December 2004 - Cape Town
Facts South Africa
The number of cruising boats visiting South Africa has remained
stable in recent years as the Red Sea route was preferred
by yachts undertaking a circumnavigation. With the return
of South Africa to the international fold, this has changed
as more sailors are tempted to experience first hand this
country's many attractions. All round the world races now
include South Africa on their itinerary.
The country's convenient position and excellent yachting
facilities make it a natural stopover, added to which are
the many nature reserves that make South Africa an interesting
place to visit. One major drawback is the weather and sailing
conditions, the waters around the tip of Africa being among
the most dangerous in the world.
As there are yacht clubs in most ports, the clubs are the
best source of information on local conditions. The yacht
clubs like to be contacted in advance by those wishing to
use their facilities. It is not normally allowed to live aboard
a yacht, but a concession is made for visiting foreign yachts
as a temporary privilege. Most yacht clubs, such as those
at Cape Town, Durban and Richards Bay, have their own hauling
facilities or work closely with a local boatyard.
Yacht clubs are also convenient places to leave the boat
while visiting the interior. The Zululand Yacht Club in Richards
Bay is a good place from which to visit the Umfoloze, Hluhluwe
and St Lucia reserves, while Kruger Park can be easily reached
from the Point Yacht Club in Durban.
For any major repair, Cape Town and Durban have a complete
range of services.
Hout Bay, located some 20 miles south of Cape Town, is an
excellent alternative for those who prefer a smaller port
with surrounding beaches, wildlife and scenery to the busy
marinas of Cape Town. Almost all repair facilities can be
found here as well, often at a better rate and with more attention
to detail. Another alternative to Cape Town is Simonstown,
on the NW side of False Bay, some 15 miles North of the Cape
of Good Hope. Tradespeople from Cape Town come to Hout Bay
and Simonstown on a regular basis or will visit you on request.