Kenton on Sea inspires – Stories from the road by Ruan Smit
You can’t plan an adventure, I’ve realized that so many times throughout this tour. Adventure has a mind of its own and it’s best just to let it go its way. That’s when the fun really starts. Kenton on Sea however was a planned stop long before I knew where I was going to find a bed on my first night, the reason being that we have some family friends that own a house here and they so willingly gave me the keys to their beautiful holiday getaway spot.
So when I left Hamburg, in the Eastern Cape, early one morning I was excited to go to a place I’ve heard so much about but never taken the turnoff to. I cycle through the most beautiful Port Alfred and find my thoughts next to the river and some boats. Yes, I’m ready for Kenton on Sea …
What I find is something that I could never have planned and I thank the stubborn will of adventure for what I was given in this town. Upon arrival I am supposed to meet a woman named Jenny. She lives across from where I am staying and will be my host for the day. When she’s not there I find a moment to breathe the fresh smell of fynbos and feel the slight breeze of the south eastern cooling down my sunburned skin.
As I cycle into the driveway of the house, a little old lady walks over and gives me her hand. This is Jenny. She has prepared a light lunch for me and as we sit down to eat she starts telling me a passion that she found quite late in life.
She knows everything about this town. The extraordinary river, the dunes, the estuary and the beaches where I can just imagine swimming and sunbathing on a hot December afternoon. The town only has a bout 1000 permanent residents of which most are retired. But the community does much more than just sit around and enjoy the sunset. Jenny takes me to some sand dunes and to my amazement she climbs them like a teenager as I follow on her heels. What I see makes m smile. A rock pool overlooking the ocean, imagine a lazy afternoon during low tide with a glass of wine just tasking in the ocean breeze. Mental note, come back here …
Jenny takes me on a slow drive through the town, she shows me everything and then stops at the gave of one Mr. Charles But, one of the first settlers in the area. He is also well known for his brave attempt to save passengers from a wrecked ship by tying a rope to land and swimming across to tie the other end on the boat. Legend has it that he saved every single passenger and lived to tell the tale.
When Jenny takes me into the township next to Kenton on Sea you can really see her getting excited. Her eyes tell me a story of love, of kindness and of care. She and many of the residents of this small coastal town help to uplift children from this poor community. They arrange workshops, soup kitchens and help with building schools and arranging government grants. She tells me all of this without expecting an answer, she tells me because she cares enough.
We meet one of her friends at the only supermarket in town; they become excited because 300 children signed up for a workshop they’re planning. They hope for a young influence that could share some energy with this community. A person that can play and teach and thereby set the children some type of example.
Later on we have dinner at Stanley’s, I have heard much about the owner Rodney who is as wild as they come, his crew also shares in the Kenton Philosophy of enriching the community. On various walls there are artworks made from snares they’ve taken from the bush set by poachers. They hope to protect the wildlife by teaching people to be self sustainable rather than to plunder. As we leave he props my hand full of cash, “keep on the road” he says.
People like the ones I met in Kenton on Sea inspire me. They have pretty much everything, a coastline that is unscathed and incredibly beautiful, a quiet community and life and yet they find it in themselves to share the peace and vision with everyone around.
You cannot help but leave Kenton inspired; their passion overflows to anyone that happens to take the turnoff.
You are reading Explore South Africa Cycle Tour Series Read more from this series of articles.
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- Scraps of Hope - Pre cycle-tour Free State visit
- Where is Ruan? Join us as we follow him on his "Explore SA" cycle tour
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- For the love - Ruan makes it home