20 June, 2017 20 June, 2017

Road Tripping to the Corona Open J-Bay

Getting to J-Bay is a South African surfer’s rite of passage. East Coast or West, with the country’s biggest surf event waiting for you at the destination, there are many good reasons to head up/down for the 2017 Corona Open J-Bay. And while you’re on the road, don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers and smash a few point breaks!


ROAD TRIIIP! Gooi your friends in the car, make some sarmies, update your playlists and double-double-check the roof racks. (Not too tight, boet!) Whether you’re driving from Durban or CT, or somewhere landlocked in the middle, a road trip to J-Bay is always epic with plenty of sweet spots to surf and explore along the way…

Wherever it starts, let the journey begin… © Greg Ewing

Driving from Durban

A straight drive through to J-Bay from Durbs is approximately 12 hours and we highly recommend stretching out the trip with some stops in Southern KZN and the Eastern Cape. In fact the area is so resplendent with waves, you might not reach your destination if you dig too deep. If the conditions are cooking the second you get in the car, you could always start your trip off in the poor man’s Indo aka the South Coast. Check out surf and yoga camp Mantis & Moon or The Spot Backpackers at Umtentweni Beach.

Driving from Durbs or CT? There are plenty surf spots to check out along the way… like the Transkei © Greg Ewing

The Transkei is pretty much your halfway mark, with a plethora of kif places to stay like Swell Eco LodgeMdumbi Backpackers and Coffee Shack, and a whole bunch of premium and largely empty world class surf spots to explore. Further south you’ll hit Chintsa and East London (point break heaven) with buzzing stay over spots like Buccaneers Backpackers, The Sugar Shack and The Tides B&B, and waves galore from Yellowsands and Q-Bay to Nahoon and Easterns. Next up, we recommend swinging by the sleepy, underrated towns of Hamburg (Hamburg Backpackers) or Port Alfred (Settler Sands) where the crowds are even thinner and the waves crank… Finally, you’ll spill over into J-Bay surf-sutt and ready to park on a bench for a few hours and watch the world’s finest light up Africa’s finest point.

How could you not stop? Another day in Transkei © Greg Ewing

Driving from Cape Town

It takes about 8 hours in the cab if you drive straight through to J-Bay from Cape Town. But don’t do that… rather stop over (smell flowers, hack lips and weave through tunnels) and make the most of The Garden Route when epic surf spots like Vic Bay, Plett and Mossel Bay are on route (along with a plethora of secret spots worth a little deeper exploration down those side road detours). Just two hours from CT you’ll find Gansbaai Backpackers situated on the ‘Whale Coast’. From there you could stop over for a night in Mossel Bay and see what the waves are doing at The Point from Mossel Bay Backpackers.

We highly recommend swinging by Mossel Bay (and so does this guy). © Greg Ewing

Next up is Vic Bay where you can pull in to the ‘bucket-listed’ Lands End. Or you could check out Surfari which is smack-bang on the beach or the newish Vic Bay Surf Lodge which is tucked away in Vic Bay’s coastal forest. About an hour’s drive from Vic Bay, you’ll hit Plettenberg Bay, which is always worth a stop, pizza, surf-check, head dip, 2-hour session. Check out the penthouse at Plett Backpackers situated right on the Keurboom’s Lagoon. If you need a bit of a rush before you hit J-Bay, stretch your legs at Bloukrans and check out the highest bridge in Africa. You could even jump off (and live). From there, J-Bay is just an hour away – a sweet hop over the hill to Supers!

Vic Bay is on! © Greg Ewing


If you’re on a tight budget, don’t have a driver’s license and like the idea of sleeping for 14 hours on the shoulder of a stranger – then there’s always the trusty old Intercape Bus service. Busses leave from Durban and Cape Town and will deliver you within walking distance of Supers. A bus trip is not, however, for the faint-hearted and a one-way ticket will cost you anywhere between R600 and R900. Alternatively, you could book a seat on SA’s hop-on-hop-off backpacker bus service – the Baz Bus. Here you can get a lift straight to J-Bay from Durban or Cape Town and meet some fellow travellers along the way!  


