Once regarded as a ‘hippie hangout’, this small seaside town in the Eastern Cape has shrugged off its somewhat shaggy image and has gone onto to become a ‘hip’ place to be.
This once sleepy hollow of a fishing town has over time become one of the Eastern Capes fastest growing urban areas. With temperatures reaching a mild average of 18ºC in the winter months and a temperate 25ºC in summer, Jefferys Bay’s balmy climate is appealing to those looking for their place in the sun and the area has gone on to become an extremely popular holiday destination.
The region has come to be regarded as something of a surfing mecca and boasts some of the largest and wildest waves on the southern coastline. As a result, the area plays host to the Billabong ASP Pro Surfing Championships each year. The consistently good surfing conditions in the winter months draw the 32 highest ranked male surfers in the world, who vie for the title in this R3-million event. This top-class event takes place at Dolphin Beach which enjoys Blue Flag status. J-Bay, as it affectionately known, is universally acknowledged as one of the world’s top 10 high performance surf breaks.
It’s not only surfers who are drawn to this beautiful part of the country. Given that the nearest airport is situated in Port Elizabeth, which is just 45 minutes away by car, and that the town is bordered by the Kabeljous and Seekoei estuaries, Jeffreys Bay offers far more than just beachcombing and surfing. Visitors are offered a wealth of options in terms of accommodation and the area caters for all pockets, from backpackers’ accommodation, to guest houses and B&Bs. For those wanting to holiday and spoil themselves in style and luxury, guest lodge and game farm accommodation are in ample supply.
Property values in the area have risen in recent years, thanks mainly to the increased popularity of the area and many who have opted for a quieter, more laid-back life style have, made Jeffreys Bay their permanent home. Recent statistics released by Lightstone reveal that a total of 285 transfers have taken place in the last 12 months. Price averages came in at R885 000 for full title property and R670 000 for sectional title property.
The statistics further reveal that there were a staggering total of 1,271 sales in the area in 2004 and although this number dropped significantly in 2010 and 2011, given the current economic climate, Jeffreys Bay has managed to weather the property storm fairly well. The highest price paid for a property in the area in the last 12 months was R4-million.
This quaint town has everything that makes for a memorable holiday. A wide variety of shops provide everything a holidaymaker could possibly need and the Billabong factory shop has become a must-visit landmark in the town, offering every surfing item imaginable for both novice and pro surfers.
South Africans are not the only ones to have discovered this little piece of paradise and it is estimated that approximately 150 000 domestic and foreign tourists descend on the town over the festive season. While the waves that break on the coastline of this beautiful part of South Africa may have made the area famous, it is not the only attraction. There are a number of good restaurants in the town and activities on offer include sand boarding, kayaking on the river and hiking in the nearby reserves.