History of Kenton-on-Sea

Welcome to Kenton-on-Sea, a charming coastal town located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Situated on the picturesque Sunshine Coast, this idyllic destination offers a rich history and a host of attractions for visitors to enjoy.

Kenton-on-Sea, also known as Kenton, is nestled between the Bushmans and Kariega Rivers, approximately halfway between the industrial centers of East London and Gqeberha (formerly known as Port Elizabeth). As part of the Ndlambe Local Municipality in the Sarah Baartman District Municipality, the town is home to a population of just over 5,000 people. With its English-speaking center and Xhosa-speaking township of Ekuphumleni, Kenton-on-Sea embraces the diverse cultures that make up the South African tapestry.

Key Takeaways:

  • Kenton-on-Sea is a small coastal town located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
  • It is situated on the Sunshine Coast, between the Bushmans and Kariega Rivers.
  • Kenton-on-Sea falls under the Ndlambe Local Municipality in the Sarah Baartman District Municipality.
  • The town has a population of just over 5,000 people and is a blend of English and Xhosa-speaking communities.
  • Kenton-on-Sea offers a unique cultural experience in a beautiful coastal setting.

Location and Geography of Kenton-on-Sea

Kenton-on-Sea is a picturesque coastal town located along the R72 Sunshine Coast Tourist Route in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Situated between the bustling cities of Port Elizabeth and East London, Kenton-on-Sea offers a tranquil retreat with easy access to urban amenities.

The town’s prime position along the R72 Sunshine Coast Tourist Route makes it a popular stop for travelers exploring the stunning Eastern Cape coastline. Port Elizabeth, known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant cultural scene, is approximately 130 kilometers west of Kenton-on-Sea. To the east, you’ll find the vibrant city of East London, known for its rich history and fantastic surfing spots.

Kenton-on-Sea is renowned for its scenic location between the Kariega and Bushmans Rivers. These two rivers not only add to the town’s natural beauty but also provide numerous opportunities for water-based activities. Whether you fancy boating, canoeing, or fishing, both the Kariega and Bushmans Rivers offer safe and enjoyable experiences for all.

If you’re a nature enthusiast or wildlife lover, Kenton-on-Sea is in proximity to two remarkable wildlife reserves. The Addo National Elephant Park, a short drive away, is home to a large population of elephants, as well as other iconic African wildlife. The Shamwari Game Reserve, a private game reserve, is renowned for its conservation efforts and offers unforgettable safari experiences where you can spot the Big 5.

Exploring the Rivers

“The Kariega and Bushmans Rivers are treasures of Kenton-on-Sea. Whether you want to relax on a boat, paddle a kayak, or spot unique bird species along the riverbanks, these rivers offer endless possibilities for adventure and relaxation.” – Local resident

With a length of 15 kilometers, the Kariega River provides the perfect setting for a leisurely boat cruise while taking in the scenic views of the lush banks. On the other hand, the Bushmans River stretches for 33 kilometers and offers plenty of opportunities for exploration and water sports.

As you navigate through the winding channels of the rivers, you might catch sight of colorful birdlife, such as the vibrant Malachite Kingfisher or the majestic African Fish Eagle. Keep your eyes peeled for sightings of turtles, otters, and other aquatic wildlife that call these rivers home.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure, Kenton-on-Sea’s location and natural wonders make it an ideal destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

Distances from Kenton-on-Sea Approximate Distance
Port Elizabeth 130 kilometers
East London 145 kilometers
Addo National Elephant Park 50 kilometers
Shamwari Game Reserve 60 kilometers

Naming and Early History of Kenton-on-Sea

Kenton-on-Sea, a charming coastal town in South Africa, holds a fascinating history intertwined with tales of Captain Henry Somerset, Mr. Tilt, and the iconic Norfolk Pines. This section will delve into the origins and naming of Kenton-on-Sea, shedding light on the early days of this picturesque destination.

Legend has it that Captain Henry Somerset, drawn to Kenton, England, envisioned a sister town on the South African coast. Inspired by the village that shared the same name, he chose to dub this new settlement “Kenton-on-Sea.” However, another figure, Mr. Tilt, also played a significant role in the town’s naming. Having resided in Kenton, England, Mr. Tilt carried the connection to his new home in South Africa, and his contribution to the naming of Kenton-on-Sea cannot be disregarded.