Alternatively, if you’re living on a prayer and scoring a free trip is your only crack at getting to the Corona J-Bay Open this year, then why not test your luck and enter to win a three night VIP stay at the Corona Open J-Bay 2017. More info on how to enter HERE

Travelling on land or through the air, SA’s coastline is always worth exploring. © Greg Ewing


Before you try to book your flight to J-Bay – you must know that you can’t. Despite all the face-brick palaces, J-Bay is actually still a small town (that’s why we love it) and there is no airport. Flights land in Port Elizabeth which is just short of an hour’s drive from Jeffreys.

Flying from Cape Town or Durban

Kulula, Mango, SAA and British Airways fly regularly to PE and you can pick up a return flight from Cape Town or Durban for anywhere between R2000 and R4000. But be sure to regularly check sites like Pollywog Travel and Trip Adviser for good deals – they do exist! The flight is just a quick +/- 1h20mins from both cities and surfboards can be included in the free baggage allowance, as long as it’s not overweight. 

Getting from PE to J-Bay

Once you have arrived at the PE airport you’ll need to jump aboard a shuttle, taxi, Uber, metered cab or hire some wheels in order to get to J-Bay. Check out the Jeffrey’s Bay Sunshine Express Shuttle who can be called, SMSed or WhatsApped for requests as well (cell: +27) 82 449-5735). Note that they do charge a R20 extra fee for surfboards! If you haven’t made a plan upon arrival at the airport, don’t fret. It’s an airport where people are paid to help get you where you need to be! Or stick out a thumb and hitch, like your ballie used to…


So you’ve made it to J-Bay. Your limbs are in tact and there’s not a single ding in your board. Big ups! 

You have arrived. J-Bay… every surfer’s home. © Greg Ewing


After taking a minute to sniff in the fynbos, first things first – you’ll need a place to stay. If you haven’t booked yourself a spot already, you better check sharp! At this time of year, a bed in J-Bay gets snatched up quicker than free wax. First check out Aloe Again and Cristal Cove if you’re feeling lucky, but chances are they’re booked out long in advance. The Jeffreys Bay Caravan Park just off central da Gama Road is an option for a good camping spot or African Ubuntu for a more social backpackers spot to stay. If the inns are full, you could always try Couch Surfing or Airbnb

The Main Event

You’ve travelled all the way here, so make sure you actually take some time to watch the Corona Open J-Bay and soak up the world class surfing on offer! Need a good view? Pull up a chair at the Corona bar, munch on some Mexican tapas and lay your 2017 predictions on the table…

The stands at the Corona Open J-Bay are always a vibe. Pick a good seat and watch the heat! © AVG

Free Surfing

Once the novelty of rubbing shoulders with the likes of Jordy, Fanning, Florence and Slater has worn off, you’re gonna wanna go and catch some bombs for yourself (anywhere between Lower Point and Magnatubes might be the spot. Do not even try surf the carpark section while the event is on, please. And we all know you wouldn’t catch any waves).

Don’t forget to surf for yourself! © Greg Ewing


When your arms are pap and your lips are blue – there’s nothing better than filling the post-surf pit in your stomach with a meal at Nina’s. Whether it’s breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, dinner, drinks – Nina’s is a home away from home, where it’s not uncommon to end up sharing a table or a pizza with the pros.

Corona Parties and signings

When the sun starts to set, kit up and head out for one of Corona’s many parties or a signing with the pros at one of the local surf stores. Whether it’s music, dancing, mingling or getting a snap with your favourite surfer – there’s no doubt that the Corona J-Bay Open always packs the glamour. 

Day Trips

If the surf decides to turn itself off and J-Bay hits a layday slump – use the opportunity to head for a day trip and grab a picture of a lion the way all the traveling pros do. Head to the Sea View Lion Park and check out the real kings, cruise to Bloukrans River for a bungee, go horseriding, zip-lining, bike riding or pack a picnic and go check out another nearby bay. If shopping is more your thing, then make sure you visit the strip of surf factory stores for them surfer discounts.

There’s plenty to do in and around J-Bay that does not involve standing on polyester sleds in the ocean. © Greg Ewing

*Lead image: J-Bay © AvG

*All other images © Greg Ewing unless otherwise credited


  1. Andrew
    21 June, 2017 at 2:41 pm · Reply

    No Oke….all this 12 and 8 hr nonsense……simple ……..jbay 70kms away and 35 min @ my speed.

  2. Natalie
    22 June, 2017 at 1:31 pm · Reply

    So my secret paradise is not so much a secret any more, bliksems!

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