where we will wait for you at the airport. You can also choose to take a bus to Umtata: the busses depart from Durban at 6.30am which means you’ll have to spend the night in Durban before you can get on the bus. Our Project Manager will arrange accommodation (not included in the Volunteer Package) and provide you with all the practical information. When you arrive in Mthatha, we will wait for you at the bus stop.
It might all sound difficult and scary but not to worry, our Project Manager will walk you through it.
+ What must I bring?
Port St Johns has an average temperature of 20° all year round. Not too bad at all but during the winter months the temperature drops to 10° at night so it does get chilly. It also gets a lot of rain but mainly during the summer months.
+ What kind of wildlife is there in Port St Johns?
South Africa is known for its beautiful wildlife but you won’t be able to spot “The Big Five” in Port St Johns. The Wild Coast is mostly known for its stunning scenery and natural beauty. It’s a hiker’s paradise and bird lovers won’t know where to look first. At Silaka Nature Reserve, 6km south outside of Port St Johns, you will be able to find smaller wildlife such as zebra’s, wildebeest and velvet monkeys.
So you won’t bump into an elephant in the middle of the night but we are in South Africa so let’s not forget the smaller creatures of nature: located close to the forest, you’ll find gecko’s everywhere and occasionally little frogs or chameleons. There is a bee hive at Amapondo so you’ll see these little guys flying around looking for pollen. And not to forget: we’ve got a lot of mosquitos (but luckily we also have insect repellents and mosquito nets).
+ Is it safe in South Africa?
Despite its beauty, South Africa is also generally looked upon as “dangerous”. But let’s not exaggerate: with some guidelines you can reduce the risks and keep in mind, millions of people have been visiting South Africa for years and years: only the bad experiences get featured in the news.
Basically, these are all easy to understand and easy to follow measures and they make sense anywhere in the world:
Specifically for Port St Johns: the crime rate here is very low. Of course we’re not crime-free but it is a safe town to stroll around. Upon arrival, you’ll get an introduction of the area from our Volunteer Coordinator and if you follow the above given guidelines, you’ll be fine.
+ What languages do the local people speak?
South Africa has 11 official languages but in Port St Johns you’ll find mainly Xhosa (the majority of the population is Xhosa people) but most of them speak English too and you’ll also find some Afrikaans speaking residents in Port St Johns.
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