Cannon Rocks is 130 km North East of Qgeberha / Port Elizabeth on the East Coast of South Africa

Its borders are the coastal belt of the Addo Elephant National Park on the West side and Boknes village to the East.

The story of the Cannons


Two cannons from shipwrecks found along the stretch of beach have given the name to this quiet village. It is an accepted theory that at least one of the two cannons comes from the São João Baptista wreck of 1622.

Colin Urquhart in his book “Algoa Bay In the Age of Sail” writes of how the São João Baptista had drifted within a short distance of land after 72 days naval battle with two Dutch East Indianmen, the Mauritius and the Wapen van Rotterdam and finally dropped anchor somewhere along the Cannon Rocks coastline 30 September 1622. After surviving a month ashore, the captain ordered the wreck to be burnt. As a result, the exact location of the wreck is not known.
There are many stories of wrecks around Cannon Rocks as well as many artifacts scattered.
Weather conditions can be extreme along this stretch of coastline. As a result the strong winds and waves can cover and uncover and move artifacts with the difficult task of identifying the original wreck it may have come from.

Cannon Rocks beaches

The Seaside

Prevailing strong winds change from winter Westerlies to summer Easterlies. It is no surprise to find one of the biggest shifting sand dune field in the southern hemisphere West of Cannon Rocks (Alexandria Dune Field).

Cannon Rocks has a very unique eco-system with drifting sand dunes and coastal adapted bush. Furthermore the mixture of cold and warm ocean water affected by the prevailing winds creates a unique sea life. Moving sandbanks and rocky outcrops make up the surf area and the topography of the beach changes continuously.
From Diaz Cross to Woody Cape are middens.
Middens are traces of human activities left by the original migrating beach tribes.

The Woody Cape area which is West of Cannon Rocks falls under the Addo National Park. This is made up of thick forest, beach bush, cliffs and massive sand dunes. It is a protected area requiring a permit for access. It is also part of a marine protected area restricting some activities.

Activities in Cannon Rocks


Cannon Rocks is a renowned Kiteboarding and fishing destination. It also offers a nature trail into the Greater Addo park, a camping resort and a swimming beach area. It is a great destination for beach walks. Some of the sand dunes are high enough to do some Sandboarding. To be noted, there are no Lifesavers on duty at the swimming beach.

Moreover, the locals are friendly and easy going. There is one commodity shop at the Cannon Rocks Holiday Resort and a restaurant.

The nearby lagoon in Boknes has in the past supplied a safe bathing environment for holiday makers, however the combination of drought and dams along the small Bakanas river has resulted in the lagoon not flushing out to sea as it would naturally do.

Cannon Rocks map

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