South Africa, the Rainbow Nation, is well-known for its rich history, diverse ecology, and overall breathtaking landscape and views. The nation also happens to be one of the top surfing destinations in the world. Indeed, surfers in South Africa are spoiled for choice with a seemingly endless list of high-quality, consistent surf spots that promise to provide the adventure of a lifetime.
South Africa is home to some of the world’s best waves and the most consistent surf season. With roughly 1,600 miles of coastline on offer boasting world-class waves, South Africa is undoubtedly a surfing paradise. South Africa’s top surf spots include J-Bay, Dungeons, and Durban, to name a few.
If you are looking for a bucket list-worthy surfing destination with seemingly unlimited quality surfing opportunities, then South Africa is undoubtedly the place for you. From the cold, wild waters in the Western Cape to the warmer, challenging breaks in Durban, South Africa has the perfect wave for all surfers. Discover why South Africa should be your next surfing destination.
Surfing In South Africa
If there is anywhere that you want to find yourself on a surfing adventure, it would be none other than the beautiful nation of South Africa. Located at the southernmost point of the African continent, South Africa is almost entirely surrounded by the ocean – with the exception of the northern part of the country. Indeed, surfing here is readily available.
And not only is a surfing experience here readily available, but it is also home to some of the best-rated and most famous waves in the world. In fact, Jeffery’s Bay, one of South Africa’s most renowned surf spots, is one of the stops for the annual World Surfing League (WSL) tour. Dungeons in the Western Cape also used to be a part of the Big Wave Tour.
South Africa, and specifically, the Western Cape, lies in the path of what is known as the Roaring Forties. These are strong westerly winds found in the southern hemisphere and are part of the reason why South Africa has such consistent surf. Indeed, one of the greatest parts about the South African surf scene is that surfing is available here throughout the year.
Even though South Africa is one of the world’s best surfing destinations, that does not mean that it is only suitable for pro surfers. South Africa has plenty of quality surfing spots for beginner and highly advanced surfers alike. There are plenty of beginner-friendly waves available throughout the year, as well as up to 30-foot monster waves for highly advanced surfers.
The western and southern coastlines of Southern Africa face the Atlantic Ocean. Surfing anywhere in these areas will require a wetsuit throughout the year, as the water temperatures here can get seriously cold. South Africa’s eastern coastline faces the Indian Ocean. Here, the water temperatures are significantly warmer, and a wetsuit would only be required during winter.
When To Go Surfing In South Africa
Any seasoned surfer who has spent their fair share of time in the waves will be able to tell you that there are several factors that contribute to the kind of surfing experience that you can expect to have. Factors like the wind, swell, weather, and the overall time of year play a huge role in the quality of the surf in every part of the world.
As previously mentioned, thanks in part to the Roaring Forties, South Africa is one of the most consistent surfing destinations in the world. However, the best quality waves here are still season-specific, which means that it is vital to know which time of year will be best for you to visit based on your skill level.
Like many other top surfing destinations, the best time to go surfing in South Africa is during the winter, which falls between May through August. The water will undoubtedly be cold – especially in the Western Cape – but you can be guaranteed to experience world-class waves and consistent surf that are highly regarded by surfing legends like Kelly Slater.
Winter may be South Africa’s best surf season, but that does not mean that summer has nothing to offer. Sure, the waves might be on the smaller side, but there are still some fantastic waves to be caught – even if they are better suited to beginner and intermediate surfers.
The Best Surf Spots In South Africa
Alright, now that you are more thoroughly acquainted with South Africa’s surfing experience, as well as the best time to pay this beautiful nation a visit, you are undoubtedly anxiously wanting to know more about where to go to find the best waves.
As previously mentioned, South Africa has a seemingly endless list of pristine surf spots thanks to its roughly 1,600 miles of coastline. While we cannot mention them all, we will help you plan your next surfing adventure by showing you a few of the best surfing spots in South Africa that you do not want to pass by.
Long Beach – Western Cape
Located in the small yet popular town of Kommetjie, Long Beach is undoubtedly one of South Africa’s prime surfing destinations. As one of the most consistent spots to surf in the Western Cape, Long Beach is sure to provide an epic surfing experience throughout the year.
For the best experience that Long Beach has to offer, it is recommended that you visit during the winter months. However, even during the summer, there are some great waves to be enjoyed. Long Beach is suitable for beginner to advanced level surfers, depending on the overall conditions.
Dungeons – Western Cape
Dungeons is a surf spot in Hour Bay in the Western Cape, and it needs to be emphasized that this spot is strictly for highly advanced surfers, especially during the winter months. The wild waves at Dungeons can only be accessed by boat and are famous for reaching sizes of anywhere between 15 to 30 feet high. Definitely not for the faint of heart.
Dungeons has rightfully earned its spot amongst the “big wave” surf spots in the world, and if you are up for the crazy challenge, Dungeons waves’ will undoubtedly provide one of the most thrilling surfing experiences of your life.
