A Glimpse of South Africa
From my experience, most people don’t seem to really know a whole lot about from South Africa. When they hear the words “South Africa” the only thing them seem to have taken in is the word “Africa”. Then images of poverty and under fed children fill their minds. Though this may be a reality for a lot of Africa itself, South Africa is a country with areas that are actually great places to live! So I want to share a part of South Africa that the media sometimes hide. And it isn’t about Johannesburg or Cape Town.
The Gem of J-Bay
Jeffrey’s Bay, or “J-Bay” as the locals call it, is an endless summer of warm golden beaches and crisp blue water which has been named as one of “Top 15 Best Surfing Spots In the World“, attracting international surfers from all ranks. As if the endless allure of water sports options weren’t enough, fishing, whale watching and dolphin sightings are a popular drawing card for tourists and locals. Other attractions are the wonderful “Shell Museum”, the well-groomed golf courses and horse riding along the beaches.
Road-Trip through the Garden Route
I recently went on a road-trip down to J-Bay with my boyfriend and his parents and his sister, to go visit his family that lives there. I was excited, to say the very least! Driving, opposed to flying, really allows for experiencing the landscape! Apart from being cramped in the car with two ridiculously tall people on either side of me, in a very hot car, it was a good drive. South Africa is filled with rich and beautiful landscapes, which whines and rises to green valleys, golden fields, rocky mountain ranges and beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Getting away and stepping away from the hustle and bustle of a very past paced city like Johannesburg and letting off some steam in a very relaxed town like Jeffrey’s Bay, is a welcomed break. Most of the people there are what some might call “ultra chilled”.
Tasty Table Cafe, Under-Rated Dining
The first couple of days we hung out on the beach under the embrace warm of the sun, but one place that seems to be a bit under-rated is “The Tasty Table Cafe“. After a stunning day at the beach, sunbathing and swimming in through the waves, nothing is more magnetic than sitting down with great food and refreshing drinks. It is a cute and cosy cafe right up on the main beach. I’m partially blind and need to wear spectacles so when I first saw the signage and I thought it said “Tasty Table Care”, which I’m glad it didn’t. The hosts are usually bright and ready to receive you as you walk up the stairs, giving you that welcoming feeling before you can even walk through the door.
Inside has a very beautiful and rustic interior. Books lie creatively in corners and seemingly randomly hung shelves. Handmade bunting hangs and droops from the ceiling and their unique menus are printed on what feels like recycled brown paper bags, which wait on heavy wooden picnic tables. I went for the traditional, yet very delicious “Hake and Chips”, and a very rich and creamy “Peanut Butter Shake” that was served in a heartily sized mason jar. My boyfriend had “Calamari and Chips” and a decadent “Caramello Shake” (which in my opinion, was the best tasting milkshake at the cafe).
The cafe is a great place for a date night, to enjoy the family or even just hang out with the girls sipping on decadent milkshakes. You really do get your money’s worth in terms of portion size! And taste? Deliciously fresh! To round it off, our friendly waiter brought us our bill in a very authentic hollowed-out book, which also held a creamy piece of fudge for each person sitting at the table.
The Amateur-Friendly Trails of Storms River
Another great thing to do in Jay-bay is go hiking! A short 20 minutes drive from where we were staying is an enchanting place called “Storms River”. There are various camping and caravan sites, bungee jumping and different types of trails. Storms River is inside a boomed-off area inside the Tsitsikamma National Park, to help manage the traffic flow through the area. When you reach the end of the drive there is a restaurant for those who don’t want to “braai” (Barbeque). Snorkeling, rowing and paddling across the river are all great activities to enjoy with friends and family.
We decided to hike through the very photogenic Tsitsikamma Mountain Range. The trail up is a brisk 45 minutes through and up a very dense and neatly jaded trail, decorated with tall indigenous trees, which bends and wraps around the lush mountain side. There are a what seems to be an endless amount of stair cases up the mountain and safe swaying bridges that cross over cliffs and crisp flowing waters. Even the most unfit person will feel the rewards of walking across the bridge which reaches across the wide river and over to a private white and grey pebbled beach. If you are quiet long enough, the native wildlife will come out of hiding to carry on with their untouched lives. The hike itself makes you feel as if you are in another world entirely. I’m very sure there aren’t enough ways to truly describe the park to explain its beauty in full. It is a photographer’s paradise.
What’s the Point of J-Bay
If you enjoy shopping, the Billabong Factory Shop is also located in Jeffrey’s Bay for a great experience. The fairly new Fountains Shopping Mall has a bunch of shops from any kind of souvenir stores to supermarkets and cinemas. Jay-Bay might not be the most exciting of coastal towns in South Africa, but it is definitely one of the most relaxed of destinations. If you are a naturally fast-paced person who needs to be constantly on the go or doesn’t enjoy adventure sports, you could grow bored quite quickly of the very relaxed lifestyle, but let’s be honest, you are on vacation! The whole point is to get away from the madness of our normal busy lives, reset and do something different.
Would I suggest you avoid it? Most certainly not! I think it is worth the visit, even if it is only for the weekend!
Find out more on The Tasty Table Cafe Facebook Page
Read more on Top 15 Best Surfing Spots In the World