Everyone would love to learn to surf, but admittedly, there’s some hurdles to get over. Confidence, balance, time, and overcoming the fear of not only the ocean, but those majestic yet terrifying beasts that live it, were things I needed to get over, and Surf Lodge South Africa helped me do just that, along with providing an awesome and unforgettable getaway.
Located in Jeffreys Bay (I mean, where better to learn, right?), Surf Lodge SA is a haven for local and international visitors; and don’t worry whether you’re a newcomer or veteran wave-rider, they cater for all types of guests.
The lodge itself is a beautiful multi-storey wooden house nestled between the dunes of Jefferys Bay’s Paradise Beach, with nothing but the sounds of birds and the ocean to ‘disturb’ you. Like something out of a music video, the house features incredible wooden decks, immaculate rooms, an open-plan kitchen and relaxation area, swimming pool and jacuzzi to keep you busy in your off-time. There are three private rooms available for guests who want a little privacy, as well as a dorm room complete with 6 single beds, a modern bathroom, and just about everything you’d need to make your holiday a seriously comfortable one. The house even attracted the likes of 11-time World surfing champion Kelly Slater for a photo shoot. Casual.
As for how the lodge is run, it’s worth noting that there are no schedules and guests are allowed to enjoy their holiday at their own speed. It was a refreshing change from the itinerary-based and activity-fuelled holidays that end up leaving you needing another holiday to recover. The structure is set up so you can relax when you want, and surf when you want – giving guests the option to enjoy their holiday exactly how they want, and the hosts are incredibly accommodating of this.
Speaking of, the lodge is owned and run by surfers for surfers – managers Toby and Carel want every guest to have the best possible stay ever, and they do their utmost best to make the stay feel more like holidaying at a friend’s house rather than in a formal lodge setting.
Every evening we were asked what time we wanted to have breakfast the next morning and whether or not we wanted to head out for a surf in the morning or afternoon (weather and conditions dependent of course). I woke up feeling refreshed and relaxed every morning and knowing that we had nothing else to do but eat breakfast and surf was the most amazing feeling. Speaking of breakfast – the food available at the lodge was absolutely divine. Lovingly and expertly prepared by lodge manager, Carel we had a delicious fry-up every morning and even enjoyed a group braai with all the guests on our second night.
The lodge’s open-plan kitchen is also always open to guests who want to grab an ice-cold beer from the honesty bar, brew a cup of tea, or reach for a snack.
Many international travellers have already discovered the lodge, which also added a whole new social dynamic to the stay. The crew at the lodge manage to create a community feel for guests and each day the visitors can choose to head out on their own adventures or interact and socialise with fellow guests over lunch, a walk on the beach, shopping in town, and even over dinner. We met some amazing fellow travellers from Switzerland, Germany and Austria during our stay at Surf Lodge South Africa and we loved chatting to them over breakfast, dinner and drinks at the lodge – we even paid a visit to the main town with them for a lunch and shopping expedition.
Staying at Surf Lodge South Africa really is like living with JBay locals – maybe it’s because Toby grew up in the small town and Carel has been a resident for over three years. The two are always happy to recommend a local hot spot or hidden gem for guests to eat and shop at during their stay. Carel recommended a few places to us and he was spot on each time. Honourable mentions must go to local restaurant Nina’s Real Food and to beer garden and burger joint, J-Bay Bru Co.
We had dinner at Nina’s on the night we arrived and was blown away. The food was unbelievable and the portions were huge! The menu at Nina’s is very extensive – if you’re craving it, chances are they have it on the menu and you can be sure it will be a taste sensation of note. The spot also offers a mean Gelato and great selection of craft beers at excellent prices. For a relaxed afternoon vibe head to J-Bay Bru Co – where the beer is cheap (and good) and the modern pub-style grub is on-point.
Last, but not least let’s talk about the surfing. If you’ve never surfed before then J-Bay is the best place to learn. Surf Lodge South Africa offers surf lessons at R300 per person per single lesson but they also offer a full surf lesson program, where guests will be taken out for daily lesson throughout their stay, which is ideal for guests enjoying a longer stay. I was lucky enough to have surf lesson with Carel during our stay and it inspired me do more lessons when I returned to Cape Town. Carel was extremely patient and an excellent coach for beginners who want to learn how to carve out some epic waves. The lodge is also a great place for intermediate and more advanced surfers to kick back. The team offers intermediate lessons for those who want to improve their surfing and daily beach trips for those who just want to spend their holiday hanging out with fellow surf enthusiasts.
We stayed at the surf lodge for two nights but it really wasn’t enough. If you really want to learn to surf and unwind properly, then I would recommend at least three nights or a week. Forget, spending an entire year’s savings on a week-long trip overseas, why not spend a week in J-Bay learning to surf? It’s the perfect holiday and just a few short hours from Cape Town – no passport or visas required! The lodge offers a range of 7-night packages that includes 10 hours of surf lessons and breakfast daily starting from €499 (about R8,870) per person in a dorm room.
So, whether you’re heading to Jefferys Bay to learn to surf, catch some of the best waves in the country, or just get away from it all then you simply cannot visit this sleepy sea-side town without staying at Surf Lodge South Africa.
For more information on Surf Lodge South Africa and to book your holiday now visit the Surf Lodge South Africa website. You can also say hi to Surf Lodge South Africa on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with news at the lodge.
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