Jeffrey's Bay - Home of the best right hand point break in
International surfers flock to catch the legendary waves in this,
a paradise of sunshine, aloes, dolphins, shells, perfect points
& classic reefs. Surfers & others who found it hard to
leave such an idyllic spot have turned Jeffreys Bay into a year
round fun place to be, creating a thriving local craft industry
besides the surf shops on just about every corner.
The bustling town is bordered on both sides by nature reserves
& rivers the Kabeljous & Seekoei Estuaries &
within Jeffreys Bay the Noorsekloof nature reserve. We invite
you to soak up the sunshine, enjoy the relaxed atmosphere &
have a wonderful stay.Jeffreys Bay offers varied accommodation
from Game farms & guesthouses to backpackers.
A wide variety of shops reflect the diversity of local talents.
A good selection of coffee shops, fast food take aways & restaurants
cater for every culinary taste, from black tie to barefoot on
How Jeffreys Bay acquired its name.
The town is named after Captain Jeffreys who sailed his cargo
ship up and down the East Coast of South Africa on trading expeditions
in the 1840s. During one of these trips an epidemic of scurvy
broke out aboard his ship. He was forced to land his vessel and
soon he realized the potential of the place where he had landed
and built a primitive port on what is now the main beach. He erected
the first house, a huge double-story mansion that was always known
as The White House in 1850 and his family became the
first White family to settle in the town.
In 1852 Captain Jeffrey bought erf numbers 1,2,9 and 10 for a
total of 79 British pounds.
The Reilly family were a prominent family who first came to Jeffreys
Bay in 1928 and Ken Reilly explained that, Much of the building
material for this house actually came from the timbers of Captain
Jeffreys ship. Mr Reilly showed me an original carved
balustrade from the White House, together with the original ships
barometer, now 150 years old.
Kens father, John Reilly, bought the White House, which
is situated at the corner of Woltemade and Jeffreys streets, opposite
the present police station. For many years John Reilly ran the
house as a shop, known as the White House T Room. After the war,
the government forced him to demolish the building and he built
another big mansion and shop on the same site, which became known
as Reillys General Dealers. Later he sold this to an orphanage,
but after many more years bought it back into the family. These
days Travellers Trading occupies the site.
In his youth Kens father bought the land on which the Country
Feeling Corner Shop now stands, stretching right down to the beachfront,
where the old Wimpy bar was sited in the 1960s. Ken built
a big double-story mansion known as the Bar-B-Q Restaurant there.
The family traded from the Bar-B-Q until 1964 when they demolished
the building and built an improved double story house with a tearoom,
flats and gift shops on the same site.
The old Savoy Hotel was built shortly after the White House and
constructed of brick and corrugated iron. It was run by Mrs. McGuire
and at first was known as the Jeffreys Bay Hotel. In 1937
it was renamed The Savoy and finally demolished in 1968 to make
way for the new hotel we know today. You can see from the old
photographs that there were no roads, just bare earth.
Ken Reilly has so many interesting stories to tell of the sea
because he took over several fishing boats from his father. Apparently
there were no motorboats until the early 1960s. Prior to
this all the boats had been big, double-ender rowing boats with
sails. Ten-men rowing crews powered them and they used to fish
for cob, steenbras, redfish and kampion. No one fished for chokka
in those days; in fact, they used chokka as bait for other sea
We used to see the boats coming in so heavily laden with
fish, said Ken, that there was no more room on board.
They had to tie the extra fish to the draglines and tow them behind
the boats. Man! Was it hard to row a boat with all that weight,
even with ten people at the oars.
We used to get the huge equinox spring tides which turned
the sea into a raging monster and when the mist came down in the
howling offshore wind, the people on the boats couldnt see
the land and didnt know where to come in. So all the families
used to gather on the main beach and light huge bonfires for the
ships to see. We would all sing hymns and pray throughout the
night. Sometimes the boats would capsize because the wind turned
them broadside on to the huge waves. In a big, ugly South East
swell many fishermen would drown and we would hunt up and down
the shore for the bodies. The current was so strong after an equinox
tide that the families of the drowned men would find their bodies
washed up way down beyond Kabeljous River Mouth, sometimes as
far down as the Gamtoos. And that is about 12 km away. One learns
to have a lot of respect for the sea.
I can remember during the war years, long before there
were street lights and roads, when I would go for a walk at ten
oclock at night in Jeffreys and would see no more than ten
houses with lights on. The population was only a few hundred people.
Just compare that to what we see today!