Learn to Surf in JBay at Surf Lodge South Africa [Review]

Surf Lodge South Africa

Being a travel writer is pretty amazing but it’s not always sunshine and daisies. Sure, I get the opportunity to travel to some incredible places year round and while I hate to complain I must confess that I often return from said ‘working holidays’ more exhausted than when I left. And, it’s not because of the fact that I always have to be ‘switched on’, making mental notes to remember certain details and taking photos of my every move. Nope, the reason I return home tired is all thanks to the damn early mornings! I mean really, what does a girl have to do to enjoy a good lie-in followed by a much-deserved brunch whilst on holiday? I loathe getting up early on a normal day but having to do it whilst on holiday is the absolute worst. Which is why I adored Surf Lodge South Africa so much – there are no schedules and guests are allowed to enjoy their holiday at their own speed. A truly relaxing holiday – imagine that!

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. Owned and run by surfers for surfers, the lodge on the beach is one of the most unique holiday experiences you will have in South Africa and staying here feels more like holidaying at a friend’s house than in a formal lodge setting. Loads of foreigners have already cottoned on to the awesomeness of the new spot, which opened earlier this year and now it’s time for us South Africans to get involved. Nestled between the dunes of Jefferys Bay’s Paradise Beach, with nothing but the sounds of birds and the ocean to ‘disturb’ you, the beautiful wooden lodge is the perfect getaway for anyone looking to take a beat and hit refresh.

Surf Lodge South Africa
The beautiful lodge.
Surf Lodge South Africa
The Pool deck at the lodge.

As I said, while managers Toby and Carel want every guest to have the best possible stay ever, there are no schedules here and guests are considered before any plans are made. 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.

Surf Lodge South Africa
A fry-up prepared by Carel.
Surf Lodge South Africa
A South African braai for dinner!

I also loved the social aspect of staying at the lodge. The crew at the lodge manage to create a community feel for guests during their stay and each day guests 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.

Surf Lodge South Africa
The lounge is a great place to hang out.
Surf Lodge South Africa
Guests can relax in the Jacuzzi with a view.

Another thing that makes staying at Surf Lodge South Africa so amazing is the laid-back setup of the space. 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, mini kitchen, dining room table and a space to relax after a day in the sunshine and surf. When you’re not in your room you can take advantage of the homey facilities at the lodge – guests can enjoy the large lounge area, sit outside on the balcony, take a dip in the crystal-clear pool, or unwind in the Jacuzzi all while taking in the amazing sea views from the lodge. 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.

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Surf Lodge South Africa
The dorm room is a great space for big groups.
Surf Lodge South Africa
The rooms at the lodge are comfy and luxurious.
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 beyond yummy 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 oh-so-yummy!) and the modern pub-style grub is good.
Surf Lodge South Africa
Dinner at Nina’s was a memorable experience!
Surf Lodge South Africa
J-Bay Brew Co is a must-visit when in town.
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.
Surf Lodge South Africa
Carel shows me how it’s done.
Surf Lodge South Africa
Learning to surf in J-Bay.

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 R7500) per person in a dorm room.

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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