Muizenberg – Western Cape
Muizenberg is another beautiful surf spot nestled in the Western Cape. Referred to by many as the birthplace of surfing in South Africa, Muizenberg is a highly popular spot for surfers and beachgoers alike. The waves here are definitely better suited to beginner and intermediate surfers. Advanced surfers might not have the most amount of fun here.
That being said, the waves are still great and are ideal for learning how to surf and improve your skills. There are many surfing lessons available as well as surfboard and wetsuit rentals.
Dunes – Western Cape
As you can tell, South Africa’s Western Cape is a highly popular surfing destination riddled with incredible surfing spots. We have to mention one more before moving on to other parts of the country. Situated in Noordhoek – another one of the Western Cape’s surfing hotspots – is the popular spot known as Dunes.
Not only is this an absolutely stunning beach with some of the country’s best views, but the surf here is also of top quality. The waves at Dunes are known to reach heights of roughly 8-feet and higher, particularly during the winter months. For the surfers who are looking for another exciting yet challenging spot, do not miss out on Dunes.
Jeffery’s Bay – Eastern Cape
The Western Cape may have a lot of high-quality surf spots on offer; however, it is Jeffery’s Bay in the Eastern Cape that is South Africa’s most talked-about and most well-known surf spot. Indeed, Jeffery’s Bay – also known as J-Bay – has put South Africa on the map as a top surfing destination.
Jeffery’s Bay is home to one of WSL’s prestigious events, the J-Bay Open, which sees the likes of Kelly Slater and Jordy Smith among other world-class surfers tackling these waves. Jeffery’s Bay is undoubtedly the home to South Africa’s pro-level waves, and if you are going to be visiting this country, you cannot afford to miss out on J-Bay.
The Wild Coast – Eastern Cape
Combine some of South Africa’s most breathtaking scenery with epic opportunities for surfing, and you get the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast. The Wild Coast might not be able to stand up to the likes of Jeffery’s Bay; however, it still has more than enough to offer surfers of all skill levels.
Durban – KwaZulu-Natal
Moving further east, we get to the province known as KwaZulu-Natal, which is home to one of South Africa’s top tourist destinations and pristine surf spots known as Durban. It is rare to have any day throughout the year where the surf isn’t great here. Indeed, the surf scene in Durban is pumping all year with a wide selection of surfing beaches to enjoy.
Durban caters to surfers of all skill levels. Generally speaking, the southern parts of Durban are better suited to beginners, and the further north you travel, the more world-class the waves become. New Pier beach is a perfect example of some of Durban’s best waves.
However, localism is something that you are likely to deal with in Durban’s waters, so be sure to respect the local surfers and be patient for your shot at the waves.
Green Point – KwaZulu-Natal
One cannot mention surfing in KZN (KwaZulu-Natal) without talking about one of the province’s best surf spots, Green Point. Indeed, when the conditions are at their prime, Green Point is undoubtedly the spot that you want to find yourself at because the quality of the surf is oftentimes second to none.
Because of that, Green Point is known to get rather crowded, especially on weekends and peak seasons. So, you will likely need to exercise some patience in waiting for your chance at the waves. However, the wait will undoubtedly be well worth it.
Surfing Lessons In South Africa
With the quality surfing experience that South Africa has to offer, it is no wonder that there are several options for surfing lessons to help you get started in the world of wave riding. Surf lessons are an excellent way to start your journey and learn the perfect techniques from those who have years of surfing experience.
Whether you are a first-timer learning to surf or an intermediate-level wave rider, surfing lessons are undoubtedly one of the greatest ways to take your skills to the next level. There are several options for surfing lessons available in South Africa – almost as many as there are surf spots! We’ll get you started on your journey by showing you one of the best surf lesson options.
Gary’s Surf School
One cannot talk about surfing lessons in South Africa without making mention of Gary’s Surf School. Established back in 1989, Gary’s Surf School, located in Muizenberg Western Cape, is known for being one of the country’s first surfing schools, which means that their experience and expertise are second to none.
Gary’s Surf School offers a variety of surf lesson options to cater to your specific needs, including group lessons, family lessons, and private lessons. Each type of lesson that is offered is inclusive of a wetsuit and a surfboard, so do not worry if you don’t already have your own equipment.
Group lessons start at R350 ($23) (The Rand is South Africa’s currency) for an hour lesson with a minimum of two people, while private lessons start at R700 ($46) per person. Private lessons are always the best way to get the most focused and detailed attention to improve your surfing skills. However, learning with family or friends can be a lot of fun too.
Gary’s Surf School also offers “Surf Like A Pro” packages, which are their premier surf lesson packages. These are 90-minute private lessons with the school’s head surf coach and includes Bluetooth headsets for two-way communication while you are out in the water, as well as video analysis of your performance.
This is undoubtedly the best way to focus on your surfing skills if you are serious about taking things to the next level. For more information about Gary’s Surf School and the various lessons and rental options available, you can follow this link.
All in all, South Africa is the place you want to be to enjoy one of the best surfing experiences that you could ever have. Indeed, you will definitely need to make more than one trip, because one visit will not be enough to experience all that this beautiful country has to offer surfers. Do not miss out on a surfing experience in South Africa!