Myself and the missus are travelling to South Africa in April next year.
4 weeks in total. We will be landing in Cape Town, hiring a car and the plan is to drive along the coast to Jeffrey’s Bay.
We are happy to camp out somewhere if we (I) happen to come across and good setups.
I’d love to hear people’s thoughts, tips, advice if they have done a similar thing there.
That's a trip I gotta do sometime in the next few years.
Don't bother camping accommodation is cheap, set ups? Every town has a right hand point.
Crustt did you hire a car? Would a 3x2 steamer be right for that time of year do you think?
You'll need to hire a car Phil, first time we went we got given one :-) and every other time we have bought a Kombi. Cape town your going to need 4/3, booties and hood. It's freezing down there, I got out from a surf one day and it was around 35deg with girls walking past in bikinis and me in my booties, hood and gloves couldn't get the car opened my hands were to cold. On the north east side of the cape and up the coast is a different ocean and I wouldn't wear ant more than 2mm, occasionally there will be days when there is an upwelling and you need a 4/3 but these are rare and the surf tends to be average.
If I only had a month there I would not be surfing Cape Town, world class waves but even with local knowledge your chasing your tail a bit. April is a good time to go on the east coast, good southerly groundswells and the chance of catching a cyclone swell from the north east, just about every town has a right hand point and some of those points can be awesome when the swell is hitting it full on straight instead of sweeping in, Supertubes is one of them. Don't worry about pre-booking through airbnb and such, do it the old fashioned way and ask around,you'll get a better price. Most campgrounds have Rondavels at a good price. Kango caves is worth going to and the Addo Elephant park just out of Port Elizabeth is a must.
Crustt thanks for the epic reply!
Sounds like you’ve had great experiences over there.
You’ve given me something to think about. Thanks so much.
South Africa is very high on my bucket list and families but the 1st time we are planning
a trip as we are looking for accomadation at J-Bay Mick Fanning punches a shark in the
face. Then this year watching the contest we are saying we have to go the shark comes
back for a rematch with Fanning. Family and I lost interest again. Its all Fannings fault.
We all still want to go one day.
Sharks are bad there, I had a big white cruise under me apparently, I didn't see it but everyone else did. I would help if the squid fisho's didn't clean their boats as the cruise up the point checking the surf.
It's a country I would rate highly enough to go without surfing, everyday's an adventure.
Don't ever drive at night Phil, apart from being robbed they have one of the highest road tolls in the world.
The travel agent said not to drive at night because of the chance of getting robbed.
Happy to cruise around during daylight hours ha ha.
Some of the places around Cape Town sound sharky as all hell.
I’m not too concerned I’ve grown up surfing in Southern Oz so I’ve come to accept that they’re around.
I’m really looking forward to the Safari part of it. It looks unbelievable.
Yep great country and great people.
One of the things that really stands out is how raw and loose South Africa is, it just feels so free and unstructured. Of course this can be both good and bad but almost all good for the traveller. This is in contrast to Australia, which many people say is the most bureaucratic country in the world.
Without banging on too much about safety in S.A., it really is no joke. This includes flashing cameras etc in the daytime, depending on where you are.
You could easily spend the whole 4 weeks on the south coast but if you get the urge, the Transkei/Wild Coast coastline east of Mthatha is magic - there are some quality points around Mdumbi and Lwandwile and really nice rondavel accommodation at Mdumbi Beach.
Good times ahead Phil!
Andy M what do you mean about flashing cameras?
I think he means showing what you have got to steal evo
Spent 3 months surfing SA, Mozambique & Tanzania about 13 years ago....one hell of a trip. In South Africa I would highly recommend getting a book from the 70's if you can still find it think it was called "surfing south Africa" funnily enough. It contained heaps of slightly vague (but enough to find them) locations of surf spots. Seal rocks at cape St Francis is a great spot....the local pub "the pit stop" has a friendly bunch of surfing locals that should send you in the right direction in that area. Would highly recommend getting up to Mozambique but that's all I'll say............
Good work Booka
Not long to go now getting pretty pumped. Missus is still a bit freaked out about the driving bit. Heard a few too many bad stories I think. (Not stopping at red lights cause you’ll get robbed etc etc)
Swellnet don’t do a forecast for Sth Africa? Dammit
Do not fear, Mishad is here.
As a West Australian whos made South Africa my home for the past 6 years I can probably be of service. I live in Cape Saint Francis in the Eastern Cape and drive the 800km to Cape Town and back to Visit my partner probably every month.
