FRIDAY JULY 21, 2017
 
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THE WAY TO DO J-BAY
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Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa was first thrust into the spotlight following the release of The Endless Summer in 1966, the now iconic surf movie. The location made headlines more recently for being the waters where Australian surf champion Mick Fanning managed to evade the clutches of a shark during the J-Bay open. For surfers however, this place remains famous for producing some of the longest, most perfect right breaks in the world. A venture to the town in the Eastern Cape of South Africa also makes for an adventure unlike any other, and we’ve got just the recipe on how to go about it.

Wherever you fly in from, the need to make Cape Town your first destination. The city which plays host to Table Mountain and Robben Island lies 700km to the west of J-Bay, and is the perfect place to start your African journey. The amount of foreigners traveling through Cape Town ensures that there is no shortfall in backpackers and affordable accommodation. South Africa’s public transport leaves a lot to be desired, so to save yourself the headache of looking for taxi’s, trains and busses rather hire a car. Places like Rentacheapie and Renta-VW do car rentals for great prices. Having your own wheels will also help with lugging surf boards around on your trip.

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Once unpacked and comfortable in your new surroundings, head out to explore a few Cape Town surf spots. Llandudno makes for a great experience. About a 15 minute drive outside the city on the Atlantic Seaboard, this beach provides white sand, turquoise water and impressive right breaks that usually barrel. The waves do tend to get quite crowded, and locals can be a bit vocal when dealing beginners. For a similar wave, but with more seclusion, head further south to Sandy Bay. It’s a bit of a walk from the car to the beach, but the scenery is exquisite. Sandy Bay is also a famous nudist beach, in case you feel like airing out.

If you’re pining for a more of a festive vibe to kick off your voyage then Muizenberg might be for you. With plenty of surf schools and a buzzing seafront, the area to the south of Cape Town offers a great day out. Here you could meet up with other foreigners planning a trip similar to yours. The waves here are a bit sloppy, but the atmosphere generally makes the ride more fun than anything else.

Table_Mountain.jpgCape Town isn’t all about surf, as the town really knows how to throw out a good time in general. Be sure to take a trip up Table Mountain, either via cable car or by taking a hike. The views from the top are heavenly, and make for good photos to show peeps back home. In close proximity to Cape Town is South Africa’s Winelands, which make for an epic day out. A word of advice; grab a tour bus for this one. A day of wine tasting can leave you feeling a little over-confident behind the wheel. If you’re feeling brave you might want to check out the shark cage diving, or perhaps visit the Waterfront if facing a shark isn’t your thing. Night life is never dull in Cape Town. Long Street has a plethora of bars and clubs, while the road itself carries a constant carnival atmosphere. Also try the beach bars in Camps Bay where the super wealthy hang out, or why not GrandWest Casino, where those hoping to live in Camps Bay hang out.  Besides all the regular table games and slot machines, Grand West is also home to the city’s premier live music arena. Despite the increased popularity of online gambling at web and mobile casinos, the casino floor is heaving every night of the week.

But Journey’s must progress, and although the allure of Cape Town will make you want to stay, you will return before departing SA. Pack up the boards and the car and head out east on the N2 Garden Route highway for an early morning mission. About an hour into your trip be sure to pull into the quaint town of Hermanus. The place is famous for whale watching, and on a good day they can be seen splashing around, or even jumping clean out the water. Bientang’s Cave makes for a great lunch spot, but keep it short as there’s still some driving to do. For your first night on the road it’s best to crash at Mossel Bay. Try Mossel Bay Backpackers for a room, and if there’s time left in the day hit up Outer Pool surf spot.

Knysna_Elephants.jpgYou might be itching for some waves on day 2 on the road, so get an early start and continue east, heading for Victoria Bay. This popular surf spot puts out some awesome breaks, and is the perfect introduction to surf on the Garden Route. Day 2 of driving will take you through Knysna, a town with a really chilled atmosphere, and an iconic coastal forest that is worth exploring. Slightly east of knysna is Plettenberg Bay (or Plett as the locals call it). In between these two towns is the Knysna Elephant Park, which is a must to get your first taste of African wild life. Seeing one of these creature up close is something you’ll never forget. All the activities of day 2 will have got you thinking about a comfortable bed, which you can find in Plett. The town is famous along the Garden Route for accommodating the youth, and contains a wide variety of backpackers and bars. Be sure to visit the Lookout Deck and Restaurant for a meal and a few sundowners.

Day 3 will end with you reaching your desired destination. Heading out of Plett you’ll come across the Bloukrans Bungee Jump. Just looking down from this bridge is not for the faint hearted, as the jump is recognised as the highest bungee bridge in the world. Once you’ve brought up your breakfast at Bloukrans move on east to Cape St Francis, with its pristine coastline and unforgettable surf at Seal Point it remains one of the top surf spots in the Eastern Cape. This town lies right next to J-Bay, so if you’re too anxious to get to the prize then no sweat.

Bloukrans_Bungee_2.jpgFinally, after countless hours of flight, jamming Long Street, watching whales, walking with elephants and plunging into a rocky gorge, J-bay has been reached. First things first, get settled it. Jeffreys Bay Backpackers is island vibe and very festive with lots of foreigners. It also provides good Mexican food evenings which never fails to draw a crowd. Cristal Cove is also an option, mainly for its close proximity to Super Tubes (one of the best right hand point breaks in the world).

However, you came all this way for one thing; to get on those waves. J-bay offers a more than six different surf breaks on one coast, all almost as good and unique as each other. Bone yards and magna tubes were personal favourites, simply due to less crowds and solid barrel sections. But once you’re there just try them all. All the rumours will ring true once you drop in and glide along that right hander. You’ll need to spend a minimum of four days in J-Bay exploring and finding the spot that works best for you. Along the way you might have met a crowd that could rope you in for a longer stay. There’s just one thing along this whole trip that Mick Fanning would give advice on; keep an eye out for those Great Whites.


 

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