Jeffreys Bay

From Openwaterpedia
Boneyards, site of the Shell Festival Sea Swim in South Africa
Supertubes at Jeffreys Bay, also known as J-bay

Jeffreys Bay (Afrikaans: Jeffreysbaai, also known as J-bay) is a town located in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. The town is situated about an hour's drive southwest of Port Elizabeth and is a stop on the African Swim Safari tour as well as the Shell Festival Sea Swim. It is designated as a blue flag beach.


Jeffreys Bay is named after the senior partner of the firm Jeffrey & Glendinnings that opened a store in 1849 on the location where the town is today.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Jeffreys Bay was known as a hippie hangout, where the now-burgeoning surf community originated. Jeffreys Bay has grown from a sleepy little fishing town over the past few years and is one of the fastest expanding urban areas in the country and is currently the site of the Cirrus Bio-Ears Swim Challenge Series.

Open Water Swimming

  • It was named one of the World's Best Open Water Swimming Towns.
  • The pristine canals of Marina Martinique have seen Jeffreys Bay gain a solid reputation as an open water swim venue. The Steers Marina Mile has been held at Marina Martinique since 2002 and has grown into a two day open water swim festival with events ranging from the Mile to the extreme 25 K swim.
  • There are also sea swims that take place in Jeffreys Bay, namely the Jeffreys Bay Swim Challenge and the Shell Festival Sea Swim
  • The South African Open Water Swim Championships were held in Jeffreys Bay in 2011.


Jeffreys Bay is one of the five most famous surfing destinations in the world and hosts the annual Billabong Pro ASP World Tour surfing event at Supertubes during July. Spectators and surfers from all over the world flock to this event, which can be viewed live over the internet and various television channels. A very long, fast, tubing right hand point break breaks along the west side of the bay. The break is regarded as one of the best right hand point breaks in the entire world, in both consistency and quality, in season. It has been divided up into several sections, including, from the top of the point, Kitchen Windows, Magna tubes, Boneyards, Supertubes, Impossibles, Tubes, the Point, and Albatross. "Supertubes", which itself breaks for about 300m or more, is regarded as the best part of the wave. On rare occasions (large wave sizes, wide-breaking waves, and even swells), Boneyards can link up all the way to the Point for a ride over one kilometer long. Optimal size is considered to be from about 4 to 10 feet (Hawaiian scale), or about 8 to 20 feet wave faces. The most consistent waves occur between about May to mid September, also often coinciding with offshore winds, although good waves can occasionally occur at other times of the year.

Jeffreys Bay is a popular tourist destination because of its surfing opportunities and the blue flag beach.

Jeffreys Bay is famous for abundant seashells and calamari. The nearby Kabeljous, Seekoei and Kromme river lagoons host numerous water birds, and are also ideal for watersports like canoeing, boardsailing, and fishing. Every year, migrating whales make their way to Jeffreys Bay to give birth, and whales can be seen breaching almost every day during the season.

Just to the northeast of town on the Kabeljous River lies the Kabeljous Nature Reserve. It is a walk-about reserve, well known to anglers for a diverse number of fish. The Kabeljous estuary is one of the best preserved estuaries in the Eastern Cape. The lagoon is home to waterfowl, herons, and a variety of waders. Nearby, the Seekoei River Nature Reserve lies between Aston Bay and Paradise Beach. The reserve lies on the estuary formed by the Seekoei and Swart rivers. The reserve is rich in birdlife with over 120 species of birds. The lagoon is also home to numerous red-knobbed coots, buck and other small animals. Fishing from boats is prohibited here.[citation needed] There is also a circular hiking trail that takes about three hours to complete. The trail starts with a trip on a raft across the lagoon and runs through fynbos and subtropical vegetation.

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