The journey of Kenton-on-Sea began when Mr. Tilt acquired the land, intending to establish his residence within this idyllic coastal retreat. As the town took shape, two majestic Norfolk Pines were planted atop a hill near the Kenton Hotel. These grand trees not only added to the beauty of the landscape but also served as reliable beacons for sailors navigating the sea. Today, these Norfolk Pines continue to stand tall, preserving the town’s rich maritime heritage and enchanting visitors with their timeless presence.

“Kenton-on-Sea, a place where the tales of Captain Henry Somerset, Mr. Tilt, and the Norfolk Pines converge, creating a captivating tapestry of history and natural splendor.”

Norfolk Pines in Kenton-on-Sea

Immerse yourself in the early history of Kenton-on-Sea as you stand beneath the shade of the Norfolk Pines, admiring the panoramic views of the coastal paradise that has captivated the hearts of locals and visitors alike.

Climate and Natural Beauty of Kenton-on-Sea

Kenton-on-Sea, nestled on the Sunshine Coast of South Africa, offers a delightful climate and an abundance of natural beauty. The town’s location in a malaria-free area allows for worry-free exploration of its captivating surroundings.

With its temperate climate, Kenton-on-Sea experiences idyllic temperatures year-round. The town enjoys more recorded sunshine hours than any other place in South Africa, ensuring ample opportunities to bask in the warm glow of the sun. Summers are pleasantly warm, with maximum temperatures rarely exceeding 27°C, while winters remain relatively mild, with lows seldom dropping below 8°C.

One of Kenton-on-Sea’s prime attractions is its warm sea temperatures, courtesy of the Mozambique current that caresses the Indian Ocean coastline. This warm current creates an inviting environment for swimming, diving, and other water activities throughout the year.

Aside from its inviting climate, Kenton-on-Sea lures visitors with its natural splendor. Undulating sand dunes provide picturesque backdrops for leisurely walks, and fascinating rock formations offer intriguing sights to explore.

Don’t miss the chance to marvel at the mesmerizing rock pools that dot the coastline, teeming with fascinating marine life. These hidden gems provide a glimpse into the vibrant ecosystem just beneath the surface of the warm waters.

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Kenton-on-Sea and indulge in its diverse attractions, all while relishing the comfortable climate that makes every moment in this coastal paradise even more enjoyable.


“Kenton-on-Sea’s temperate climate and warm sea temperatures make it an ideal coastal destination for year-round enjoyment.” – Local Travel Magazine

Average Temperature and Sunshine Hours

Month Average High Average Low Sunshine Hours
January 25°C 16°C 9 hours
February 26°C 16°C 8 hours
March 25°C 15°C 8 hours
April 23°C 13°C 7 hours
May 21°C 11°C 6 hours
June 19°C 8°C 6 hours
July 19°C 7°C 7 hours
August 20°C 8°C 8 hours
September 22°C 10°C 8 hours
October 23°C 12°C 8 hours
November 24°C 14°C 9 hours
December 25°C 15°C 9 hours

Municipal Area and Statistics

Kenton-on-Sea falls under the Ndlambe Local Municipality, a Category B municipality within the Sarah Baartman District Municipality. Nestled between Makana to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the south, Ngqushwa to the east, and Sundays River Valley to the west, the municipality boasts a prime location along the Sunshine Coast in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

Encompassing an area of approximately 1,841 square kilometers, Kenton-on-Sea makes up 3% of the district’s geographical area, offering a diverse landscape and a range of natural attractions to explore.

As of the latest population data, Kenton-on-Sea has a total population of 5,154 people, making it a close-knit community where neighbors become friends. With a population density of 994 persons per square kilometer, the town enjoys a comfortable balance of peaceful living and vibrant social interactions.

Household statistics reveal that the majority of homes in Kenton-on-Sea are female-headed households, highlighting the strength and resilience of the women who contribute to the community’s development. The town also boasts a significant number of formal dwellings, providing residents with comfortable and safe living spaces.

Ndlambe Local Municipality Statistics

Geographical Area Population Density Female-Headed Households Formal Dwellings
1,841 sq km 994 persons/sq km Majority Significant portion

Explore the vibrant community of Kenton-on-Sea within the Ndlambe Local Municipality, where natural beauty meets warm hospitality and a strong sense of community.

