6 Top Water sports Destinations in South Africa
South Africa is something of a mecca for the lovers of the outdoors. There are so many activities that you can try your hand at. Among the most popular are the many and varied water sports that you can take part in throughout the country. There is an impressive coastline of over 2,500 km around S.A. and we’ve explored the top water sports destinations. Many of the beaches are amazing for surfing, kayaking and more. It isn’t just the coast that lends itself to water sports and the country also boasts many great rivers and lakes.
Where else to start our list but Jeffreys bay. Renowned worldwide for its surfing, the beaches this town has to offer are not only beautiful but great for taking to the water and trying your hand at surfing and even bodyboarding and wakeboarding. It is often described as “the Surf Mecca of the World”. J-Bay, as it is known to the locals is host to the annual Billabong surf pro competition each year, and has been picked from hundreds of possible destinations. If you are an absolute beginner, there are opportunities to learn closer to shore. If you are a professional or keen amateur looking for opportunities to ride some big waves, Jeffreys Bay can provide.
Durban is another exceptional area for water sports. Although I haven’t picked out individual beaches, the whole coastline has a huge amount to offer for those who love to swim and surf. Due to the Indian ocean, South Africa’s Western Coast (where Durban is located) has warm, tropical waters. The activities you can take part in are very diverse so there is something for everyone. You can head into the sea and take part in Scuba diving and tours. Surfing, and even parasailing and gliding are also on offer. You can opt to head out to the water and explore it yourself, or plenty of tour operators will rent you water sports equipment. Operators organize some pretty exciting tours and activities throughout Durban’s temperate coast. Warm and sunny all year round, water sports enthusiasts flock to the area in all seasons.
Kayaking is an increasingly popular water sport. It is also a sport in which you don’t have to be too much of an athlete to take part in. It can be as fast or slow paced as you like, and a lot of the Kayaking tours can be quite leisurely. There are a lot of Rivers in South Africa where Kayaking is popular, and rightly so. The unbelievable scenery offered in Palmiet River, also located in the Western Cape, is unbelievable. You get the chance to kayak or canoe through the Kogelberg Nature Reserve and there are some rapids for the more advanced kayaker, too.
In some parts of South Africa such as St. Lucia’s famous Kayak Safari, you can spot some incredible animals on your travels in a truly once in a lifetime experience mixing water sports and wildlife. Many people come to South Africa for the wildlife, but now you can take it all in whilst rowing downstream!
Cape Town, the capital of S.A. and also a coastal city, has a huge amount to offer. If you are looking for a place to learn the basics, look no further. There are schools, academies, tutors and organized trips throughout the coast of Cape Town. Surfing, Kitesurfing, Bodyboarding and Ocean Kayaking. On top of this, as well as an activity I cannot recommend highly enough; Scuba diving.
Scuba diving is one of South Africa’s most amazing pastimes. The warm waters of the country attract some incredible marine wildlife. There are companies offering training courses, scuba diving and snorkeling equipment and guided tours to get you underwater in no time. Some of the most incredible reefs the world has to offer are not to be passed up. Not recommended if you don’t like sharks.
To list every water sports destination in South Africa would take an eternity. That is the beauty of a country such as this. There is so much to explore, and opportunities for surfers and water sports enthusiasts everywhere, whether you’re just taking your first steps up onto a paddleboard, or are ready to tackle some of the biggest waves imaginable.
Ben is a writer as well as sport and travel enthusiast from the UK who runs one of the internet's top resources on water sports including information on scuba diving, surfing, paddleboarding and more.