It may be better known as a surf capital due to the right-hand point break at Supertubes Beach, but Jeffreys Bay has more to offer for those not looking for a wave. In addition to the beautiful beaches (and those waves), part of the appeal of Jeffreys Bay is its position. It’s the perfect base from which to explore the Garden Route to the south (the renowned 300km route, which stretches from Storms River to Mossel Bay), and there’s a host of day tours in and around J-Bay. It’s also the ideal spot for those who enjoy the outdoors and authentic South African hospitality.
Where to stay
Whether you’re chilling or enjoying jam-packed days, you need to have the right place to rest – and it’s not just about a comfortable bed and hot shower. I would go as far as to say that the accommodation on my travels determines my experience, which is why owner-run establishments so often pip the resort chains. Cape Country Routes (CCR) is a group of owner-operated and managed accommodation and activity establishments along the popular routes in the Eastern and Western Cape. All the CCR properties are carefully selected for their ‘character, charm and romance’, so you know they have been checked and vetted according to their standards, which is an added reassurance.
Supertubes Guest House is a member of CCR. Just 30m from the famous Supertubes surfing beach, it has something for everyone, all within a stone’s throw of each other, whether you’re looking for self-catering or a more luxe B&B experience. There are en–suite Luxury Rooms with private balconies and beach views; a wheelchair–friendly room; a self-catering house which is ideal for families; en-suite classic Standard Rooms with a patio/lounge and braai area; and the luxury beachfront villa Khaya Zinza, which even has an outdoor hot–water shower, secure surfboard racks and a wetsuit dryer for the surf enthusiasts. The collection ticks all the boxes: beautiful views, proximity to the beach, super–cosy accommodation, great service and delicious meals courtesy of the delightful Chef Moses. Owner and manager of the Supertubes Collection Maresa Mayer is a long-standing member of the Jeffreys Bay community, and her passion and enthusiasm for her ‘hood’ is still infectious 20 years after opening her first B&B. Pets are also welcome, so a stay here is a true family–home experience.
What to do
For the nature lover: A walk through Kabeljous Nature Reserve is an absolute must if you have an interest in plants or simply enjoy a walk in nature, with views to boot. The 180-hectare area includes part of the Kabeljous River and estuary, dunes rolling onto the shoreline and wetlands, including salt marshes. It is a spectacular slice of nature, and while my plant knowledge is rather poor, I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the varied species thanks to Hennie Swanevelder, chairman of the Kabeljous Reserve Action Group (KRAG), which relies on volunteers and donations from visitors to maintain the reserve. It’s clear that KRAG has invested an enormous amount of time and passion into the area, which is clean and tidy, and the hiking trails – up to 8km – are well marked. In addition to the 141 identified bird species, including flamingoes, herons and kingfishers, you may be lucky enough to spot the grey duiker, bushbuck or porcupine.
For the marine enthusiast: The Shell Museum
The original Shell Museum was built to house Charlotte Isabella Kritzinger’s collection. During her 30 years living in Jeffreys Bay, she collected shells on her daily beach walks. When she passed away, the Kouga Local Municipality bought her collection, which has been added to over the years. The museum is now home to an incredible collection of almost 10,000 shells, all organised according to species and labelled with their scientific names as well as places of origin. It attracts shell fanatics from all over the globe.
For the shopper: Surf Village
Being one of the top surfing destinations in the world, it’s understandable that there is a whole area dedicated to browsing all things surf–related. Surf Village in Da Gama Road has a bunch of factory outlets selling brands such as Rip Curl, Billabong, Roxy and Quiksilver. You will also be able to find skate and surf accessories in and around the area, while other stores sell a variety of fashion, jewellery, art and décor.
For the foodie: eateries with character
Fancy lunch on the beach? Die Walskipper is literally on the edge of the ocean, and here you can enjoy seafood and traditional South African dishes cooked on open fires or in clay ovens, with your toes in the sand. Call (042) 292 0005 or email walskipper.co.za for reservations. A real gem is the family-run Tasty Table Cafe opposite Dolphin Beach, the Blue Flag main beach. From specialty coffees and freshly baked treats to delicious burgers and seafood in the most beautiful and quirky environment, it’s a spot that undoubtedly attracts its regulars for good reason. Phone 082 858 8226 for bookings. Other spots worth visiting include Unwind Tapa Bar, for it’s pretty décor, gourmet tapas, cocktails and craft beer, and the quirky J-Bay Bru Co, a laid-back artisan family eatery with a craft beer garden and Instagram-worthy spots. The Bru Co is a pet-loving establishment, and R2 from every Eskimo Lager (named after Eskimo, a West Highland White Terrier) bought is donated towards the care of underprivileged dogs in Jeffreys Bay.
For the day-tripper: Quick tours in and around
Addo Elephant National Park is 142km from J-Bay and has a picnic spot for day visitors, while Tsitsikamma (a 118km drive) offers a range of adrenaline-fuelling activities, including kayaking, hiking, abseiling, bungee jumping, mountain biking, diving and snorkelling. Baviaanskloof (152km away) is a road-tripper’s delight, with spectacular 4×4 routes and mountain passes, as well as hiking trails and attractions such as San rock art, natural rock formations and a wild fig forest. The hiking trails in the Baviaanskloof Hartland range from multiday hikes to easy two–hour walks. Jeffreys Bay Tourism is super helpful if you want advice on planning an itinerary. Visit https://www.jeffreysbaytourism.org/ for more information.