In 1849, the St Helena whaler, JA Jeffrey, established a harbour at this spot because it was ideally situated midway between the Gamtoos and Kromme Rivers and the estuaries of the Kabeljous and Seekoei Rivers. Jeffrey’s fresh produce business thrived until 1905, when a narrow-gauge railway was built and it ceased to be the only provider of produce to the Langkloof.
Today, Jeffrey’s Bay, affectionately known as “J-Bay” is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the St Francis Bay area. It offers large shell-covered beaches, dolphin- and whale-sightings and is an internationally-renowned surfing spot. It is the venue for the annual International Billabong Pro Surfing Competition.
Adventure And Sport
Fishing: Jeffrey’s Bay provides excellent opportunities for surf fishing along the beaches that stretch from the Gamtoos River to the Kabeljous River . Rock fishing is ideal from the Kabeljous River to Paradise Beach. Daily deep-sea fishing expeditions can be chartered from Marina Martinique or Main Beach.
Scuba-diving: Scuba-divers come from all over the world to explore life under the waters of Jeffrey’s Bay. The reefs are from 12 to 23 m deep with 5 to 15 m visibility and a comfortable water temperature that varies from 14 to 23 degrees Celsius (57 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit).
Shell collecting: The beaches and coastline in the Jeffrey’s Bay area are considered to be the best places on the South African coast for finding shells.
Surfing: Jeffrey’s Bay is known as the resort with the perfect waves and most surfers who love challenging the forces of the sea agree that Jeffrey’s Bay’s “super tubes” are the world’s best.
Fauna And Flora
Kabeljous Estuary and Nature Reserve: The reserve has a safe beach for swimming and is particularly popular among fishermen. The reserve was established to preserve the natural habitat of various local species of waterfowl.
Noorsekloof Nature Reserve: Noorsekloof is a 28-ha reserve that stretches up the valley to Wavecrest. The 3-km hiking trail offers excellent opportunities for bird watching.
Paradise Beach: A suitable name for the beautiful spot on the lagoon where the Seekoei and Swart Rivers meet. One of the country’s largest swan colonies also realised the potential of this spot and have made this their breeding place.
Seekoei River Nature Reserve: The reserve lies on the Seekoei River Estuary. The reserve is particularly popular among bird-watchers and hikers. The hiking trails start with an interesting difference – a raft trip across the lagoon!
Van Staden’s Wild Flower Reserve: The Wild Flower Reserve, the Bird Sanctuary and Van Staden’s River Mouth combine to form one of the most spectacular wild flower areas in South Africa. There are picnic spots, walks, mountain-bike trails, as well as a scenic route for cars. The river mouth features a magnificent stretch of beach and the floral-and bird life along the Van Staden’s River is a feast for the eye.