Jeffreys Bay History

Jeffreys Bay History

sanThe south west coast of South Africa was originally inhabited by the nomadic San people many thousand years ago. They interbred with the Khoi-khoin tribes and became known as the Khoi-San. These peaceful people walked the coastline of South Africa, living off the sea and never claiming ownership to any place, and became known as the Strandlopers (Beach-walkers). Their beautiful rock art is testimony to this spiritual tribe that are the original inhabitants of our beaches.

Vasco-da-GamaIn 1498 Portuguese sailor Vasco de Gama was the first white man to set foot on South African soil, and quickly set about exploiting the land and her people. He was soon followed by Dutch settlers,, who became known as the Boers (Farmers), and not long after came the British in their quest to colonize the planet. The peace-loving Khoi-San were driven further and further away by force, and today only small pockets of Khoi-San remain, scattered among the sands and deserts of the arid Skeleton Coast.

Numerous explanations exist about where the name Jeffreys Bay derives from. Some say that the name derived from one Captain Jeffrey when his ship was shipwrecked here and he literally stumbled across the beautiful area that was to become Jeffreys Bay. Another source says that the name was derived from a trader that moved here in 1850. Some always say that Jeffreys Bay was initially used as a harbor and trading post and was established in 1849 by one, a J.A. Jeffrey, a whale hunter by trade, originally from St. Helena. As time passed, Jeffreys Bay became a small fishing village and has since grown into the wonderful and world famous holiday town it is today.

Oom John WhitmoreLegend has it that the father of South African surfing, John Whitmore, discovered the waves at Jeffrey’s Bay in the late 1950s as he drove up the famous N2 “Garden Route” between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth on a business trip. As he stood in amazement at the side of the road looking at an as yet unmapped break through binoculars, it would have been extremely hard to mistake those ruler edged corduroy lines perfectly wrapping around a point, giving what could have been a 1.2 kilometer ride.

In 1961 Bruce Brown came to South Africa to film part of his classic “Endless Summer” and captured the magic of nearby Bruces Beauties firing, and with it the imaginations of a million surfers. Not the most consistent of waves, but soon enough the travelling seekers cottoned onto another nearby set-up, Jeffrey’s Bay, which was to be seen as the best right point-break on the planet, and still is to this day!

endless summer poster


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Phone: +27 42 296 0376
Eastern Cape, South Africa
8 Cherry Street, Jeffreys Bay, 6330