The south west coast of South Africa was originally inhabited by the nomadic San people many thousand years ago. They interbred with the Khoi-khoin tribes and became known as the Khoi-San. These peaceful people walked the coastline of South Africa, living off the sea and never claiming ownership to any place, and became known as the Strandlopers (Beach-walkers). Their beautiful rock art is testimony to this spiritual tribe that are the original inhabitants of our beaches.
In 1498 Portuguese sailor Vasco de Gama was the first white man to set foot on South African soil, and quickly set about exploiting the land and her people. He was soon followed by Dutch settlers,, who became known as the Boers (Farmers), and not long after came the British in their quest to colonize the planet. The peace-loving Khoi-San were driven further and further away by force, and today only small pockets of Khoi-San remain, scattered among the sands and deserts of the arid Skeleton Coast.
Numerous explanations exist about where the name Jeffreys Bay derives from. Some say that the name derived from one Captain Jeffrey when his ship was shipwrecked here and he literally stumbled across the beautiful area that was to become Jeffreys Bay. Another source says that the name was derived from a trader that moved here in 1850. Some always say that Jeffreys Bay was initially used as a harbor and trading post and was established in 1849 by one, a J.A. Jeffrey, a whale hunter by trade, originally from St. Helena. As time passed, Jeffreys Bay became a small fishing village and has since grown into the wonderful and world famous holiday town it is today.
Legend has it that the father of South African surfing, John Whitmore, discovered the waves at Jeffrey’s Bay in the late 1950s as he drove up the famous N2 “Garden Route” between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth on a business trip. As he stood in amazement at the side of the road looking at an as yet unmapped break through binoculars, it would have been extremely hard to mistake those ruler edged corduroy lines perfectly wrapping around a point, giving what could have been a 1.2 kilometer ride.
In 1961 Bruce Brown came to South Africa to film part of his classic “Endless Summer” and captured the magic of nearby Bruces Beauties firing, and with it the imaginations of a million surfers. Not the most consistent of waves, but soon enough the travelling seekers cottoned onto another nearby set-up, Jeffrey’s Bay, which was to be seen as the best right point-break on the planet, and still is to this day
Jeffreys Bay – Home to the perfect wave! With its unique combination of beautiful beaches, endless summers, abundant shells, white gold (calamari) and relaxed lifestyle, its no wonder this town has become world renown.
Another International attraction is the Billabong Surfing Festival in July each year when surfers from all over the world come to enjoy these flawless formations of rolling surf. The safe beaches are perfect for bathing and all water sports, making it a popular weekend getaway and holiday destination.
Temperatures are moderate all year round along the coast with rain scattered throughout the year. The summers are warm with a very temperate humidity level. Winters are mild and pleasant, and it is significant that water sports are practised year-round.
The Jeffreys Bay Shell Museum houses an impressive and beautiful collection of local shells gathered on the beaches of Jeffreys Bay, as well as shells from other countries. Visitors are welcome to collect shells which are varied and plentiful.
There are a number of small nature reserves in the area, such as the Kabeljous Estuary and Nature Reserve, which is a walk-about reserve with a safe beach for swimming and excellent fishing opportunities as well as bird watching and small animals.
The Noorsekloof Nature Reserve is a 28.7 hectare reserve stretching up to Wavecrest, small buck and many birds can be seen along the 3 km trail running alongside the stream.
Then there is the Seekoei River Nature Reserve which is on the Seekoei River estuary. It is a bird watchers paradise, as the hide overlooks the Seekoei River where there is an abundance of water fowl.