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Surf & Turf
While not the hottest period of the year, sunny June with temperatures lingering around 20oC is the perfect time to enjoy outdoor activities such as surfing and hiking. Being surrounded by ocean on three sides, with 3,000 km coastline swept by two major currents, South Africa is paradise for wave-riders. We’ve got so many top surf spots to choose from, it’s not easy to pick the best ones. But we will visit some of them over the next couple of weeks and let you know what to expect if you decide to take your surfboard and head towards Eland’s Bay, Dungeons, Jeffery's Bay, Durban, or Muizenberg.
If you're an adventurous spirit who likes nothing better than to ride waves, head to Durban, the Surf City. With regular swells, good wind conditions, a variety of reef, point and beach breaks, and warm and inviting waters of the Indian Ocean, Durban will be equally welcoming to beginners as to experienced surfers. Having enjoyed the waves to the full, take a day off to explore the city and its surroundings and learn why Durban has made it to the list of New 7 Wonders Cities.
Situated in the Northern Drakensberg, Sentinel Peak is probably the most frequently climbed peak in the area. The one day hike offers dramatic viewpoints, a climb up 15-meter chain ladders, and a sight of the world’s second highest waterfall. The whole trip takes only 5 hours return, not counting additional ones which you’ll spend soaking in the surrounding beauty.
Go for a drive from Port Elizabeth, and in less than an hour you’ll find yourself at one of the most famous surfing destinations in the world. Jeffreys Bay, affectionately called J-Bay, is truly a surfer’s heaven. The consistent, tubing, and very long right-hand point break welcomes the annual World Surf League event each July and wave-riders from around the world flocking to catch the legendary waves.
If you’ve yet to experience the thrill of riding your first wave, Muizenberg is a great place to learn. Situated on the Cape Town coast, next to the mountain of the same name, “Muizies” is considered to be the birthplace of surfing in South Africa. It boasts the longest break in the Cape Peninsula and waves which can be ridden for about 1.5 km. While not the quickest nor most powerful in the area, they’re offering plenty of opportunities to practice.
Table Mountain features more than 50 different hiking trails, which might make the decision on how to access it a tad difficult. One of the most famous trails, Skeleton Gorge, offers what is perhaps the best combination for occasional hikers. It's somewhat strenuous, so don't expect a leisurely walk, but there's not a lot of scrambling to be done, and you're not likely to experience dizzying heights which might make you freeze in place. Average fitness is all that is required to visit South Africa’s best-known landmark.
If you're a nature lover and at least moderately fit, the Whale Trail might be the perfect choice for you. Located in the De Hoop nature reserve in the Western Cape, the hiking trail varies in intensity over 5 days and combines more strenuous sections with those allowing tons of time to soak in the surroundings.
While described as one of the top hiking trails in South Africa, the Amatola Trail is also quite challenging and you'll need to be an experienced and fit hiker to be able to enjoy it. It's certainly worth the effort as you’ll get exposed to some of the most breathtaking mountain scenery you're likely to find in this country. Due to an unusually large number of waterfalls along the way, the trail is also known as the Waterfall Trail.
Situated on the Cape Peninsula, just outside of Hout Bay, Dungeons is considered to be one of the world famous Big Wave spots. This hugely popular yet challenging surfing destination is definitely not for the faint-hearted; in order to ride these XXL waves, you’ll have to have loads of experience and some courage. It’s been said Dungeons was named by a surfer who got trapped underwater for two consecutive 7-meter waves. Fancy a paddle?
The World-wide known Otter Trail dates back to 1968, which makes it the oldest official South African hiking trail. It is also one of the most popular ones among many this beautiful country has to offer. The Trail was named after the African clawless otter, a powerful swimmer which happens to be found in this area. Lasting 5 days and 4 nights, the Otter Trail does require a bit of strength and stamina, but the beauties you'll get to experience while hiking make the challenge well worth taking on.
Take a three hour drive from Cape Town up the shoreline and you’ll arrive to Elands Bay. Affectionately called e-bay, this is a world-renowned destination for surfers, windsurfers and kite surfers flocking to South Africa from every corner of the Earth. But not only them! The charming little village nestled under the Baboon Point is a perfect place to unwind while enjoying the peace, nature, and typical West Coast laid-back lifestyle.