Roads: Between CT and Jbay is the N2 which hugs the coast. Truck drivers are usually ok but you get the odd dickhead. Car drivers are worse but you get use to it. People take some stupid risks just to save a few minutes. Stick to speed limits and you should be good. Expect to be passed on double white lines, around blind corners and over blind crests. Doesn't happen often but does happen. As you head east of Jbay and into eastern Cape the roads get a bit shittier in quality and so do the drivers. Once you hit the Transkei it is quite dangerous. Just be very defensive and prepared. Make sure your car is maintained and serviced regularly to avoid break downs. Driving in Cape Town itself is shit cos of traffic and crime does happen sometimes, so just don't give people opportunities. Maybe I'm complacent but my chick always reminds me to lock the doors and wind up windows. Keep hand bags phones wallets cameras out of sight, as smash and grabs happen. Restauarnts, shops, good looking people, Cape Town is good for all that, plus the vinyards, breweries, bands, and plenty other stuff to do.
The Surf: I came to South Africa 1st time in 2000 and it drew me in. Finally a woman (them damn sexy chick affrikaans accents!) wore me down got me back over there in 2011. So I went for the women but stayed for the lifestyle (and surf). As others have mentioned CT has plenty of waves but they all fucken cold and all fucken sharky. If you love big powerful waves and dont care about cold or sharks then Cape Town would be a good place to base yourself surf wise. Personally I'd only surf the Dune if conditions lined up for it. Namibia is also a long drive 20+ hrs or a short flight if you luck into the right conditions. I don't surf much when I'm there. Traffic, cold...and sharks put me off.
From here going east up the Garden route it's a pleasant drive and best t be broken up into stages....eg. CT to Still baai, stay overnight for a few nights - ok setups around there....then onto Mossel Bay...Kysna...Plet....and then Jbay and Port Elizabeth. Surf gets good and is also sharky. Have I mentioned sharks yet? Sharks. They are cunts of things. The big ones hang in False Bay usually and their offspring the 2-4meteries like to head up the east coast where its a bit warmer. Most Bays you come across along the Garden Route has a seal island of some sort. But speak to local surfers, surf where they surf, and ask them for tips on where is safe and where isn't. Most locals in SA are friendly (except Jbay) and will be happy to point you in the right direction.
Jbay and the surrounds has good waves and is worth spending a bit of time to get familiar with the diff swell directions and places. After Jbay there isnt much until you get to East London which and waves and sharks. I havent surfed there so can't comment on it much, but they call it slummies or slum town now as its lost its charm since the 90s. But...its a good place to get supplies and launch yourself into the transkei. Most places have been mentioned above so I wont go into it. The area is poor as anything, people friendly on the coast (but beware the big towns) and its a side to South Africa that is very unique. You might luck into a local surfer in East London who will give you the keys to his surf shack tucked away in front of some magic point if you play your cards right. April is good time of year to hit that coast and north up to Durban. Here the sharks morph from whites to more bulls (or zambizies as they call them). Be ware of rivermouths after rains.
Further north of Durban I havent ventured funnily enough, havent really needed to, but also have other things in my life other than surfing. But I hear good things if you can time it with a cyclone swell.
Hope that gives you a starting point. 1 month in SA will breeze by, but you are going in the right time of year in my opinion. Summer usually too small and holiday crowds and winter gets cold and stormy, with nice days in between (I like winter too), but best time - Autumn for a mix. I most likely will be there then but I plan getting my ears done there too at that time so won't be happy not surfing watching others have all the fun.
People and food and decent exchange rate makes it an ideal holiday destination and I'm surprised more dont take advantage really. But it has alot of social issues which you will see and can be confronting. To me its an adventure everytime I wake up and I love it.
This my friend is quite the write up! Ya bloody ledgend Mishad.
You’ve answered a lot of my questions and somewhat put my mind at ease.
Yeh good job mishad. Great detail about the stuff that matters in SA...without giving away the keys to the cabin. Bonus points.
I'd like to know how the sharkyness compares to parts of oz?
Given recent events in oz how sharkey can it get? (Looking at pictures of namibia, possibly way more I guessing)
Hey There, or should I say howzit instead to give myself credibility :) ? South African living on the Sunny Coast here, originally from Port Elizabeth but spent the majority of my youth (in the 90's) in Cape St Francis / Jeffries.
