Tucked along the pristine shores of South Africa’s Eastern Cape lies the picturesque gem of Jeffreys Bay, a coastal paradise revered by surf enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Not only is it renowned for its world-class waves and vibrant beach culture, Jeffreys Bay has evolved into a multifaceted destination, offering a diverse array of activities beyond surfing – and we were soon to discover that this seaside town promises an unforgettable adventure for every kind of traveller.
We arrived in J-Bay as its affectionately called, at the tail-end of the SA Longboard Championships and the parking at the Supertubes Collection Guest House, our home for the next few days, was packed with everything from an old VW combi ‘motorhome’ to high end SUVs with roof racks for carrying those precious surfboards. Its prime location overlooking the iconic Supertubes surf break and pristine beach makes it the perfect spot for some serious R&R.
The Supertubes Collection, owned and run by the lovely Maresa Meyer and her team, presents a range of accommodation options, from the upscale beachfront guesthouse where we were staying, to B&B accommodation as well as self-catering suites.
I walk into my tastefully designed luxury room, its stylish décor captures the essence of its coastal surroundings, but it’s the view from my balcony that draws my attention. Lush green vegetation gives way to and azure ocean and glorious, surf breaks – I’m learning the J-Bay lingo quickly. Forget unpacking, it’s time to head to the beach!
I can see why surfers from all corners of the globe flock to the iconic Supertubes, famed for its powerful, fast, and perfectly formed barrels that challenge even the most seasoned wave riders. It was a delight to watch as professionals and amateurs alike took to the waves and rode them like there was no tomorrow. Supertubes is considered to be, not just the best premier wave in South Africa, but features in the top 10 best right-hand waves in the world! Little wonder Jeffreys Bay is one of the stops on the World Surf League tour, making it a vibrant hub for surf culture and a perfect spot for those wanting to witness some exhilarating surf competitions. And for those wishing it were you on the surf break, there are plenty of surf schools to get you started.
We weren’t here to catch waves, but rather to explore what this quaint and sometimes quirky destination had to offer.
And high on that list was to indulge in some retail therapy. The local shopping scene offers a blend of unique artisanal crafts, fashionable boutiques, and quirky surf shops. The bustling town centre is a treasure trove for those seeking authentic local artwork, handmade jewellery, and traditional African artifacts. We wander around the Jeffreys Bay Surf Village, appreciate its surf culture trendy retail outlets, offering everything from factory shop bargains and trendy boutiques to home décor, coffee shops and restaurants. A fun shopping experience that reflects the town’s laid-back yet trendy vibe.
For a fascinating journey into conchology (the collecting of shells), head to the Jeffreys Bay Shell Museum, located near Main Beach. Established in 1998, the museum showcases the extensive shell collection of a local enthusiast, Mev Charlotte Kritzinger, which over time has grown through donations and exchanges with other collectors.
Glass display cabinets line the walls, but it’s the paper nautilus exhibit that catches my eye first, then the incredible display of cowrie shells, from tiny specimens to large, polished ones… and there’s the paper nautilus, baby jam tarts, and the beautiful pansy shells and sea pumpkins. There is even a display of Jeffreys Bay micro shells plus so many more. Having undergone some renovations in December 2019, the museum includes other intriguing artifacts, including a rack of baleen from a Southern Right Whale. And future plans include incorporating information on local fishermen and the town’s history.
We take a leisurely stroll along the pristine golden sands from Main Beach towards Supertubes, it’s a glorious morning and the rhythmic sound of the crashing waves creates a soothing melody for the soul. Seagulls dot the shoreline and occasional oystercatchers perch on rocks. A local fisherman and his dog wait patiently for a bite. One can’t help but stop to appreciate the variety of shells on the shore… thankfully I can name a few now!
I awake early the next morning to catch the sunrise, and already surfers are out riding the waves. Breakfast beckons so I head back for a cappuccino and breakfast, which is served daily in the dining room or on the outside deck – which is where I choose to sit and breathe in the fresh sea air enjoying the view of the lush gardens and the ocean beyond.
But Jeffreys Bay is about more than just beaches and bustling streets, there are a myriad of natural wonders waiting for us to explore.
Nestled within this coastal splendour, is the Kabeljous Nature Reserve, a hidden gem for nature enthusiasts and hikers alike. This pristine sanctuary, spanning over 200 hectares, serves not only as a breathtaking escape for adventurers but also as a critical conservation area, preserving the rich biodiversity that makes this region a true marvel.
Beyond the picturesque landscapes and breathtaking vistas, Kabeljous Nature Reserve stands as a beacon of hope for conservation efforts in the Eastern Cape. The Kabeljous Reserve Action Group (KRAG), a group of local conservationists and volunteers, work tirelessly to protect the delicate balance of this natural haven, ensuring the survival of its unique plant and animal life for generations to come. Their ongoing initiatives include habitat restoration, alien invasive species management, and environmental education.
We head out on the trails with local volunteer and KRAG chairman, Hennie Swanervelder, and wind our way through diverse landscapes of fynbos, coastal forest, and dune thicket, all providing a rare glimpse into the intricate ecosystem at play and rewarding views of the saltmarsh, where we spotted flamingo feeding in the shallows, and the pristine beach with Indian Ocean beyond.
The reserve is home to an astonishing array of plant and animal species, many of which are endemic to the area, making every step a discovery of nature’s wonders.
No trip to Jeffreys Bay is complete without savouring the local culinary delights that reflect the region’s rich cultural tapestry. From the local catch of the day fish charred over the coals at the quirky Walskipper restaurant with its fabulous beachside location, to a hearty breakfast and perfectly brewed cappuccino at the Tasty Table, or simply staying in for a delicious home-cooked meal or fireside braai back at the Supertubes Guesthouse.
Whether you’re seeking the thrill of riding the waves or longing for a peaceful escape amid the coastal beauty, this charming town ensures an unforgettable experience that resonates long after you’ve bid it farewell. Pack your bags, embrace the coastal breeze, and immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of Jeffreys Bay – a destination that promises an adventure for every soul.
About the Supertubes Collection:
Over the years, the Supertubes Collection has expanded from a Bed and Breakfast into an elegant array of high-end, 4-star self-catering accommodations. The 13 ensuite Luxury Rooms, housed at no 6 Pepper Street, have private balconies and beach views, including a wheelchair- friendly room. Its self-catering house at No 11 Pepper Street is ideal for family getaways and consists of three ensuite bedrooms, each with a sea view and an open plan dining and kitchen area. It opens onto a garden with BBQ facilities and is fully equipped and serviced daily.
Additionally, there are eight ensuite Classic Standard Rooms at no 12 Pepper Street, with a patio/ lounge and braai area, and at Khaya Zinza (house of tranquillity), the luxury villa located at no 16 Pepper Street, directly in front of the world famous Supertubes, there are five ensuite bedrooms, each with a private balcony and three with sea views.
The Supertubes Collection is a member of Cape Country Routes. The newly launched ‘Cape Country Routes Loyalty Program’ offers loyalty membership options for individuals/couples (R200 per annum) or families (R500 per annum) offer great discounts and value-adds with participating accommodation and activity providers. Sign up via https://loyalty.capecountryroutes.com/
Read the article in the digital mag HERE