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Road trip South Africa in December: Durban - CT

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Strekke
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Road trip South Africa in December: Durban - CT

Postby Strekke » Wed Aug 29, 2018 8:39 am

Have been to CT a few times, and love it. However, to mix it up a bit, I am contemplating a road trip in December along the South African coast for 3 weeks 8) . Durban - Cape Town, round trip, with a week or so in CT. Plan is to be flexible and just look at the forecast and chase the wind/waves, and see as much of the coast & Garden Route as possible. On the way back, make a detour through the Karoo desert if worth it. Mostly looking for waves, but the occassional flat water lagoon or foil spot are more than welcome as well (bringing all the toys).

So, looking for advice from South African locals, or other people that have done a similar trip!

Potential stops identified so far:

- Durban area
- KZN South coast (Margate area)
- Coffee Bay
- East London / Kenton on Sea / Port Elisabeth (worth a stop? Haven't heard much good about those cities...)
- Jeffrey's Bay (any good kite spots there? or only surfing?)
- Knysna (looks beautiful - kiting / foiling spots inside the lagoon?)
- Still Bay area (East winds from CT reach this area (?) - if I remember the rumors correctly there are some sick waves spots with right-handers to be found?)
- Witsand / Hermanus etc. - been there, know more or less what to expect
- ?? :?: ?? - feel free to add/suggest any spot along the coast that is worth a stop!

So for these spots:

- Wind wise, what can I expect? Already pumping frequently along the coast, or still too early in the season to score some good sessions? Any local windpatterns that occur but won't show up on the forecasts? What to look out for in forecasts? I know I won't get the Cape Doctor conditions outside of CT, but am happy on my 9m & surf in 17-18 knots (and have foil as backup).
- Any must see/do things that I cannot miss? Especially "off the radar" spots, or local contacts along the lesser known parts of the coast are welcome. And any useful info about the Karoo desert (I remember reading something about a deserted straight high way that runs for miles & miles with quirky farmer-eateries that sell amazing lamb dishes? And beautiful night skies? Sounds worth the detour).
- Non-kiting things to do along the Garden Route - nice wineries/vineyards/places to eat etc.
- Safety issues :!: (OK to drive some parts after dark? Port Elisabeth/East London areas are safe? Or best to be avoided? Car parking while kiting?)

If anyone has any info, let me know (here, or through PM). Thanks in advance! :thumb:

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Re: Road trip South Africa in December: Durban - CT

Postby rynhardt » Wed Aug 29, 2018 12:04 pm

Cape Town and surrounds should have plenty of wind during December.
South and east coast - you'll need to check Windguru/Windfinder stats for wind.

Coffee bay/Port St Johns - this is part of the 'wild coast' and very beautiful but rugged. The road there was in a terrible state a few years ago, dunno if they've fixed it. But worth the trip.
You're most likely going to be the only kiter there, so have a backup plan if things go pear shaped. I wouldn't kite there alone.

Check out Route 62, for a Karoo trip. (you can just google cape route 62).

If you want to go up the West coast, Langebaan is worth a visit.

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Re: Road trip South Africa in December: Durban - CT

Postby Hugh2 » Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:38 pm

I just did this trip the other way this SA winter, but grew up in East London and have done EL-CT summer trips the last several years. Lots of thoughts, but basically the following: the wind pattern is alternating SW and NE winds all along that coast from Durban to Stillbaai. The SW is stronger and gustier, but generally side-offshore (there are a few spots that are feasible, including NE of East London and SW of Port Elizabeth (use the Spots site here for info, generally good, with warnings about sketchy spots). NE winds, when they blow, are wonderful on many beaches, including places like Nahoon in East London (safe parking right at the beach, plus a run-down municipal campground nearby and a nice outdoor cafe), and Kenton-on-Sea is similar. If you have multiple people, including a driver, check out Google Earth or satellite maps for the regions between East London and Kenton-on-Sea - there are some potentially awesome downwinders to be had there on either wind direction, but I'm always on my own so have not attempted them.

Most of the surfing points, like Nahoon reef or at Stillbaai are pretty far out there and if you are riding strapless and fall best have a leash or your board will be trashed on the rocks. Most points are righthanders with the swell coming from the southern ocean.

As for the Wild Coast between Key Mouth and Port St. Johns, it is really difficult to kite there. The beaches are awkward for most winds, and the roads are atrocious. Go there for the wildness and the scenery, not the kiting, in my opinion (let us know if I am wrong about this!). Indeed, a full write up of your trip would be very useful.

In Durban there is a kiteshop and the guys there are helpful. There is a small kiting community in East London and perhaps a couple guys in Kenton-on-Sea, otherwise I've always ended up kiting alone. Stillbaai attracts people from all over, including CT, because it works on SW winds, albeit gusty, where nowhere else does along that stretch.

I avoid driving at night, but have done it a few times. The issue becomes if you break down you become vulnerable - as with everywhere, the vast majority of folks are good and would help, but it is hard to tell at first glance who is good or bad. Route 62 through the Karroo is well worth it, especially if the wind forecasts are not good for a few days, but pay attention to the temperatures, it could be very hot.

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Re: Road trip South Africa in December: Durban - CT

Postby Adventure Logs » Wed Aug 29, 2018 7:35 pm

Sounds like a great trip, I’m jealous. About kiting around Durban, there’s 3-4 decent riding spots which you can find online. Best two in my opinion we’re La Mercy Lagoon a little east of Durban and riding in front for the kite shop. Good guys and there’s usually always a couple out over there. Good waves there and the lagoon is mostly flat but you can easily cross over to the ocean for waves.

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Re: Road trip South Africa in December: Durban - CT

Postby stevez » Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:29 am

KZN winds are better early summer, December is a bit hit and miss.
Best spots on the kzn south coast I know are marina beach/Trafalgar, and next to it palm beach, which is often good in a South westerly.
Take a surf foil for some nice wave riding, no wetsuit required.
On the E cape side, cannon rocks is apparently awesome, flat water and waves, though never been there. They used to run a kiteboarding event there, the cannon rocks classic.
Garden route, Knysna may be nice for foiling on the lagoon.

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Re: Road trip South Africa in December: Durban - CT

Postby Hugh2 » Thu Aug 30, 2018 4:06 am

And since I grew up in East London, a shameless plug to visit the local museum, which has the first coelacanth inadvertently caught offshore and landed in the harbor by a fishing trawler. Plus some ancient human footprints from the cliffs at Nahoon point, and lots of other cool stuff.

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Re: Road trip South Africa in December: Durban - CT

Postby North_Wind » Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:54 am

St. Francis is a good kitespot.

Nearer Cape Town itself:

Witsand/Breede River - nice flatwater spot
Hermanus - kite the lagoon East of the town

One of my favourite places to stay out that way is the De Hoop nature reserve. They do a dinner, bed and breakfast package. Zebras graze while you have your sundowners. It is a bit of an extra drive, but worth it. Skip the visit to the beach in the morning ... it is a long drive and no different really to the kite beaches you will be on.

For the drive back to Cape Town take thhe road to Bonnievale and then the N1 .. a much nicer route than the N2.

BA

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