Wish you were here

Famed for its colourful waterfront, Port Owen is a charmer which has thankfully evaded tourist masses, retaining its restful nautical character.

Punctuated by boats of all descriptions, cabanas and attractive houses, Port Owen escapes the resort-type feel thanks to the surrounding wetlands and bird sanctuary. Even better still, flanked by the Berg River on three sides, future growth is limited – ensuring that the marina remains exclusive and maintains its sedate pace.

Rowing along the 3,5 km of waterways is pure ecstasy. In addition, there’s access to the sea and shallow-drought boats can navigate the river for 56 km. Because it’s sheltered from the prevailing summer wind which blows off-shore, this bay – the largest on the West Coast of Africa – offers the finest sailing conditions on the South African coastline.

Named after its developer, Owen Wiggins, it was the first deep-sea residential marina created in South Africa when the sites started selling in 1980. One million cubic metres of sand and rock were dredged over 15 years and a 7 km embankment, as well as many jetties and other infrastructure were built painstakingly.

Flooded with 350 species of sea, land and river birds on the estuary, Port Owen is birder paradise. The Yacht Club is of course the social hub, hosting events such as the inter-club dinghy race, the West Coast Cruise for yachts and the Great Berg River Race. And at Harbour Centre you’ll find a health spa, beauty salon, hairdressing salon, pub, restaurant and café.

For its setting, form and attitude, it’s impossible not to fall in love with Port Owen. It offers an exotic outdoor lifestyle and an involvement with the elements like no other.