Saturday, 3 May 2014

St Francis Bay (and Jeffrey's Bay), South Africa

Being pretty much slap bang between Plettenberg Bay and Shamwari (our game reserve destination), we stopped off at St Francis Bay for two nights. On our first night, we didn’t arrive at our B&B “Sandals” until about 6pm, so we went straight to dinner. We ate on the recommendation of the guy who checked us in, going for seafood and sushi at “Christy’s Catch” a cute, down to earth, family run restaurant, two minutes walk from the B&B.

you can see our room's balcony top left
enjoying a kaluha 'don pedro' at Christy's Catch 
(ice cream and kaluha liquor)

Our hotel had a convenient location of being round the corner to the high street and main area, but when I say high street, this isn’t a hustlin’ and bustlin’ strip but a small collection of shops and eateries.

There is actually quite a bit to do around St Francis Bay, from boating activities, hiking, deep sea fishing and quad biking etc, a bit similar to Plettenberg Bay.

One of the reasons the Boy wanted to stop here though was for the surfing. 

harbour at St Francis 
was warm but a little hazy

We were recommended to surf in Jeffrey’s Bay but there are apparently loads of good surf spots in St Francis Bay. When we came back from our days surfing in Jeffrey’s the guy at reception decided to point out a poster of some chap called Bruce who famously searched the world for the best surf spots and chose here, making a couple of films on it… 

and tell us that the best surfing is to be found in right here in St Francis Bay. All I keep thinking was that I wanted to hurry up as I had 25 minutes to wash the beach out my hair before dinner reservations and why on earth didn’t you tell us that earlier.

I felt so tiny against this surf board!!!

Anyway, the surfing in Jeffrey’s Bay was still fun and as a complete beginner (apart from the two day surf school on some serious drinking that I embarked on) the beach and sea was great. Unfortunately, being 5”3 and not a great swimmer, my struggle was getting out to sea in the first bloody place. For the first 20 minutes or so the Boy (15 ½ stone and 6”1 … so a bit bigger than me) was dragging me out but I felt a bit sorry for him after a bit so let him lose to surf on his own whilst I tried to doggy paddle myself out.

trying to jump the waves, that already are head height!

When you look down from the beach onto the waves it really didn’t look like the waves were that big, but as soon as you step into the water, I instantly just though “WTF”…they were huge. Well above my head some of them!! Getting bashed in the chest repeatedly from the waves when trying to get out was a bit too much for me, so I spent the rest of the afternoon chilling on the beach (predicted rain but it was sun sun sun), nursing my smashed up hand where I had got caught to the fin of the board ard and recovering from my serious intake of sea water (not great cos I am allergic to salt).

I stood up....then came crashing down!!

If you are a keen on surfing or wanting to give it a try don’t let my pathetic attempt put you off. With proper lessons and a pro instructor this probably isn’t a bad place to learn (I must admit though the waves were rougher than the ones I experienced on  the coast of New South Wales, Australia).  The sea was good and even I wasn’t cold. Even with my short experience, I loved it!

Surfing (inc wetsuit) for half a day cost 100 rand (about £6)

watching the sun set at dinner

My reward was sushi and wine at the 'best restaurant in St Francis' (so we were told) at Caffe Bijoux, a Greek, Italian and sushi place. The setting was gorgeous, over looking the canals and waterways, perfect for sitting and sipping wine as the sun went down, watching the locals meander the waters on their little boats - a great spot for people watching. 

X x X 

read part one of Cape Town here
read part two of Cape Town here

read about our  amazing hotel in Camps Bay here
read about the winelands here
read about the  fun with ostriches here
read about Plettenberg Bay here

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