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How to Spend 24 Hours in Jeffreys Bay, South Africa

Jeffreys Bay is one of the world's top surfing destinations
Jeffreys Bay is one of the world's top surfing destinations | Marishka Myers / © Culture Trip
Jeffreys Bay is one of the most iconic surfing destinations in the world. Best known for its gorgeous sandy beaches and excellent waves, it’s a playground for ocean lovers across the globe. Here’s how you can make the most of it in 24 hours.

Morning

Dawn surf session
If the surf is cooking it’s usually around sunrise, so grab your board and get going. The best season for a surfing sojourn to J-Bay is during the winter months (June–August) when passing cold fronts regularly push in swell from the south. During this time Supertubes is at its best, offering an easy takeoff into a right break that reaches peak speeds as you near the point. Awesome tubes will tempt the fearless.

Pro tip: Supers is ranked as one of the 10 best waves in the world, but breaks very close to razor-sharp mussel-covered rocks. Full wetsuits and booties are advised, not just for warmth, but also for protection.

Supers is ranked as one of the 10 best waves in the world © Leo za1 / WikiCommons

Fuel up

After a good few hours in the surf you will have worked up an appetite, so rinse off and head towards the J-Bay Surf Village. Located at the far end of town, the village houses a whole host of surfing-related retail outlets and a good selection of coffee shops. Conversations are likely to revolve around tomorrow’s surf conditions, and you can chill out on a oversized beanbag while you warm up with a coffee and decide what to have for brunch. J-Bay Bru Co and Infood are both great options.

J-Bay Bru Co is a popular spot for a bite © J-Bay Bru Co

Afternoon

Go bargain hunting
Once you’ve satisfied your stomach retail pleasure is only a few steps away. The J-Bay Surf Village is a mecca for bargain hunters, offering loads of big-name surf brands at discount prices. Billabong, RVCA, Quiksilver and Roxy are all there, while other spots, such as Country Kaya, are packed to the rafters with Indonesian-inspired furniture, household goods and trinkets.

Pro tip: This is not a shopping trip to be rushed. Hours could be spent in the huge Billabong warehouse alone, so set aside at least two hours.

Catch some Zs

An early morning start calls for an afternoon nap. If any part of a J-Bay day is going to be overcast, it’s usually in the afternoon. During summer it can be particularly hot and windy, so draw the blinds and chill out. If you prefer the social scene, make your way to the beachfront for a light lunch and a leisurely drink. The Greek has a laid-back vibe and outdoor seating cooled down by the sea breeze. Pair a plate of crispy calamari with a cold Corona and you’re set for the next few hours.

Cold Corona meets warm sea sand © Paul Thompson / Flickr

Evening

Recharge on the beach

As the afternoon mellows into a balmy night the best place to be is on the beach. At this time of the day the shoreline is usually alive with sandy kids licking ice-cream cones, love-struck couples holding hands and diehard surfers looking to catch a few last waves. It’s a special experience unique to J-Bay, so don’t miss out on a beach stroll during the magical dusk.

J-Bay boasts some gorgeous sandy beaches  © fry_theonly / Flickr

Eat seafood on the sand

There are plenty of restaurants in Jeffreys Bay covering all tastes and budgets. However, for its location alone, Walskipper has to top the list. Located near the Marina Martinique, this unique gem is literally right on the beach. Shoes are optional, as diners have the sand under their feet, while rustic table settings and tin cups belie the tasty fabulousness of the food. Any seafood dish is highly recommended from the extensive menu, which also caters for meat lovers and vegetarians.

Pro tip: Bookings are essential at this extremely popular restaurant, so phone ahead to avoid disappointment.

Seafood is always good in J-Bay © J-Bay Bru Co

Night

Rub shoulders with surfing royalty

It’s not uncommon to bump into a famous face in J-Bay, especially in July, when the Corona Open brings the world’s top surfers to town. If you’re hoping for a chance encounter then make your presence known at The Mexican. This trendy, centrally located spot regularly hosts some of the hottest parties in town, accompanied by tequila shooters and cool club music.

Pro tip: There is no late-night public transport in J-Bay. If you don’t have a car, or have partied too hard, use a shuttle service such as J-Bay Cabs. Jeffreys Bay is not considered a dangerous city, but can be a rather dark, quiet place in the wee hours of the morning.