AUTUMN ADVENTURE INTO JEFFREYS BAY
A year ago we planned a trip out to the Eastern Cape, accommodation, flights, car all booked! A few days before we were to board the outbound flight, Covid arrived and decided to stay, just like an uninvited guest, that extends their stay, again and again and again!
All flights had to be postponed, fortunately we didn’t loose anything and were able to reuse the paid and booked flights literally a year later. Although at some point last year, I was a little afraid we would have lost all the money paid as the airline was being audited and could have gone under.
The accommodation that we had reserved from last year, via Airbnb, was thankfully fully refunded! This year we made new bookings at a beautiful studio apartment, literally a 200m walk from the beach. It was just the right size, super comfortable and hosted by the incredible Sharon and her hospitable family.
All three of us needed some real time out, not just a long weekend. So a trip to Jeffreys Bay via Gqeberha, formerly Port Elizabeth, was just what our souls needed, a week of nothing but relaxation. Loads of ‘me’ and ‘us’ time at our favourite place, the ocean. For a whole week, we got to be tourists in our own country, exploring places we had heard of so often but had yet to explore.
JEFFREYS BAY aka J’BAY
This space in our country is known as the surfer’s destination here in South Africa. It is a small town located in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, a short drive from Port Elizabeth (if you live in Gauteng, South Africa, you will know what I mean).
According to Wiki Jeffreys Bay is named after the senior partner of the firm Jeffrey & Glendinnings that opened a store in 1849. Jeffrey is believed to be the first person to have settled there. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Jeffreys Bay was known as a hippie hangout, in my opinion it still is kinda a hippie place. Speaking to the locals, Jeffreys Bay has indeed grown from a sleepy little fishing town over the past few years and is one of the fastest expanding urban areas in the country. It has a modern but small mall that hosts most of the big brand stores we find in most large sized malls here in Gauteng.
All that said, if you mention the name Jeffreys Bay, what immediately comes to mind is ‘surfing’. It is actually one of the top five global surfing destinations in the world. If you Google Top 5 places to surf in the world, J’Bay is #2! I have now learnt that it is also a destination that was made famous by Bruce Brown’s movie “Endless Summer” – check it out below.
WHAT TO DO
J’Bay may be small compared to the other coastal places in South Africa like Durban or Cape Town, but it definitely has loads to offer. We liked that it’s close enough to many popular activities for you to drive out for the day and return to J’Bay if you’re making it your base while you are in the Eastern Cape.
We got to finally drive into the popular Garden Route and visit the region. The day we opted to travel out started off well, but by the time we reached the region it had begun to rain. So many of the activities we had hoped to do we had to opted out of but we still got to enjoy the area. Our J adores zip lining and although we could have done it wearing raincoats we opted out of it as we may have not seen as much as we would have in sunny weather or enjoyed it as much. The folks at Zipline Tours were amazing and at R400 a person, I think it is a decent price and worth it.
Making our way back to J’Bay after our drive out to the Garden Route, we stopped at and crossed the Storm River Bridge. If you suffer from Acrophobia, you’re not into heights, don’t attempt it. It’s HIGH! Also the path we took to use the bridge is alongside the highway, so if you have a fear of heights coupled with a fear of being in close proximity to traffic, again don’t try it. If none of these apply to you, DO IT! It was amazing, just sharing the experience with J.
Sunsets are for Pepper Street with a cuppa coffee (it was cold) or a cold beer or better still an ice-cream from Nina’s. Pepper Street in J’Bay is the place to go and watch the suffers either at Sunrise or Sunset, and if you’re fortunate you may also catch the dolphins frolicking in the waves, we did 🙂
If you’re into Kayaking aka Canoeing and you want to venture out a little further, a detour into St. Francis Bay is called for. Even if you haven’t experienced it before, it’s so worth popping into Port St. Francis and rent a Kayak from the amazing Ross for R150 per Kayak and paddle down the canal. Darren and J took a paddle for about 30 odd minutes and both raved about the experience. I had just seen another guest fall off, and wasn’t keen on having to change clothes 🙂
WHERE TO EAT
What’s a holiday if you don’t get to experience the local restaurants and places the locals recommend. Here are the places we visited and can recommend. I will encourage that you don’t stick to seafood during your visit, as the variety is limited.
Tapas Seafood Restaurant, leave your shoes in the car and let your toes play in the sea sand. Enjoy your meal while you watch the fishermen fish.
Nina’s Real Food Restaurant, yum. Their ice cream is amazing and I promise you will be going back for more daily! I caution you not to bring your city rush with you when you go visit them. Service is slow but worth the wait.
The Greek Restaurant is worth the visit. I think during the warmer days when the blinds are up and the air is warm, it’s an awesome place to hang out and drink yourself into the evening. If you order the seafood platter here, please make sure that your waiter knows which of the two you are referring to. I will leave the rest to your imagination 🙂 oh NO WiFi here.
Die Kospot. OMG! If you’re looking for value for money and DELICIOUS food, pop in here. Although a limited variety on the menu, and they change it a little, their food is priced right for daily consumption and their portions are more than reasonable. The grilled lamb is YUM!
Suikerbossie is worth trying for breakfast. It’s on the main road as you enter J’Bay on your right. Small but full of life. Their breakfasts are wrapped in pancakes but full of flavour!
Tsitsikamma Garden Restaurant was an accidental find when we were visiting the area. I’m so glad we stopped over. It’s a quaint place, but full of personality. It was so worth the stop over. The muffins are so delicious, with one of their cappuccinos you will be ready to get back on the road again.
InFood Bakery and Deli is worth the daily stop for a caffeine shot and fresh baked goodies. I know the hips won’t lie, but you’re on holiday aren’t you?! We found this place towards the end of our stay. When we go back, it’s definitely going to be a breakfast staple I assure you 🙂
Our break out in Jeffreys Bay was well worth the 12 month wait. We enjoyed ourselves immensely and met amazing individuals. Would we go back, definitely!
If you’re planning a break to switch off, I can recommend Jeffreys Bay! It’s chilled, laid back, the ocean is warmer than it is in Cape Town and it’s totally child friendly, oh and the locals are a very friendly chilled out bunch too.