Everybody’s gone surfin’

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Elands Bay, West Coast
The epitome of laid-back, Elands Bay offers surfing nirvana and sweet nothingness.

Having eluded development and massive holiday homes, Elands Bay thankfully has remained an unadulterated West Coast seaside gem. Not only is its left break the stuff of surfing legend, but the surf is consistent. So, no surprise then that surfers pack the local accommodation to the rafters over weekends and holidays.

Its name came about when Simon van der Stel’s troops saw eland, which they thought were elk, grazing at Verlorenvlei – so named by the very same troops.

In 2009, Heritage Western Cape declared the Elands Bay Cave and most of Baboon Point (Cape Deseada), on which it’s located, a provincial heritage site. These caves in the Bobbejaan mountains have superb examples of Bushman rock art and since the 1970s they’ve also produced valuable archaeological finds of hunter-gatherers in the Later Pleistocene.

Verlorenvlei, the local wetland, is a Ramsar site where 240 bird species reside. Notable species include the purple gallinule, eastern white pelican, African spoonbill, Cape shoveller, African fish eagle, goliath and purple heron, as well as the European bee-eater.

Being very much a find-it-yourself kinda town, it’s populated by 1 525 inhabitants and has a hotel with a jovial bar, a restaurant, a petrol pump, three crayfish factories, simple holiday homes and two corner cafés. That’s it.

It’s easy to enjoy the heaven that’s Elands Bay. It’s off the beaten track. It’s pretty. No decisions to make. Just chilling. And shootin’ the curl.