Jockey in Jeffreys Bay
Jeffreys Bay is the 'home to the perfect wave'. Glancing out over the aloes from the wooden deck of the famous car park that overlooks Supertubes, it’s not hard to imagine the drama of some great surfing contests that have graced these shores in the past playing out in front of you. But really, the magic of this town is found in the people who have made it their home.
We are soon introduced to Alison, who heads up the Supertubes conservation initiative. Her projects not only deal with recycling, beach clean ups and local plant protection but also involve the community in a number of these ventures. It is evident that her passion behind the scenes is what drives the sustained beauty of this endangered coastline.
With stomachs rumbling, we turned towards De Viswijf Restaurant, a lovely family restaurant nestled above another classic J-Bay surfing beach, aptly named Kitchen Windows. Some argue whether the surf spot or restaurant came first, but I am sure the owner, Ernie Blignault, will indulge you in this and other 'Viswijf stories' whilst you enjoy the delectable dishes on offer from the unique positioning of this award-winning restaurant.
Feeling gratified after a scrumptious lunch, we mosied on toward the eastern side of Jeffreys Bay to a horse riding school, Featherfoot Horse Rides, in Kabeljouws. They offer a variety of trails for beginners to more accomplished riders and provide everything one needs for a horseback adventure.
The skill level of our group varied significantly, so we opted for a gentle trot along the beach. Sandwiched between the lagoon and incoming tide, the well-trained horses kept pace with one another before turning back for home and allowing the more experienced riders to break into a gallop. I sat at a contented trot and watched the sun begin its descent into the ocean, causing the sea and lagoon to glitter simultaneously before pausing for a moment, as if to give the photographers among us the chance to capture some exquisite shots of these golden minutes.
Scintillating St Francis
'A village within a village' is the impression one gets walking amongst the secluded villas and self-catering bed and breakfast units found within Cape St Francis Resort.
With direct access to a long stretch of untouched coastline and an award-winning restaurant and bar on site (Joe Fish Restaurant), there seems no reason to go any further if you are looking for some rest and relaxation.
Stencilled into the horizon is Seal Point Lighthouse, which at 27.5 m high is South Africa’s tallest masonry lighthouse.
As with Jeffreys Bay, it is the people who really shape the character of this seaside town. Actively pursuing responsible tourism, Betty’s Tours provides a glimpse into the everyday life of those in the area.
One can visit the SANCCOB, a penguin rehabilitation centre, Talhado Children’s Haven and Nomvula’s Knitters, an initiative started to empower woman from the township by creating a sustainable income and imparting business skills in the clothing industry.
By night, the glow of fishermen’s lamps strapped to fishing vessels decorate the bay, which is widely renowned for its chokka (squid/calamari.) The Chokka Trail offers the more active traveller a chance to explore the region on foot over four-days of slack packing.
The trail opens up the Sand River dunes, Oyster Bay, St Francis Bay and the coastal paths, which weave along a treacherous coastline responsible for many a shipwreck in years past, commonly referred to as 'The Wild Side' of Cape St Francis.
We were fortunate enough to time the tides well enough to see a natural blowhole, created from waves gushing through a gully, powerfully forcing through a small opening and creating a fountain that showered all those who had crept close enough.
After a great day filled with wonderful conversations and tough walking, it seemed only appropriate to enjoy a calamari feast, overlooking the harbour at Port St Francis with our new friends who had endured the day’s activity with us.
After a good day's exercise, Liquid Lines, a new sports facility in Cape St Francis, offers just the set up to deal with lactic-acid build up. Haydn Holmes, recently back from Dubai, has a state-of-the-art aquatics facility that some will use to begin their training for the gruelling IRONMAN Series, which takes place in March each year. However, those with any kind of aquatic ability are also welcome here and it is well worth visiting on your day off.