Justin and I arrived in beautiful South Africa with only one thing in mind, surfing. In my opinion the only reason for visiting South Africa is to do two things, surf, and see some Great White sharks, but hopefully, not both at the same time. We thought the surfing wouldn’t be much of a problem considering the world famous Jeffery’s Bay and breaks with names like Supertubes is just a “short” 11-hour bus ride up the coast. For the Great Whites; duh have you ever seen Planet Earth or the Discovery Channel, they fly out of the water here, if we were to go on a tour designated to seeing them, we shouldn’t have a problem. However after our first day in Cape Town where the cable car to the top of Table Mountain shut down literally as we were about to get onto it because of inclement weather (it was 75 and sunny) we knew that South Africa was not going to be as easy as we had hoped.
After spending one day in Cape Town we were up at the crack of dawn to catch the 11-hour bus to J-Bay. This route is suppose to be one of the most pleasant drives in the country, hence the name the Garden Route to the Sunshine Coast. Well it was very picturesque but it rained the whole time and there was a lot of construction on the roads so we did not experience much of the “sunshine” or “garden”. We had already booked a room at a well-recommended place and although we were killing a day in transit we figured we could get a good nights sleep and get out early the next morning for some grade A surf. This all changed when we arrived at the Island Vibes hostel.
The people at the front desk were perhaps a little too island vibe-ed out because they managed to not have a room available for Justin and me. This means that would have to spend the night in the dorm with 12 other people in bunk beds. On top of this it was the normal bartenders birthday so the place was a complete zoo and everyone was hammered when we walked into the bar at 7pm, not the most fun atmosphere to be in when all you want in a little rest to be able to surf the next day. After talking to some of the local guys and finding out that the surf and the weather was decent that day but the outlook did not look good for the next few days, we were bummed. Since we could not go back and sleep in our room (because it did not exist and we were in a dorm) we took part in the festivities and prayed the locals would be wrong.
After a night of very little sleep because of the 10 other people in our room, we got out of bed to what we would compare to a northeast storm, howling wind, rain, and cold weather, so much for the sunshine coast. Obviously surfing was out of the question so we spent the day exploring the surf factories and stores. We found ourselves very bored very quickly. Luckily we had managed to get ourselves into our own room at a guesthouse just down the road from Island Vibes.
The next day was the same story so we decided we had to make a move up the coast in hope to find some better waves. We got a taxi and headed for Cape St. Francis, made famous by Bruce Brown for its endless right-hand waves. There were some waves breaking at one of the spots that we ventured so we went in the water and were obviously very disappointed. On top of the surf not being any better here then J-Bay, this place was a ghost town and I’m pretty sure Justin and I were the only ones in town that didn’t live there year round. Weighing our options we decided that in the morning we would make the 11-hour bus ride back to Cape Town because the surfing part of the trip was dead, now we had to get to the top of Table Mountain and find some Great Whites.