The following morning, I woke up a bit late with the sun already shining at her brightest. Waking up happier than I had in quite a while, it still hadn’t fully sunk in yet that I was 14.000 kilometers (8 699 miles) away from home. When it did come to my realization that I was in fact in South-Africa, I quickly got up to start my 1st day in this fantastic country. On this day itself I mainly got to know the people I was going to be spending most of my time with and the job I was going to be doing in more details what for the coming weeks. There were two types of jobs to do: as a receptionist helping all the guests, checking people in and doing the inventory (08:00-18:00) or behind the bar as a bartender in the evening (18:00-24:00). The manager Basil, a real traveler himself, let us – Michelle, the other workawayer from Australia and I – choose who would be doing what shift and when. We had decided that we’d be changing shifts daily so we both had plenty of time to enjoy ourselves. She would begin as receptionist, since she had worked behind the bar the night before. That day I also got an opportunity to get to know Jasmine, the girl that stayed with Basil for time be. – she would be leaving to Johannesburg with Basil two weeks later to continue school. – She was around the same age as me and in this time she taught me how to play pool. Furthermore I did a small walk through town just to see what it looks like in daylight. It’s not really big here, but it’s a nice place to visit!
Later that day I had my first ‘Braai’, which is the South-African way of a BBQ. It was really delicious! After dinner I started as bartender, which I really enjoyed doing. There weren’t really strict rules and I could chat with all the people that came in the bar. In these two weeks I had met so many new people from all over and had a great time with them! Most of these people didn’t stick around for too long. The ones that did are friends of the owner, also genuinely great people to spend time with. When finding out I was Dutch, one of them started talking Afrikaans to me and I basically understood what he said. Apparently Afrikaans comes from Dutch in the time of colonies, so I thought I was going to have it easy there being able to understand Afrikaans. I was wrong… Besides Afrikaans and English, there are 9 more languages spoken in South-Africa. Most nights were spent the same, just with different people every time; playing pool, conversing around a fire or at the bar and learning more about the country while doing so before going in town with whoever wanted to join. The first few days I hadn’t even met the actual owner yet. All I knew was that he has a passion for racing – he has lots of trophy’s – and that his name is Tyrone. But once I finally met him, he too spent a lot of time with the guests and workawayers. As a guest here, you’re taken care of and included in activities/conversations, which is what I liked most about this place. You probably won’t see him before the sun is already halfway through shining though.
Next day after a long night I had to get up at 8 in the morning, starting my first day shift after having a drink too much… Reception work didn’t really appeal to me, as I spent most of the time reading my book and playing with the dogs; Africa and Tootsie. It was a low season and there weren’t a lot of guests meaning there wasn’t a lot to do at the job. I still couldn’t leave though. I’d usually start the day with opening reception and helping the cleaning ladies to their keys. After my breakfast I would check inventory and refill the bar, snacks and other small stuff where it was needed. From there on I spent my time being available in case the phone rings or someone needs help. As it was quiet I was buried in my book mostly. Although it was nice to relax and converse when there were people around, it gets boring quickly.
Things to do
The days I didn’t have to stay in range of the backpackers, I went out to see what was to do in Jeffrey’s Bay. There are a bunch of things to do there, but it’s mostly known as a great place for surfing, or to enjoy watching other professionals surf. If you come in the right season, you might even get lucky and come across a famous surfer. Then there is a an awesome beach that just keeps on going, terrific for jogs, walks or just for sitting down and enjoying the sea. You can also go and try out restaurants, go to a beautiful waterfall place or go sand-boarding. Sand-boarding is kinda like snowboarding, but.. well.. with sand. It is quite fun to do once you get the hang of it, but going up in the dunes every time with your board gets tiring. Finally you can go out at night at any day of the week, as there are always people. Especially if you go there in the right season, yet beware of pickpockets. J-Bay is on the Garden Route, a route that goes along all the amazing places with diverse vegetation and mild climates, starting in Storm’s River (East) and ending in Mossel Bay (West). While my stay in South-Africa I found that The majority of South-African people are extremely friendly, but there are also plenty of people that are “friendly” because you have something they want – Such as a phone *ugh ugh* -. Don’t let that stop you from making new friends though!
Leaving Jeffrey’s Bay
Now I did really enjoy this place and had a great time here, yet there were a few downsides: I worked more than I was told I had to (quite a lot more), Jeffrey’s Bay is better for a short period and I had to pay for/get my own food, while I thought I wouldn’t. Then on top of that I saw flyers of activities and sights in other cities. This resulted in me leaving after 2 weeks, instead of 4 weeks. So before going to my 2nd work-away place, I bought a ticket with the Baz Bus, a bus that goes from Johannesburg to Capetown (and vice versa) 5 days a week. They pick you up from you backpackers (if they are on the list where they stop) and you can use the bus as often as you want until you reach your final destination or your ticket’s validity runs out, depending on what you bought. Tickets are relatively not expensive, but you might spend all day in a bus. I had decided to go to Plettenberg’s Bay next, why? During my stay I had seen some flyers of a place called Tenikwa where you could walk a cheetah as if it is a pet, which immediately caught my eye and made my decision very easy. Before I left I planned on not staying for too long, as someone told me it was just like Jeffrey’s Bay but less. This I can tell you, is not true! By the time I was planning on leaving Basil and Jasmine had already left to Johannesburg and Michelle had found another place, meaning Tyrone would have to try harder getting up in the morning :). The last night I went to bed earlier, as I had not yet packed and I thought I’d do it quickly in the morning. The bus would pick me up at 7/8 in the morning for a 2/3 hour ride. I was excited to explore more of South-Africa!
You can also find flyers for these in most hostels.
*I am writing this way after my trip and just before my next one, so apologies as this is just a short and quick summarize so that I can start writing on time before I leave*
*Any given advice and or opinions is only meant to either describe my trip or to help people have a great travelling experience*