This Marina truly is something special, but it didn't happen by chance. This is the result of visionary planning, clever engineering, harmonius integration with the natural environment, and years of dedicated professional management.
In the Beginning...

This was not always the beautiful place it is today. The early records describe the east bank of the Kowie River mouth as a marshy area consisting of a few small islands and extensive beds of reeds. Certainly not ideal for a housing development.

In designing the Marina the objective was to achieve the best possible tidal water quality. A carefully scaled model of the Marina was constructed at the University of Natal in order to simulate the movement of the tide through the canals. The test indicated that all the water would be fully replaced with each tidal cycle. This is 21 times better than the international benchmark established by Moffat and Nicholl in their paper "Hydraulic Model Study of Tidal Flushing".

The development of the estate was completed in 1989. Here's an article celebrating the Marina's 10th anniversary in 1999:
10th Birthday news clipping

 
 
A Residential Marina

The Royal Alfred Marina has a number of features that set it apart from other residential estates. The primary difference is this marina's ingenious integration with its environment, taking full advantage of its location in a tidal estuary.

All canals in the Marina are open at both ends to allow a free flow of water through them, permitting a complete flushing with every tidal cycle. The canals are relatively straight, and the system converges or diverges at the outlet and inlet to allow easy passage of water and craft with open access to the small boat harbour. This is the world's first marina where the structural integrity of the canals is reinforced with bidem cloth sandwiches.

The islands are on average 80m in width, allowing two 35,25m wide rows of plots and a central 9,5m road reserve. The islands are linked by hollow core arched bridges, which carry all services out of sight. The arched bridges allow small craft to pass underneath their 3m clearances

Waterfront Housing

Properties have compact street frontages, and allow for the creation of wind-protected garden areas at the front or rear of each stand. The north-easterly orientation of most stands allows houses to take good advantage of the daily sun path.

There are no secondary or tertiary plots, or townhouses or clusters on the Marina.

Each plot has a minimum direct water frontage of 15m. Access to the Kowie River and the sea can be gained directly from each property by boat. Each erf extends its cadastral boundary into its waterfront to the toe of the canal's embankment. The smallest stand size, including this portion, is 34,5 metres deep by 15 metres wide, for an average area of 517,5 square metres each. This is the only tidal marina of its size where each and every plot has its own private waterfront frontage with perpetual jetty rights.

 
 
Estuarine Ecology

We take our Marina's impact on its environment seriously, and work hard to go beyond merely being "eco-friendly", hence our Blue Flag status. Because the Marina's canals experience full tidal exchange, it makes a positive contribution to the ecosystem by providing:

  • breeding grounds for juvenile species;
  • protected habitat areas for vulnerable species;
  • areas for the production of plant tissue;
  • contributors of detritus and nutrients to the estuary.

Some 36 species of marine life have been identified in the canals, which exceeds the recorded number of species in the Kowie River prior to the development of the Marina. Professor Tom Hecht has done extensive studies on the fish and benthic communities of the Kowie Estuary and concluded that the Marina impacts positively on both habitat and species.

Our estuary is also known for its abundance of bird life. Well over 100 different species have been identified in the area - from fish eagles to egyptian geese, waders, plovers, whimbrels and many other winged inhabitants.

Marina Management

An unpaid Executive Committee of the Home Owners Association (RAMHOA) is elected annually to oversee upkeep of the estate, which is managed by a full-time manager and his staff. This includes maintenance of the canals, roads, bridges, security systems, and public facilities such as the clubhouse, swimming pool, tennis and squash courts.

The aesthetic character of the overall development is controlled by means of the design manual. The objective is to ensure a variety of expression within a co-ordinated theme, and to ensure that environmental factors, planting, and public areas receive consideration as well as private homes. In order to preserve and enhance the concept an Architectural Committee maintains control over all structures and landscaped elements.

Stormwater from the Marina is discharged directly into the canals and no reticulation is required. Due to the flatness of the site, each island is provided with an underground sewage pump station. The system is maintained by and at the cost of the local municipality. The Marina was the first development in Port Alfred to enjoy full waterborne sanitation and the development brought about the construction of the local municipality`s sewerage plant which now serves the greater Port Alfred.