Twelve hours flight away, the Cape of Good Hope breaks into the Indian and Atlantic oceans. The next mass of land is Antarctica, hence the water is cold and the fetch is long.
However, the climate of Cape Town during the winter months can only be described as hot! Combined with the summer south-easter, the place is perfectly situated to be one of the best winter windsurfing destinations in the world.
Is Cape Town the best winter destination in the world?
To quote Cape Town regular Phil Horrocks, “If you don’t go, you don’t know”! Quite an ambiguous statement, you might think, however after listening to the stories and reading numerous travel reports, I decided to find out for myself. Having spent time in Western Australia and Maui, the other main winter locations, I thought it was time to try Africa.
How to get there
Flying is the only option. During the windy season (late autumn and winter), the average price is around the £700 plus excess baggage which ranges widely between different companies. Add on about £50 per bag of windsurfing equipment.
- South African Airlines,
- NOT British Airways.
How The Wind Works
The prevailing wind is a South-easterly and the main windsurfing spots stretch north from the Cape. This translates into port tack jumping and starboard tack wave riding. The start of the wind is generally signified by a 'blanket' of cloud (called the Table Cloth) forming over the imposing Table Mountain on the Cape. The cloud literally pours over the top and is quite a sight. The wind starts at the Cape where it is always the strongest. It then fills in at Sunset beach and as the day progresses it makes its way north. Eventually it becomes very windy everywhere. It follows that once it gets too windy at Sunset (you heard me right – too windy!) everyone heads north.
Occasionally the wind will go north-west and then you head down the Cape for some starboard tack sailing. There are a number of texting services that offer regular wind reports (see Hot Tips section below). If it is not windy where you are, then it is likely to be windy somewhere else, although this usually involves an hour in the car.
Where to windsurf:
There are three main areas; the Cape itself, in Cape Town and further north to the infamous Elands bay.