Garden Route Surf Trip
After a few consecutive weeks of bitterly cold winter weather, a surf trip up the East Coast was a welcomed adventure-warmer water, good surf and the open road. Juliette, Sarah and I cruised along the spectacular Clarens Drive breathing in the scenery and then stopped for our first surf at Pringle Bay. The water was surprisingly much warmer than Cape Town (which was under an hour away). The sun was out and we headed across the sand dunes for our first surf session of the trip. We all caught a couple of good waves and then headed off to Hermanus for lunch before winding through the wheat and Canola fields of the Southern Cape. The winter rains had breathed new life into the fields since our last Garden Route adventure.
The rolling hills of the Overberg region had literally burst into vivid hues of green and gold. We reached Cape Agulhas just as the sun began dipping into the horizon so headed straight for the Southernmost Tip of Africa to enjoy a sundowner with one foot in the Atlantic and the other in the Indian Ocean.
Another gorgeous day of weather greeted us on day two of the trip. We wound through the farm roads from Cape Agulhas to Arniston, one of the most picturesque fishing villages of the East Coast. The beauty about traveling this stretch of coastline during the week is that often we find we are the only people on the beach. The waves were average, but the girls still had a blast. We walked across the sand dunes to the look out point over the next bay-where again there was not a soul in sight. We really are fortunate to have such pristine, untouched and protected areas of coastline in South Africa where development is still not permitted.
We hit the road for Myoli Beach, a stunning piece of coastline just south of Buffalo Bay. We stopped off at Vic Bay along the way to watch some guys catching some 4-6ft lumps of a storm swell at the point. Coach was keen to get out there but needed someone to coax her into the treacherous paddle out, so mind-surfed from the side lines instead. That’s when having a camera in hand is a good excuse 🙂
That evening we enjoyed a vegetarian feast cooked up over the ‘braai’ true South African style by our host, Lyle. The beers were flowing and so was the conversation as we huddled around the fire under the beauty of the Milky Way.
Buffalo Bay Plettenberg Bay:
After a sunrise walk and breakfast on the roof top terrace at Myoli Beach Lodge, we headed to Robberg 5, our choice for day three’s morning surf session. Again we were blessed with sunshine, warmer water and fun waves. After a couple hours of working up an appetite in the surf we enjoyed a delicious meal at The Deck drinking in its sweeping views of the bay (along with a cheeky lunchtime shandy). We headed back to Buffalo Bay for the afternoon surf session via the Knysna Heads, where all of us were left in awe by the dramatic landscape.
Cape St Franscis Jeffrey’s Bay:
Day four and by this stage coach was frothing for some good east Coast point break surf. With the first glimpse of the ocean as we descended the hill into the Seal Point parking lot, it was clear that the beach break was the best option. The girls caught some fun waves on the inside, whilst coach managed to sneak into a few backline bombs.
All of us were so stoked after this session and arrived in Jeffrey’s Bay amped for another good surf. Again, we were greeted with perfect conditions only a short walk from our beachfront room at Island Vibe Backpackers. We suited up (thank goodness for the luxury of two wetsuits) and got some more wave time until the stars pierced the dusk sky. That evening we indulged at our favourite local restuarant, Ninos, whilst watching surf movies on the big screen. The perfect end to one of the best surf days of the trip.
Day five and everyone was quite exhausted and ready to take some time to chill out, visit the surf museum and browse the endless throng of surf clothing factory outlets. Juliette and Sarah were keen to take a day off from surfing. They couldn’t have timed it better as a gale force Westerly wind was blowing. Coach, in her attempt to set a good example and keep the stoke flowing, paddled out despite the strong winds and almost got herself a cheap ticket to New Zealand. But did manage to sneak into a couple of fun waves. Its always worth the paddle. After a good day of rest, the girls were ready to hit the surf again on day six. After a morning session at Jeffrey’s we headed for Cape St Franscis too see if that beachie was working again. As we rounded the corner, coaches heart began to flutter at the beautiful sight of groomed lines of swell marching into the bay with the offshore wind fanning plumes of spray off the back of the 4-5ft sets. It was colder than it had been and so coach changed into her wetsuit in the car (quite a tricky feat in the minimal space of a citi golf driver’s seat). Juliette and Sarah decided to give this surf session a skip and opted for getting it on film from the warmth and comfort of the car instead. That evening we enjoyed another good meal at Nino’s and toasted to a fun week of great experiences together.
The final day of the trip was spent traveling from Jeffrey’s Bay to Cape Town where en route Sarah replaced her morning expresso with a 216m plunge off the highest bungee in the world. A fantastic 7-days enjoying the beauty of the Southern Cape and Garden Route, getting to know each other, listening to good music, eating delicious food and sharing the stoke of surfing…the ultimate South African surf road trip experience.