When many people think of visiting Africa, they envision lively markets and wild safaris. Certainly, Africa’s land is home to some of the most astounding cultures, landscapes and wildlife in the world. Yet, its coasts are just as diverse and striking. To ignore the beauty of Africa’s’ coasts would be to insult her beauty.
One of the best ways to experience the majesty of Africa’s coasts and oceans is from a kayak. As kayakers know, the sport offers an intimate experience with one’s surroundings. On kayaks, people can approach sights in ways boats cannot. If you want to really experience Africa, consider kayaking in one of these seven areas. Here are the seven best destinations for kayakers in Africa, listed in no particular order.
Langebaan, Paternoster and St. Helena Bay
Located slightly north of Cape Town, the Langebaan route extends from the village Mykonos to that of Langebaan. It runs across the Langebaan Lagoon, and kayakers can continue past Langebaan to Oesterval, Churchaven and Kraalbaai. The scenery will likely remind you of Greece, if you have traveled there. Although this is a relatively safe area to kayak, kayakers regularly encounter swells in the open water. The best time to visit, when these are reduced, is in the autumn. The spring also is beautiful, as flowers begin to bloom.
For a more tranquil paddle, kayakers should consider Paternoster and St. Helena Bay. These areas have similar beauty, but they offer more protection from the weather. In season, dolphins and whales come into these protected waters.
The best route in this area is the Bolders Route. It runs along the Atlantic Coast, beginning at Long Beach. While paddling this, kayakers will have a chance to see Simon’s Town, and several protected beaches: Boulders, Windmill and Fisherman’s. Each of these beaches is a different distance, so people can choose the best paddle for themselves. In addition to sea kayaking, visitors can go diving, fishing, swimming and see penguins in this historical town.
Plettenberg Bay and Knysna Lagoon
Plattenberg bay sits in the center of the Garden Route and is surrounded by mountains reaching into the sky. Most kayakers begin at Main Beach, near Beacon Island, and go to the point of Robberg Penunsula. In addition to the natural beauty, kayakers encounter whales, dolphins and seals in season. Kayakers in this area should also visit Knysna Lagoon, which is known for the Heads.
KwaZulu-Natal is the California of Africa. The culture is laid back and about having fun. In keeping with its culture, this is an amusement park for kayakers. The only launch point is from Vetch’s Pier, and, after launching, kayaks are guided through the narrow passage by a line. The little swells, which leap over nearby reefs are fun. Yet, the most unique attraction is a slide. Kayakers can slide down a stack of containers directly into the surf!
The Pelican Point Route in Namibia is one of the most popular kayaking routes in Africa. Guides take travelers by 4×4 to Pelican Point. From there, kayakers launch and paddle among a variety of birds. Pelicans and flamingos abound along the shallow waters, while cormorants, terns and gulls fill the sky. Before retiring for the night, be sure to watch the desert turn purple as the sun sets.
In Malawi, the people are as interesting as the wildlife and fauna. Along either of the popular routes, the Cape Maclear route or Dumba Island route, one is likely to encounter a native paddler on the water. The indigenous people craft canoes out of balsa trees. An ancient type of boat juxtaposed against modern kayaks is a sight to behold.
Kowie and Port Alfred
Kowie and Port Alfred are two coastal rivers near Port Elizabeth. For inexperienced kayakers, these can be great places to become acquainted with the sport. The still showcase the beauty of Africa, while offering protection from the open sea.
Any of these seven kayaking destinations in Africa will allow people to enjoy the water and experience the continent. On your paddle, you will marvel at the scenery and enjoy the wildlife. Once the day is over, be sure to also appreciate the local culture and villages.
African Safaris Desk
African Adventure Travellers Ltd