So, for those of you who’ve had the conversation with me about how I don’t actually love Jeffrey’s Bay that much will know that my major issue with it is the face-brick. I know it sounds petty and it is absolutely, 100% my own issue. But, face-brick depresses me. I think it’s because it hurts if you scrape against it. Your house hurts you.
But, there’s actually plenty to love about Jeffrey’s Bay (once you get over the betrayal of face-brick) and it’s a particularly stunning option for a weekend getaway for those in Port Elizabeth or along the Garden Route.
Better known as JBay, this is a quiet seaside town that is about an hour outside PE and two hours from Plett. It’s known as the gateway to the Garden Route and is world-famous for the awesome surfing on offer here. Growing up in PE meant day trips to JBay to shop, watch the guys surf, and pretend to know exactly what was going on on those waves.
Today, I still visit JBay from time to time. And the reasons aren’t all that different. Except that I don’t pretend to enjoy watching my guy on the water anymore. I actually do enjoy it. Here are some other things I love about Jeffrey’s Bay:
JBay has been the shopping hotspot of choice for so many Eastern Cape locals because of its many factory shops. Some of these sell surf gear or popular surf labels at reduced prices. Sometimes they’re only slightly reduced, sometimes you get a really great deal. Look out for Billabong, Roxy, Country Feeling and Quiksilver.
It always surprises me how big this mall is for such a small town. It has shops, chemists, restaurants, coffee shops and entertainment centres (including movie houses and a play area for littlies).
Watersports and Surfing
JBay is, without a doubt, a Mecca for watersports. Every year, a leg of the international surfing compo (the Corona Open, which was known as The Billabong) is held here. This means that JBay hosts some of the world’s top surfing legends and their fans, earning its place on the map. Apparently (I definitely wouldn’t know this off-hand), the best surf spots are Supertubes, Point, Boneyards and Main Beach. Other watersports that are super-popular here include kite-surfing, paddling, stand-up paddling, body-boarding, hydro-foiling, swimming and diving (snorkelling and SCUBA).
As is typical of the Eastern Cape Province, the water is pretty warm in Jeffrey’s, thanks to the Indian Ocean, and many of the beaches are perfect for swimming. There are sandy stretches that go on and on and on, flanked by the sea on one side and gorgeous greenery on the other. I’m a sun-worshipper (I know, I know) and love tanning with a good book. But, I’ve also done the Papiesfontein horse riding adventure, which took me galloping across the beaches on horseback. It was every bit as beautiful and exciting as it sounds. I loved every moment. And I’d recommend a sports bra.