South Africa // The Eastern Cape //

Jeffrey’s Bay

Some 75km west of Port Elizabeth, off the N2, JEFFREY’S BAY (known locally as J Bay) is jammed during the holiday seasons, when thousands of visitors throng the beaches, surfing shops and fast-food outlets, giving the place a really tacky seaside resort feel.

For surfing aficionados, however, this is a trifling detail; J Bay is said by some to be one of the world’s top three surfing spots. If you’ve come to surf, head for the break at Super Tubes, east of the main bathing beach, which produces an impressive and consistent swirling tube of whitewater, attracting surfers from all over the world throughout the year. Riding inside the vortex of a wave is considered the ultimate experience by surf buffs, but should only be attempted if you’re an expert. Other key spots are at Kitchen Windows, Magna Tubes, the Point and Albatross. Surfing gear, including wet suits, can be rented from the multitude of surfing shops along Da Gama Road.

Dolphins regularly surf the waves here, and whales can sometimes be seen between June and October. The main bathing areas are Main Beach (in town) and Kabeljous-on-Sea (a few kilometres north), with some wonderful seashells to be found between Main and Surfer’s Point.