Back in the day when I was growing up, we were peripherally aware that there were supposed to be sharks there, but it was never a big thing. As a grom I surfed the Point (slower fatter wave further down the line from Supertubes - the spot you see in the WSL events) often, as my parents' house is right there by the bottom car park. I never saw a shark myself, and the only time it was "real", was when a mate of mine had been nibbled at. He's mentioned in the last line of this old article (incorrectly cited as surfing Seal point, which is in Cape St Francis) https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/I-saw-his-teeth-20030808
I often get asked the "shark question", and to be honest with you, I genuinely think it's blown out of proportion, however, you need to be a little more vigilant than the local surfers here on the Sunny and Gold coasts are. I never surfed at first light, and certainly never surfed alone .. where things like that here would be best-case scenario.
I can't comment on Cape Town and surrounding areas, but they have a pretty great Shark Spotter program, so it will be worth being educated on it when you get there.
To be fair I was probably exaggerating the sharkiness factor only slightly but there are spots I would probably never surf. Mainly anywhere near False Bay (how people can still surf the rubbish at Muizenberg just baffles me) although there are some world class waves very occasionally, I'd prefer to leave it to the locals. Deep in the Bay in Mossel Bay where you can throw a stone to Seal Island from a couple surf spots there. Off Plett near the Robberg Nature reserve I've heard of friends pulling up there on the cliffs/hills and watching great whites swim below. I reckon I would feel about the same exposure as Rottnest Island, and down south these days. As west oz are getting their fair share of sightings. I've only had one encounter while kite surfing alone near where I live at sundown at a beach called 'ducks'. Short for 'Sitting ducks'. Almost ran over the thing as it came in for a look. But given the amount of time regulars spend in the water and the lack of encounters in general then you can take comfort in that. I do. They are out there and around. prob no more than east coast oz either. I liken Cape Town False Bay area to South Oz and Eastern cape to Est coast oz for sharks. As similar patterns, water temps and food supplies correlate. But thats a broad comparison.
Last year I went to a talk in Cape Town given by PHD biologist who has 20+ years studying full time Great Whites in False Bay and she reckons most of em like the cool - warm waters and they dont get many sightings around the corner and up the west coast (where its COLD). They reckon only the biggest ones tend to venture up around the west coast cos they can handle the cooler waters better. So prob larger sharks but fewer in number up that side. Not sure if that makes me feel better though. In the transkei you want someone out there with you though, ALOT of marine life on that stretch.
Great reading from all. I too would love to take the missus there as J-Bay would have to be a top 5 bucket list wave for me, not to mention the wildlife.
Not sure if i should write this but totally unrelated to surfing- I've got a great mate who lives in Pretoria, drives a 7-Series. After his first car-jacking now keeps a poison laced bottle of whisky in the glove box in the event of it happening again. Reckons it's a fair swap. His flashy ride for the chance of the thief dying an agonising death by way of imbibing a bonus hip flask within arms reach of the steering wheel.
He doesn't give a damn, cars insured. Kinda twisted logic in my eyes though.
"Ducks" used to surf it in the 80's when it was called "Shark Attack".
Zen your mate isn't kinda he's truly twisted, it's only a car not worth murdering someone over.
Ducks - that's the name for the beachie further down from Seal point, right? When I was a kid surfing there, I think the name we'd given it back then was F*ck ups... never knew why it was called that though :p
Did some work for a lady when she was building a few years back. Told us the reason she left S.A , about 15 years ago. They had a farm, so quite remote. The Ex was hijacked by 2 black S.A''s
in his car, on the journey out to where i guess he presumed he would be killed, he reached down to a loaded pistol in his door & blew them both away, pulled over dumped them out & on his way. About 6 months later the wife & ex came home to find the gardener hanging from a tree, the female cook & cleaner both raped & butchered, the place ransacked & a total mess, she said that convinced them to leave!! I guess that would do it!
One of our local shaper owns one of those big kick arse houses on the point at J-bay overlooking the break, his is in prime position...my mates went and stayed there 15-20 years ago, but i was too broke to go :(
Haha too much driving around the goldy looking for waves on Bob Hawkes surf team Indo D?
Far out mrmick that’s intense. Good reading on this thread though
Any of you guys and gals know of the best site to look at for a Jeffries Bay surf forecast? Unfortunately there isnt one on here. Will be there late next week.
Thanks for the help.
Check out wavescape.co.za
Eastern Cape west forecast.
They were on the money when I was at j bay a few years ago.
Thank you Mackdog. I’ll check it out