We had about ten days to hightail it down the coast from Durban to Cape Town, arriving just in time for an appointment at the consulate. We tried to kick the sand off our feet before stepping into the air conditioned vault of the US consulate. As of January 1, 2016 Americans can no longer get pages added to a passport while abroad. Whoops! With space quickly eaten up by multiple boarder crossings in South America and customs officers jamming their stamp anywhere they felt like it. Luckily, you can now get emergency passports for free which have 5 pages for stamps and are valid for 7 months.
Since we would later spend a full week in Cape Town, we dipped out of the city and spent a night in Kommetjie, a calm coastal town 30 minutes or so outside the city. We stayed at Eco Wave Lodge, about a ten minute walk from Long Beach, the main beach and surf break. Not sure what was eco about it, but the rooms and kitchen were clean in a cement floors, sun filled, and simple ikea furniture way.
We both agreed that we would be totally content living here for a few months of surfing and working remotely (we just need to find that remote job). As a quiet summer community, it offers only a sweet coffee shop, little dark bodega (where we stocked up on South African jerky), a (mostly shark-free) beach break, and a super friendly surf shop. After five minutes of chatting we were already invited to their party that week, a skate contest for the groms.
Kommetjie was all about the groms. We saw moms drive their kids to the beach before school, so they could pop out and go check the surf. In the morning it was mostly guys out and a few women, but when school’s out the kids dominate and they are all really good surfers. They were all fearless, running into frigid water with heavy waves ahead, in their bright little wetsuits and tanned skin.
There were plenty of waves, but I’ve never been in the water with so many people. The old guys sat way on the outside with longboards, the kids sat everywhere else and had no problem skimming their way around one another, often two or three on a wave at a time, ducking off right before hitting their little siblings swimming along the shore.
Seals laze around beyond the long boarders in a dense seaweed bed, which a local explained creates a sort of barrier against the sharks. A 4/3 is key and some wore booties. While the area doesn’t have anything noteworthy to offer other than a quiet residential vibe, the beach is worth a visit.
At a glance…
- Shop or rent at Kommetjie Surf.
- Eat breakfast or lunch at Espresso Dot Kom.
- Surf at Long Beach. There’s a small lot with a watchman, but nowhere to leave keys.
- Stay at Eco Wave Lodge.