Get gnarly at 8 of Eastern Cape's top surf spots

2018-08-29 10:45 - Gabi Zietsman
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Surfer on a barrel wave

Out on the wide expanse of the big blue and green, floating above and away from the problems of the mainland, surfing can become an almost spiritual escape from your own mind. Focused solely on the waves thundering towards you, your mind becomes still when you catch that perfect break and glide your way to a temporary freedom.

If your blood pumps salt water, a surf holiday can be the perfect escape to clear the mind and give your heart a chance to rest while the body gets some much-needed vitamin sea, and where better to go than the Sunshine and Wild Coasts of the Eastern Cape?

SEE: Who says you can't surf into your 70s?

There's a reason that one of the world's biggest surf competitions take place in this Adventure Province, and surfers from all over the world have traversed these beaches looking for that perfect surf.

Here are some of Eastern Cape's top-rated spots according to Wavesecape that you can add to your surf holiday's itinerary.

Take note: When the Sardine Run is going, the sharks become more active along the Eastern Cape coast. 

WATCH: Surfer takes an epic 1.5km ride into history off the coast of Namibia

Mdumbi, Coffee Bay

You're gonna need some time with the board before taking on the gnarly swell at Mdumbi near Coffee Bay. The waves give you a long ride of up to 800 metres across the river-mouth's sandbanks, and be prepared for a daunting paddle out.

When you're not surfing: Coffee Bay and the famous Hole in the Wall is just a skip across the river mouth, with some of the best Wild Coast hiking trails to give you a nice mainland break from the waves.

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Ntlonyane (Breezy Point), Cwebe Reserve 

A classic Wild Coast jaunt, Ntlonyane offers great tubing similar to surf mecca Jeffreys Bay. Wavescape recommends to take on this piece of heaven when the swell is coming from the south and the wind is blowing from the west or southwest. Be aware of sharks though.

When you're not surfing: This point break is situated in Cwebe Nature Reserve which shares the Mbashe river with Dwesa Nature Reserve, and the forests, grassland and acacia scrub is home to 290 bird species, so grab your binoculars when you're not grabbing your board.

SEE: No time for tame: Your guide to the top attractions on the Wild Coast

Queensberry Bay, Glen Gariff

The berries of Queensberry is 'one of the juiciest waves around' and although it's a short ride, it's well worth the paddle out. The best time to take on the berries is during big swells and low wind, and if you have the chance you'll find the waves all to yourself during weekdays.

When you're not surfing: Glen Gariff is a quiet coastal resort with long expansive beaches perfect for long walks and gorgeous rock pools to explore with a snorkel and mask. There is also a range of other outdoor activities like horse riding, quad biking and abseiling in the area that will keep the adrenaline pumping outside the water. 

Nahoon Reef, East London

While it may be crowded, few can deny the range of conditions a surfer can experience at Nahoon Reef. Your ride depends on how the swell hits the reef, but again there's been a few shark incidents here so be safe.

When you're not surfing: The river port city of East London will keep you busy when the swell sucks at the reef, like a visit to the Apex Predator Snake Park, a round of extreme golf or find out more about coelacanths at the East London Museum.

East Pier, Port Alfred

While you may have to be patient for the right conditions, the East Pier provides an excellent break when the sea gods deem it so. The Kowie River has a big impact on what waves you'll get, and while there are ragged tooth sharks in the area, they generally don't like the taste of humans.

When you're not surfing: Port Alfred is a much bigger town than you think it is, and can have quite a pumping party scene, especially when the weather is warm and toasty. You can also check out the Royal Alfred Marina for some good grub and pretend you own one of the boats anchored there.

SEE: Sunshine Coast: A complete guide to Port Alfred

Humewood, Port Elizabeth

Dubbed 'one of the best waves in PE' according to Wavescape, Humewood is a tricky surf dodging the remains of the old pier. Barrels is the name of the game here and you'll get some protection when the southwest is blowing hard.

When you're not surfing: You can take a stroll through the city centre to check out its beautiful buildings and take a trip down history on Route 67, which follows Madiba's path to freedom for South Africa, starting at the newly renovated Campanile.

Supertubes, Jeffreys Bay

Jeffreys Bay has been pivotal in growing the surf scene in South Africa, and is home to the annual JBay Open where the world's top surfers compete for the reigning title. If you want to try and soak up some of their talented juices, Supertubes is the most popular spot, but surf etiquette is very important here and you might end up on the wrong side of the locals if you cut someone off. 

When you're not surfing: Right by Supertubes there's a big entertainment centre with the sliding super tubes for the little ones (and the little at heart ones) or you can play a putt-putt game before heading to the Shell Museum if you need to build up your courage for the tubes.

SEE: 5 Reasons why JBay took home the Kwêla Town of the Year award

Bruce's, Cape St Francis

Bruce's Beauties will leave your stomach at the top of the wave, with drops that will have you praying (or swearing) out loud. Even just watching the green tubes from the coast will leave you in awe of the sea's beauty and power.

When you're not surfing: Seal Point Lighthouse will give you some pretty posts for Instagram or take on the Chokka Trail that winds along the beaches. You can also take a drive to St Francis Bay's harbour to snack down on classic fish 'n slap chips.

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