In 1966 audiences around the world were introduced to Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa. The renowned surf movie responsible for doing this was The Endless Summer, which chronicled the travels and explorations of two surfers in their quest to find the perfect waves. A lot more recently, J-Bay as it is known, was the centre of international attention when the Australian surf champion, Mick Fanning avoided a life-threatening situation when he was able to fend off an attack from a shark at the J-Bay open.
J-Bay however is and remains a special place for surfers thanks to having the world’s best right-hand point breaks. This surfer’s paradise is located within the Eastern Cape of South Africa and if you’re planning on going there, you may as well take the road we traversed to get there.
This beautiful city with its blue flag status beaches has a lot offer any would-be traveller
If you’re thinking about going to South Africa or you’ve heard about the place and plan on going there, odds are you’re going to Cape Town, and rightly so. This beautiful city with its blue flag status beaches has a lot offer any would-be traveller. Table Mountain, one of the seven natural wonders of the world defines the city’s incredible night sky while Robben Island, where Mandela languished for 27 years is but a few kilometres off its coast.
This city is the ideal start of your journey to Jeffrey’s Bay and lies 700km to the west of this surfing paradise. The South African public transport system has seen some dramatic improvements but for where you’d like to go, it’s best to rent a car. The last thing you want is having to slog a surfboard around. For dirt cheap prices, check out budget rentals like Renta-VW or Rentacheapie. Both are ideal for affordable car travel.
Once you’ve arrived and you feel settled, you’ll find that Cape Town offers some pretty cool surf spots. At roughly just 15 minutes outside of the city is Llandudno beach where white sands and turquoise water sets the scene for remarkable right breaks that often barrel. The place can get packed and the locals have a colourful variety of words at their disposal reserved for beginners. If you want similar waves with less people in the vicinity, then head on further down south to Sandy Bay. You’ll need to walk for a bit from the car to the beach but the scenic splendour is well worth your while. It should also be noted that Sandy Bay is also a nudist beach in case that’s your kind of thing.
Muizenberg is the next stop on your Cape Town surfing adventure. This location has a strong festive feel about it thanks to its surf schools and vibrant seafront community. It’s even likely that you might encounter fellow surfing travellers like yourself heading to the same place you are. The waves at Muizenberg are not the best, but a great and friendly atmosphere makes all the difference.
There’s a lot more to Cape Town than surfing. This place has great sights and sounds, a thumping nightlife and lots, lots more. If you’ve got the time, make an effort to go up Table Mountain. You can hike or you can use the cable car, the choice is yours. The top of this unique mountain offers amazing views and the kind of postcard imagery you can show friends and family back home. Surrounding Cape Town is its vast Winelands area where some of the best wines in the world are produced and bottled for local and international consumption. Tours to these luscious regions are available on a daily basis and if you do go, make sure you take one of the tours as this will ensure you get back safely without climbing behind the wheel of a car.
If you want to do something gutsier then there’s shark cage diving
If you want to do something gutsier then there’s shark cage diving and if you want a less intimidating encounter with a shark there’s the Two Oceans Aquarium located at the V & A Waterfront. The night life in Cape Town offers a diverse and exciting range of options. Long Street is loaded with restaurants, clubs and bars while exuding a festival feel all the time. The beach bars in Camps Bay are where you’ll find the filthy rich while places like the GrandWest Casino are where you’ll find those aspiring to be like the filthy rich. This place offers so much more than just casino games which includes cinemas, a games area for the kids, a whole slew of bars and restaurants and a music arena that regularly sees international acts. Regardless of the increase in people opting to gamble online or on the mobile web through MobileSlots.net, this place is where’ you’ll find the majority of the city’s gamers.
Cape Town can easily trap you and make you think twice about pushing on to J-Bay with its beauty, splendour and friendly people, but fret not, because when you leave the country, you will return prior to departing. From Cape Town you’ll need to hop on to the N2. This national road will take you all the way up into what is known as the Eastern Cape. Getting there though is an absolute pleasure and a traveller’s delight. One hour into your voyage and you’ll be able to stop off in the whale-watching town of Hermanus.
You can take in lovely sights of nature’s largest mammals coming up for air and into full view while grabbing a quick spot of lunch at the Bientang’s Cave. Make it a quick one though as there’s more driving to be done. You’ll overnight in a town called Mossel Bay. The Mossel Bay Backpackers will be able to provide affordable accommodation for the night and if there is time, why not check out the Outer Pool surf spot?
On the second day of your travels you might be seriously craving some waves so rise early, get back on the road and head east for Victoria Bay where you can catch some serious surf. Your travels will see you through to Knysna, a scenic town with a super chilled atmosphere and an internationally known forest. Further to the east and not too far is Plettenberg Bay, also known as Plett by the locals. Nestled between these two towns is the Knysna Elephant Park where you’ll be able to get your true African wildlife experience. Getting to see one of these majestic animals up close is an opportunity of a lifetime. With a fair amount of physical activity on day 2, there’s little doubt that you won’t be looking forward to the comfort of a bed and Plettenberg Bay is the ideal spot at which to bunk for the night. There’s a wide selection of backpacker lodges in this town and before you turn in, be sure to check out the Lookout Deck and Restaurant where you can enjoy a meal and a sundowner or two.
Day three will see you reaching your destination but before you get there you’ll get to the Bloukrans Bungee Jump, acknowledged as the highest bungee bridge in the world. It’s not for the weak willed and it’s totally worth your time. Once the feeling of being queasy has passed, it’s off to Cape St Francis where you’ll be able to experience an exceptional surf at Seal Point – a top surf spot that forms part of the Eastern Cape. This town comes just before J-Bay, so if you give it a skip because you cannot wait to reach the ultimate surfing destination, it’s totally understandable.
It’s been three days and already you cannot believe the sights and sounds that you’ve taken in but at long last after having jammed up a storm in Cape Town, seen whales in Hermanus, walked with elephants and having dived off the highest bungee bridge, you’ve finally reached J-Bay. Off the bat, settle in. Jeffrey’s Bay Backpackers offers a cool island vibe with great festive cheer and quite a few foreigners. There’s also excellent Mexican cuisine which never fails to impress. To start things off in the water, Cristal Cove is a great option, especially for its close travelling distance to Super Tubes (viewed as one of if not the best point break in the world).
At the end of the day there’s one reason you’ve journeyed all this way and that is to take in some of the best waves in the world. J-Bay’s surf breaks number more than 6 and that’s all on one coast! Each one is unique thus ensuring what can only described as an eclectic surfing experience. Bone yards and magna tubes are major highlights mainly due to the fact that they are less crowded and come with great solid barrel sections. Ideally, you’ve just got to try them all.
All those rumours you’ve heard will be confirmed the seconds you’ve gone in and experienced that right hander. Four days is the least amount of time you should spend in J-Bay and this is simply because that’s how much time you’ll need to find the spot that suits you best. But who knows, your stay might be extended, especially if you meet a crowd that ropes you in and encourages you to stay longer. If Mick Fanning were to offer up any advice right now, it would be “keep an eye out for those sharks mate.”