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Iconic beach shot of Jeffreys Bay
Iconic beach shot of Jeffreys Bay | © Terrence Franck / Flickr

Jeffreys Bay is a Haven for Surfers in South Africa

Picture of Gill Lange
Updated: 14 March 2018

Although small, the picturesque surfing mecca of Jeffreys Bay boasts a considerable reputation that stretches far and wide. Most noted for producing the best right hand surf break in the world, the streets of the town bustle from dawn to dusk with those hoping to live out their own Endless Summer dreams.

This is a place where legends are born, waves are shredded, and egos boosted or bruised. A place that draws some of the best surfers from around the world on a regular basis, a place to be free, an epic place to find your soul.

While some advanced planning is usually advantageous when preparing for a holiday, there is no need to get bogged down in detail for a break in Jeffreys Bay, as the town is one of  those unique Eastern Cape dorpies (small towns) featuring laid-back locals and just one set of traffic lights. Conversely, Jeffreys, or J-Bay, is also most accustomed to welcoming guests from around the world and manages to attain the perfect balance of small town charm and big city hospitality.


A place to sleep

Finding a place for an overnight stay is an easy affair and options range from cheap and cheerful back-packing hostels to beach-side bed and breakfasts and a whole host of Airbnb options. Bigger budgets can expect sweeping sea views and lookout decks to enjoy a morning cup of coffee while checking out the waves, while those on a shoe string budget will get a clean bed and often a charismatic host with their own surfing tales. Bookings are not always essential and many visitors choose to cruise into town and catch a wave before even thinking about where to sleep. Be warned though, the village plays host to a few annual surfing competitions and during these times accommodation needs to be secured well in advance.

Where to surf

It really is as easy as grabbing your board and going, as just about every beach in J-Bay offers fair to epic surfing conditions. The famed Supertubes cooks in the winter months when waves can reach up to 12 feet and getting tubed is the name of the game. Boneyards, right next to Super, is also a popular spot and known for its near perfect break. Further down the beach, Point offers ideal conditions for less experienced surfers with small, powerful waves that promise a longer ride. Kitchen Windows near Main Beach is a mellow reef break that is  around mid-tide at its best but can get unpleasant when the wind picks up.

How to get around

The layout and location of J-Bay makes it really easy and mostly safe to get around on foot, and a moderate 10-minute walk should get you to where you want to go. Many of the retail outlets and grocery stores are situated along the main drag, with a good variety of sidewalk cafes also present, so wandering the streets during the day should pose no problem to the uninformed tourist. More caution should be taken at night and groups are preferable to lone strollers. There are no taxi or bus services in Jeffreys Bay, although you can grab a ride on an informal taxi. While convenient and cheap, some are not roadworthy and therefore not safe, so choose wisely. Generally, the taxis in good condition are better bets.

What to do when the sea is flat

When the wind blows the sea flat, kite surfers like to pull in and show off their skills while skimming the waves. However, if being sand blasted on a beach is not your idea of fun then there are plenty of other activities to keep you busy. Down near the far end of town is the Jefferys Bay Surf Village where you will find board shapers, a skate park and plenty of  retail outlets of surf brands. Lying on the outskirts of J-Bay  is a nice mall for supermarket shopping, clothing and home goods, while the village centre is awash with interesting little shops and cafes.

Nearby nature reserves are great for day walks and hiking and there are also numerous other adventure activities to enjoy near the town such as sand boarding, horse riding and game drives.

Before you leave, buy yourself a soft serve in a cone and enjoy a slow walk on the beach while picking up sea shells. There’s just nothing quite like it.