Jeffrey’s Bay

We had heard great things about Jeffrey’s Bay. A surfers town on the southern coast with a fun backpacker vibe: what more could you want? When we drove through, we knew we were hooked. The place was larger than I had imagined, but had a very laid back, friendly feel to it.
We pulled up at a hostel called Island Vibes at the far end of town. It was paradise. The hostel sat on a small hilltop, right on the beach. It looked across the entire bay, with its white beaches and perfect surfing breakers. The hostel was cheap, clean, had an incredible bar and such wonderful staff. We had a very tight schedule for the next week. Too many things to see to get stuck in one place; but after we saw Jeffrey’s Bay, we pushed back our itinerary and signed up for 2 nights.
Our first afternoon we spent shopping. The town of J-Bay has some incredible deals on surfer ware. Billabong, Rip Curl, Quicksilver and a few local brands all have their outlet stores at one end of town. We spent a couple hours walking the streets, trying to find some cute beach ware.
Afterwards we stopped at a little Sushi joint for some lunch. The place had long wooden picnic tables and was mostly outside. Just the laid back kind of place we love to eat at. That’s where we met Dean, our server. He and his buddy Ash were two South Africans that fell in love with J-Bay’s lifestyle and decided to stay. They work til 3, then surf and dive and party until bed, then get up and do it all again. Dean was keen to give us all sorts of local places to see: the waterfalls, the horseback riding, the places to party, he knew it all. Meeting Dean was just the beginning of our experiences with South Africans. The further along we got with our road trip, the friendlier people were. Just when we thought we’d found the nicest person in the country, the next person would surprise us by being even more helpful.
When we’d gotten some ideas on things to see, we wandered back to the hostel to relax. It was hard not to fit in relaxing in such a laid back town. The view was spectacular, the hostel offered all sorts of comfy couches to lounge on, and after a long drive, it was exactly what we needed.
Sooner than we wished, the bartender from the lower bar found us. “What are you girls doing?! Come down and have a drink with me! It’s lonely down there, come hang out at the bar.”
Oh okay, if we have to.
When we arrived the lower bar was full of just staff members. Michael Jackson (as he liked to be called) was the bartender who had dragged us downstairs. He was a hilarious guy from Malawi who spent most of the night howling with laughter about something. Then there was Ben, the organizer of daily activities for the hostel, and Richard, the upstairs bartender who was trying to fit in as many drinks as he could before his shift started. We had a great time telling stories and sipping on Windhoeks until more people finally started to join in the party.
At one point Michael Jackson got distracted by some friends, so I got behind the bar to pour drinks for everyone. I held my own behind the bar until the cooler full of beer ran out. Apparently the guys thought I did an okay job, because they asked Kelsi and I to come work for them full time. Turns out they need some female bartenders around the place. It was a tempting offer, but with a flight to India in a week, we had to politely decline.
When the beers were completely gone, we shut down the lower bar and moved everyone upstairs to the main bar. From there we spent the night meeting all the different travelers. Dean and Ash even showed up for a while to have some drinks with us before heading to a party in town. Even for a Tuesday, the hostel was pretty full of people looking to have fun.
This time it was my turn to head to bed early while Kelsi partied on into the night. And in the morning, we once again wanted to do nothing…
Unfortunately, there were too many things to see and do, so we dragged our asses out of the hostel and went to see the waterfalls.
The waterfalls were about 20 minutes or so away from our hostel. They were on a local property, just outside of town. All you had to do was pay a dollar or two to enter on to their property then it was yours for the day!
We were given excellent directions to the property. We found it, no problem whatsoever. The issue, we realized quickly, was getting from the main house, to the waterfalls. There were about 20 different routes you could take once you drove through the back yard. Dirt and gravel roads headed out in all directions: great, what now.
We followed the paths that looked the most worn, and tried our best not to bottom out our little car on the way. Finally the road just stopped. So we got out, walked to the edge of the cliff, and looked over into the gully. At the bottom, there was a little blue-green pond with a flying fox running over it. The place was gorgeous; it had some rocks to climb on, and both small and large cliffs to jump off. And as a bonus: no one was there!
Kelsi and I grabbed our things and climbed down into the gully. What a spot! We lay out on the rocks with some music and soaked up the sun. Then it was swimming time. I climbed down the rocks to see how deep the pool was, and Kelsi swung off the flying fox. We swam around for a while, then tried to climb up the rocks on the far side of the pool.
The rocks were fairly flat, but they were covered with moss and were extremely slippery. Every time we started to climb out we would slip back into the water with a splash. This started to become so funny to us that eventually we couldn’t climb out at all we were laughing so hard. We looked like two seals trying to wriggle our way up on the shore. Finally Kelsi tried a new move.
“I’m going to salmon up!” She announced.
So she wriggled her body upwards, with no arms, while I tried the same. It didn’t work. But we were killing ourselves laughing as we were half stuck up on the rocks.
“Oh my god, I wish someone could see us right now” I said.
Kelsi paused, “They can” she said.
“What?!” I looked back and upwards at the top of the cliff. Sam, an Aussie guy that we had met the night before was shaking his head and staring down at us.
“Of all the people in the world” he said “of course it would be you two I find down here”
How embarrassing. We all just laughed, as he, his brother, and a random family all came down into the gully to join us. We had a wonderful afternoon swimming and hanging out with everyone, then finally Kelsi and I decided to head back into town.
We sat on the beach watching the waves for a while, then to a restaurant called Nina’s where we stuffed our faces with nearly every seafood item on the menu.
We had a quiet evening back at the hostel. We watched the sun set over the beach, and called it a night early. Jeffrey’s bay was an incredible place to relax for a couple days along our otherwise busy road trip. The next day we were up early for more activities and another day on the road!

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