Jeffreys Bay – or J Bay to the locals – may be known first and foremost as a surf destination, thanks to the famous (and best) right hand surf break, but as with any small town, a deeper dive uncovers a host of experiences that fill the soul and provide a welcome relief to those looking for a quiet escape. It was on one such trip, a recent two-day stopover to the famous bay which took place at least a decade after my last visit, that I discovered a side that appealed to the more grown-up me. These are my highlights…
If nature is your luxury
Of course, there’s a beach – and a rather spectacular stretch at that. From the famed Supertubes Beach (home to that right hand point break), to Dolphin Beach, which has Blue Flag status and tends to attract the holiday makers in season, to Paradise Beach, an inviting 15km of solitude, bordered by natural reserves and estuaries, and home to otters and small antelope. Then there’s the wildlife rich Seekoei River Estuary, a great place to spot the flamingoes, while Kabeljous Beach and Lagoon, a preserved estuary home to a variety of water birds, is where you can kayak, paddle and windsurf. There is also the 160-hectare Kabeljous Nature Reserve where I found myself breathing in deeply and clearing my head. The area includes part of the Kabeljous River and estuary, dunes, wetlands and salt marshes. A short hike oceanside reveals tranquil views, best enjoyed by sitting still on one of the many benches. This is when you’re likely to spot all sorts – from dolphins frolicking in the ocean to flamingoes, herons and kingfishers, or even grey duiker and bushbuck. It is safe and well maintained and signposted for hikers, birders, trail runners and mountain bikers thanks to the Kabeljous Reserve Action Group (KRAG), which relies on volunteers and donations from visitors.
If dining is your luxury
Don’t expect starched tablecloths and suited waiters – who wants that when you have windswept hair and sand on your toes – but you can look forward to good views, tasty meals and authentic hospitality. Make sure you get to Tasty Table Café, a family run eatery across the road from the main beach. From the delicious coffee and pastry menu to breakfast with a spin (the flatbreads topped with interesting combinations are a must-try) to homemade burgers, seafood and deconstructed salads, there is no shortage of choice. Another must-visit if you like to dine with your feet in the sand (literally) is Die Walskipper, which is perched on the edge of the ocean and serves seafood and traditional South African dishes cooked on open fires or in clay ovens. If gourmet tapas and cocktails are more your vibe, Unwind Tapa Bar is the place to be. It may not have the beach view, but more than makes up for it with its pretty décor.
If home comforts are your luxury
There is nothing better in my mind than being able to lounge on a comfy couch with a book or curl up in bed made up with starched white sheets or sit on a patio with a view that is just right. It’s that serviced home away from home vibe that adds the proverbial cherry on the top to a getaway. The reason the Supertubes Guest House collection gets this right and more can be attributed to owner Maresa Mayer, who started the collection with her first B&B 20 years ago and is a wealth of knowledge and contact when it comes to J-Bay, as well as a hostess that offers the kind of hospitality that is ingrained, not learnt. The same can be said for Moses Temaremoyo, who serves delicious dishes, while ensuring guests are well taken care of. The en-suite Luxury Rooms have private balconies and beach views (for that morning coffee or quiet sundowner), while the beachfront villa Khaya Zinza offers it all – the views, proximity to the beach, quality accommodation and great service. Special touches considering the location include an outdoor hot water shower, secure surfboard racks and wetsuit dryer. And for those who travel with their pooches, pets are welcome.
An added bonus is that Supertubes Guest House is a member of Cape Country Routes (CCR) South Africa, a group of owner-operated and managed accommodation and activity establishments along the popular routes in the Eastern and Western Cape. In an effort to promote tourism in these areas, CCR encourages further travel so is a great resource to plan a trip, with the reassurance that the accommodation and experiences along the way are all 4- or 5-star and benefit the communities.
To plan an itinerary (Jeffreys Bay is perfectly positioned to explore the greater area – Addo Elephant National Park, Tsitsikamma and Baviaanskloof are an hour or so away, while there is a variety of other activities in and around J-Bay), contact Jeffreys Bay Tourism:
Tasty Tables Café: 082 858 8226
Die Walskipper: (042) 292 0005
Unwind Tapa Bar: 042 293 3651
Kabeljous Nature Reserve: www.jeffreysbaytourism.org/member/kabeljous-nature-reserve