Focus on Bluff, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

The Bluff is situated just south of Durban in the province of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.

The Meaning

"Bluff" means peninsula or a neck of land which protrudes out into the ocean. The bluff has the Indian Ocean on its one side and the Durban harbour on the other, hence the name Bluff.


There two swimming beaches on the Bluff. Ansteys Beach and Brighton Beach. Ansteys Beach is the safest beach to swim at as there are not as many rocks at Ansteys as there are at Brighton Beach. Surfing on The Bluff has always been very popular, at both swimming beaches as well as between the two swimming beaches where you will find a very well known surfing spot called Cave Rock. Here a reef break can be found, which on a good day, can produce some of the best waves in the country.

Sub-tropical KwaZulu Natal is sandwiched between the Indian Ocean to the east, the Drakensberg mountains to the west, tropical Mozambique to the north and the Cape to the south. Hot and humid in summer, warm and dryer in winter, Natalians live in a sub-tropical paradise. The surf is generally characterised by hollow beachbreaks and exposed reefs best surfed in glassy offshore conditions early or late in the day. In winter, southern storm swells must travel further to influence this coast. While you get fewer winter swells than the Cape, the swell is often cleaner and more orderly. The greater the swell travels, the cleaner and more orderly it becomes. In summer, the KwaZulu Natal coast has surf almost every day, especially spots exposed to the ocean. There are perhaps four reasons for this. The continental shelf comes right up to the coast in parts, which means the deep ocean is nearby. Prevalent NE winds brings plenty of sloppy wind swell. Then there are fairly regular groundswells from the south.

However, the big bonus is the prevalence of numerous cyclone swells in summer. Between November and April tropical cyclones form off the east coast of Madagascar. When they track south, they often push in seriously big swell, often confined to the Mozambique and KwaZulu Natal coast. A lot of spots are at their best in these Easterly swells. Generally, the best time to surf is early or late in the day, when gentle land breezes blow. During summer months, offshore days are rare due to the NE onshore wind, which is caused by high pressure cells in the Indian Ocean. These systems create wind swell, depending on the length and strength of the NE wind.

In winter, fronts pass closer to the area, and there are regular south swells, with SW to W offshore winds more common. Many beachbreaks don't like too much wind. Generally, the dawn patrol remains the best option, especially in summer. However, many point breaks and protected reefs go off consistently in winter. Best time is March to October. The coast can be sharky, particularly on the rural north coast. The Natal Sharks Board (NSB) is efficient at maintaining shark nets at populated beaches. The NSB has developed the Shark Pod, proved 100 percent effective in keeping sharks away.


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