The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Jeffreys Bay - Surfing paradise

Afrikaans name: Jeffreysbaai

Houses at Jeffreys Bay

Jeffreys Bay

Photo © Josep - Adobe Stock

Eastern Cape

Located in the Eastern Cape, the coastal town of Jeffreys Bay is a surfing paradise. It is one of the top surfing destinations in South Africa. Jeffreys Bay, also affectionately known as J-bay, is an extremely popular holiday destination and there is no shortage of things to do and places to see.

There are plenty of options when it comes to beaches with Paradise Beach, Dolphin Beach, and Point Beach being very popular. Take your kids to Dolphin Beach Entertainment Waterpark or the Happy Hippo Play Farm to keep them happy! Shoppers will want to visit the Fountains Mall while those who like a pint or two will find the Brewhaha Craft Brewery a good place to spend some time.

A great shopping experience can also be found at the JBay Surf Village. Of course, there are shops catering for surfers but there are others selling items of interest for skaters and home decor. A number of food and beauty outlets are also present.

Jeffreys Bay was started by J.A. Jeffrey as a port and trading post of in 1849. Jeffrey was a whaler from St Helena and created a business exporting fresh produce to Port Elizabeth, as well as delivering the residents of Langkloof with general supplies.

The J-bay Winterfest is a must see for all outdoor and music lovers. The festival is held in July each year and features local musicians as well as top athletes participating in surfing, trail running, and mountain biking competitions.

Birders visiting Jeffreys Bay may want to visit the Seekoei River Nature Reserve which is near Aston Bay. The reserve has a checklist of around 120 species. The fynbos habitat could give you sightings of Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Karoo Prinia, Brimstone Canary, Karoo Scrub-robin and Cape Robin-Chat. Amongst the waterbirds that you may see are masses of Red-knobbed Coot, Flamingoes and even an African Fish-Eagle. Mammals that may be encountered include Blue Duiker, Bushbuck, Cape Porcupine, Bushpig, Large-spotted Genet and Yellow Mongoose and Large Grey Mongoose.

If you have more time on your hands, then one should go birding along the route from Jeffreys Bay to Humansdorp and then on to Saint Francis Bay. This is a popular route amongst local birders. A wide variety of species may be seen along the roadside.

The ocean currents that flow past the coastline of Jeffreys Bay change direction with the season and this encourages a diverse range of marine life. Thanks to these currents, a host of shells can be found on the shores and shell collectors travel from far and wide to visit Jeffreys Bay.

Have you ever gone sandboarding? If water isn’t your thing, then maybe sliding down a dune on a board is the next best thing. One can take lessons before venturing out on the dunes where three levels of difficulty await you. One can even take lessons from experienced instructors.

Visitors to the area should visit the C J Langenhoven Library which houses the Charlotte Kritzinger Seashell Collection as well as a string of shell shops. One local resident makes tiny dolls, figurines and decorations using shells collected from the beach to sell to travellers.

During your stay in Jeffreys Bay, visitors should make a trip to Seal Point. Seal Point can be found on the south-western end of St Francis Bay, and it is home to a 28m lighthouse that is powered by candlelight, and it dates back to 1876.

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References and further reading

A Field Guide to the Eastern Cape Coast - Author: R. Lubke, F. Gess & M. Bruton - Published: 1988 - Page: 410

Book of the Road - 4th edition - Author: MapStudio - Published: 2019 - Page: 124

Country Life - Issue 244 - Author: - Published: 2016 - Page: 51

go! - Issue 103 - Author: - Published: 2015 - Page: 18

go! - Issue 173 - Author: - Published: 2020 - Page: 34

Hit the Road - 2nd Edition - Author: MapStudio - Published: 2018 - Page: 75

Mooiloop! The Book - Author: SABC 2 - Published: 2016 - Page: 114

On Route - A region by region guide to South Africa - Author: B.P.J. Erasmus - Published: 1995 - Page: 91

On Route - Explore South Africa region by region - 3rd edition - Author: B.P.J. Erasmus - Published: 2014 - Page: 100

Places to Visit in Southern Africa - Author: AA RSA - Published: 1995 - Page: 190

Readers Digest Illustrated Guide to Southern Africa - 4th edition - Author: - Published: 1986 - Page: 134

Southern Africa from the Highway - Author: AA RSA - Published: 1991 - Page: 192

The Dive Sites of South Africa - Author: Anton Koornhof - Published: 1992 - Page: 79

The Pictorial Motoring Atlas of South Africa - Author: Maxwell Leigh - Published: 1987 - Page: 71

Things ewe never knewe about South African place names - Author: Ann Gadd - Published: 2015 - Page: 104


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