Jeffreys Bay (JBay) is a small unassuming town in the Eastern Cape that has attracted surfers and beach lovers for years. This little town will always hold a special place in our hearts because it is one of the places where we fell in love We hope that this introduction to the bay will inspire you to make a trip here soon!
The town is ~75 km (~47 miles) from the larger Port Elizabeth (PE) city. The essence of JBay is like any other coastal town: salty sea breezes, wondrous waves, Blue Flag beaches, caps and flip-flops (in South Africa we call them slops). But the biggest allure of the town is some of the world’s best right-hand point breaks. There is a yearly pro surf competition in July that attracts surfers from around the world to travel to this surfing mecca. Previously called the Billabong Pro, the Winterfest now includes mountain biking, trail running and angling. Naturally, the sunny summer season attracts surfers and beach lovers as well; making JBay a perfect destination throughout the year.
The beaches and surf spots
The main beach in JBay, Dolphin Beach, has Blue Flag status. Blue Flag beaches are the best beaches that South Africa has to offer tourists, at international standards. In 2017, there are 44 Blue Flag beaches across South Africa. At Dolphin Beach, there are jungle gyms and water slides, mini golf, a basketball court, as well as surf schools in the area. The Shell Museum is across the road from the beach. For only R10 per person, you can have a guided tour of the establishment.
While Dolphin Beach is a completely sandy beach, there are rock pools along the Supertubes and Point beaches. The Kabeljous Beach is as extensive as the main beach with no rock pools. Learning to surf as part of your Jbay holiday is a common right of passage for tourists. Chatting with an epic local surfer, we learned that the perfect waves along the bay allow surfers of all experience levels to enjoy the sport (we aren’t surfers ourselves but we love being seaside). There are permanent surf schools in the town and most surfing learners surf Dolphin Beach and Kitchen Windows. Point is for the more intermediate level surfers. The rock pools mean caution is needed coming in and out of the water.
Supertubes is world-renowned and is where the pro surf competition is held. Out of competition time, the experienced surfers (often Jbay locals) hang out here. The same is true for Boneyards, Magnatubes and Albatross. The waves at Supertubes are described as fast and huge. As a tourist, be sure that you are experienced enough to surf these spots. As with most popular surf spots, you must show respect to the locals and wait your turn. Your wave will come and it’s said to be exhilarating.
Markets and factory shops
Recently markets have sprung up in the town. On Saturdays, the Milkwood Market takes place between GLA school and the Fountains Mall from 8am – 1pm. This market has a mix of things on sale, from fresh produce and food to stained glass work and handmade silver jewellery. Wonderful homemade crafts dominate the market. There are also activities for the kids, e.g. horse riding and trampolines.
The JBay Surf Village is the central point of the factory shops (Billabong, RVCA, Quicksilver and Roxy and more). There are food shops interspersed between the clothing and furniture shops. A skate park is situated on one of the rooftops. There are various markets that happen on the green grass patch. Be sure to keep checking their Facebook page.
Places to eat
For a small town, there are numerous fantastic restaurants! According to Tripadvisor, the beachside restaurants’ Tasty Table and Kitchen Windows are the best restaurants in town. Having eaten at both, we can confirm that the food is delicious. Tasty Table is perfect for lunch (great sandwiches and burgers) and Kitchen Windows is always busy for dinner because of the delectable array of dishes from seafood to steak (so call and book a table before arriving).
The Greek has incredible seafood! And the pizzas looked great too. Naturally, the Greek options are brilliant choices. De Viswijf has the best oxtail we have ever had and the rest of their menu has never let us down either. Another popular restaurant is Nina’s Real Food. Their menu is extensive and the food will have you coming back for more. The curry buffet on Monday is a town favourite – it becomes very busy, very quickly. The ice cream is the best! The Wild Fig Farm has some of the best steaks in town. There is also a petting farm for the kids.
Excursions near Jeffreys Bay
Aston Bay and Paradise Beach are closeby with their own wonderful beaches and attractions. Humansdorp, St Francis Bay (see our post here) and Cape St Francis (see our post here) are small towns near JBay. Humansdorp is an inland town that you pass through to get to St Francis and Cape St Francis. Aqua Spa is in Humansdorp and offers massages, facials, waxing and more. St Francis Bay is known for the beautiful canal system. There is dramatic beach erosion so the beaches are only used during low tides because the sand is exposed. At high tides, the waves lap at the revetments. Cape St Francis has beautiful extensive beaches. SANCCOB is next to the lighthouse. Here, you can view the rescued penguins playing in the water or being fed by staff and volunteers. The Seal Point Nature Reserve is also beautiful for walks along the coastline.
Moving inland, there are small farm towns of Patensie and Hankey. There is a great restaurant in Patensie called Padlangs. It has grown since it’s humble beginnings in a small roadside farmstall. The Sunday Lunch (book before arriving) was really enjoyable and the menu options are just as good.
Nature’s Valley, Tsitsikamma (see our hike post here) and Plettenberg Bay (see our hike post here) are a few hours away from JBay but we have made day trips to them. A holiday in JBay affords you beachside getaway that is close enough to the mountains of the Baviaanskloof and game reserves like Schotia Safaris and Addo Elephant Park (see our post here).
This remarkable coastal town is an attractive destination throughout the year. The beaches are beautiful and perfect for surfing and bathing. You will always find something good to eat. JBay is close enough to different activities that it can be your base for a great holiday or weekend.
If you are looking for an accommodation and surf lesson combination, look into Surf Lodge South Africa. A truly beautiful place, with good food and company and surf lessons available by the Lodge host.
If you enjoy camping and exploring, Schroeder Motorhomes is situated in JBay and they can help you create your dream home on wheels.
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