Ndlambe Local Municipality

Attractions and Activities in Kenton-on-Sea

When visiting Kenton-on-Sea, you’ll be spoilt for choice with a variety of attractions and activities to enjoy. Whether you’re seeking relaxation on the pristine shores of Kariega beach or immersing yourself in the vibrant arts scene at the renowned National Arts Festival, there is something for everyone in this charming coastal town.

The Kariega beach, voted the best beach in South Africa in 2000, is a true gem. Its golden sands and crystal-clear waters make it the perfect spot for sunbathing, picnicking, and swimming. The picturesque setting is an open invitation to unwind, bask in the warm South African sun, and soak up the breathtaking coastal views.

If you’re a lover of arts and culture, the National Arts Festival is a must-visit. Held in nearby Grahamstown during the winter months, this festival showcases a diverse range of performances, exhibitions, and creative expressions. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere as you witness talented artists from across South Africa and beyond.

For wildlife enthusiasts, Kenton-on-Sea offers exciting opportunities to explore the Kariega and Bushmans Rivers. Embark on a river adventure and witness a stunning array of bird species soaring through the skies. Keep your eyes peeled along the riverbanks, as you might catch glimpses of majestic wildlife, adding a touch of wonder to your journey.

With the navigable Kariega and Bushmans Rivers, boating, canoeing, and other river activities are popular pastimes in Kenton-on-Sea. Experience the tranquil beauty of these waterways as you cruise along, surrounded by breathtaking scenery and the gentle sounds of nature. Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline rush or a peaceful escape, the rivers offer endless opportunities for adventure.

“Kenton-on-Sea is a destination where you can indulge in the beauty of nature, appreciate the vibrant arts, and create memories that will last a lifetime.”

So, whether you’re a beach lover, an art enthusiast, or a wildlife explorer, Kenton-on-Sea has everything you need for an unforgettable experience. Discover the allure of Kariega beach, immerse yourself in the vibrant scenes of the National Arts Festival, and embark on thrilling river activities. Your journey to Kenton-on-Sea promises to be filled with adventure, beauty, and delightful surprises.


Kenton-on-Sea, a picturesque coastal town nestled in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, offers a captivating blend of history, natural beauty, and an array of exciting attractions and activities. Situated between the enchanting Kariega and Bushmans Rivers, this charming destination is a must-visit for anyone seeking to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of South Africa’s coastal towns.

With its stunning beaches, breathtaking landscapes, and fascinating history, Kenton-on-Sea invites you to embark on a journey of exploration and discovery. Whether you’re basking in the warm rays of sunshine, exploring the meandering rivers, or delving into the vibrant local arts and culture scene, every moment spent in Kenton-on-Sea is steeped in awe-inspiring experiences.

From uncovering the secrets of the past to indulging in thrilling water sports and wildlife encounters, Kenton-on-Sea ensures that there is something for everyone. Discover the allure of this captivating coastal town and create memories that will stay with you long after your visit, as you become a part of Kenton-on-Sea’s rich history and vibrant tapestry of life.


Where is Kenton-on-Sea located?

Kenton-on-Sea is a small coastal town located on the Sunshine Coast in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

How far is Kenton-on-Sea from Port Elizabeth and East London?

Kenton-on-Sea is located between the cities of Port Elizabeth and East London.

Are the Kariega and Bushmans Rivers safe for water sports?

Yes, both the Kariega and Bushmans Rivers are safe for boating, canoeing, and other water sports.

Who named Kenton-on-Sea?

Kenton-on-Sea is believed to have been named by either Captain Henry Somerset or Mr. Tilt.

What is the climate like in Kenton-on-Sea?

Kenton-on-Sea experiences a temperate climate and is a malaria-free area with more recorded sunshine hours than any other place in South Africa.

Which municipality does Kenton-on-Sea fall under?

Kenton-on-Sea falls under the Ndlambe Local Municipality in the Sarah Baartman District Municipality.

What attractions and activities are available in Kenton-on-Sea?

Kenton-on-Sea offers attractions such as the Kariega beach, participation in the National Arts Festival, and opportunities for wildlife spotting and river activities.

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