The lure of the South African outdoors is just about all it takes to get millions of international tourists flocking to this land every year. Even the locals relish in exploring their country and enjoying its natural beauty and its overabundance of things to do and see. It is no surprise, then, that South Africa is a fabulous and respected destination for the entire spectrum of water sports.
With more than 2 500 kilometres of coastline, the beaches of South Africa are some of the best destinations for watersports in South Africa and, indeed the world. Several areas are known for their outstanding surfing and body boarding conditions.
These include the world-renowned Jeffrey’s Bay, which hosted one of the legs of the annual Billabong Surf Pro every year for about 30 years. The waves in this part of the country are impressive, to say the least, and invite water-lovers to test their skills and enjoy the ride.
The Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal are also known for their great surfing and boarding opportunities. Well-known spots include Elands Bay, Long Beach, the Bay of Plenty and Dungeons. In several of these sites, locals offer surfing lessons to visitors, enabling them to feel the thrill of mastering the waves.
Of course, the beaches are ideal for swimming too. Durban, the Wild Coast and Port Elizabeth enjoy stunning warm waters, thanks to the Indian Ocean. Cape Town has some of the most picturesque beaches imaginable, although the waters are rather chilly.
White water rafting is reserved for the adventurous, and can be loads of fun. In addition, it also usually showcases some of the prettiest parts of the country, which are laden with dense foliage, fed by the waters of the river. Popular rivers for this activity include the Ash River (Eastern Cape), Orange River (Northern Cape), Umkomaas (KwaZulu Natal) and Blyde River (Mpumalanga).
Frequent visitors to South Africa will also know that it boasts plenty of fishing spots. Whether you are a casual angler that enjoys sitting on the river’s banks and waiting for a nibble, or a dedicated deep-sea fisherman that wants to experience the rush of hauling in “the big one”, South Africa is the perfect destination. There are formal fishing tours (whether on a kayak on the dam or out in the ocean).
With its warm waters, South Africa is home to a plethora of marine life. For those that are qualified, SCUBA diving along its coastline is idyllic, yielding fantastic finds. For those that prefer to stay closer to the shore, simply don some flippers and a snorkel and head on out to the many rock pools. Colourful fish, anemones and molluscs are fascinating for young and old alike.
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Other watersports that are popular in South Africa include boating, kite surfing, canoeing, wakeboarding and spear-fishing.