SAVE BIG BAY! - Boards Windsurfing

Windsurfing Magazine






The proposed Hovercraft landing site at “Kamers” in Big Bay will mean the end of Kamers as a worldclass surf – windsurf and kite-surfing spot. Big Bay is also used daily by many local residents who walk their dogs, run and the like. The Hovercraft landing site will deny beach and water users access to this pristine beach at the start of the Blauwberg Conservation Area (BCA).

To stop the hovercraft we have started the initiative which will allow anyone who has objections to the hovercraft proposal to post their name and objections which will be forwarded to Council if, and when, the hovecraft EIA public hearings take place.

What you and I can do…

We believe in the strength of numbers and ask you to visit our Submit You Objection page where you can be part of the process by posting your name and objections.


Why we don’t need a Hovercraft in Big Bay

  • Thousands of wind and kitesurfing tourists and locals enjoy our beaches and “Kamers” in Big Bay is one of the big drawcards – to lose this piece of beach would be a disaster for all the local and international water users. Many local kids use Big Bay as their local surfspot, and surfers, kiters or windsurfers drifting into the path of Hovercraft will ultimately lead to a complete ban on watersports in Big Bay on safety grounds. Do we really want to close down the most popular surfingspot in Cape Town for a Hovercraft which may at best, take 150 cars off the road in peak hour?
  • From an environmental point of view we are dealing with sensitive hammock dunes which serve an important part of the area’s eco-system. There are also reports of important archaeological finds on this site. The Big Bay Beach Estates were denied a wooden boardwalk from beach-front properties across dunes as the dunes were deemed too sensitive – it would be ironic if a Hovercraft is allowed to motor across the same dune 50-100m further north!
  • The land, (click here to see maps) which stretches from the Melkbos coast road down to the high-water mark on the north-end of Big Bay Beach Estates, opposite Shoprite Center and Big Bay Beach Club, is planned to house a massive 1500sq.m three storey Terminal which will include a hotel and a sizeable concrete slab for the Hovercraft landingsite.
  • This Terminal will be the immediate north-bound neighbour of the Big Bay Beach Estate upmarket development where plots are being sold for between R2mil and 4mil. Imagine a Hovercraft terminal on your northfacing boundary when you have been sold unspoilt indigenous dune-land and beach…facing what many believed was part of BCA Nature Reserve.
  • The terminal land will accommodate some parking, but more is planned on land near the R27 with buses supposedly ferrying passengers to and from their cars to the ferry-terminal.
  • The Hovercape proposal is supposed to alleviate traffic, but cost and inconvenience of extra travelling time on both sides of a 20min ferry ride makes this hardly likely and we fear that we may be sitting with another white elephant in a few years. The Hovercraft will have a downtime of 20% due to adverse weather – this means you will not know whether you have means of transport 1 out of 5 days – would you plan to take a bus that may not arrive 1 day a week?
  • The Hovercape company will tell you that it is not noisy and no threat to the beach or whales etc – that may be so, but if we can’t access the beach and water anymore then we won’t get to enjoy their “unspoilt” beach anyways…The hovercraft has also been presented as a tourism attraction, but this could be achieved with a hovercraft operating out of Cape Town Harbour. We do not want a Hovercraft in Cape Town to land on our beaches.
  • Hovercape (PTY) Ltd is the license holder for manufacturing and distribution of Hovercrafts in Southern Africa and it is more likely that their main objective is to sell 2 Hovercraft @ R50mil each, than actually running a ferry service for a couple of hundred people an hour. The Council resolution does not require the Hovercape company to present a business plan to ascertain viability of the hovercraft operation. This is crucial as we need to know whether this operation has any economic future. Our guess is it doesn’t, as the real deal here is the sale of 2 hovercrafts.
  • Hovercape is planning a hotel to be included on the site as well, but one wonders if the homework has been done, as Big Bay Beach Estates next door opted not to build a hotel, as it was deemed not viable in the area.
  • The land that council is trying to lease was initially part of Big Bay Beach Estate development, but was given back to council to be incorporated in the BCA. We firmly believe it is in the best interest of all parties that this piece of land is left alone and incorporated into the BCA once and for all – otherwise a new developer will come and tempt council every few years……
  • Big Bay has been developed sufficiently and Cape Town does not need a hovercraft which few will use, especially when it entails restriction of access to the most popular public beach on the West Coast. We trust the powers that be, can see through the traffic alleviation smoke-screen and make the right decision.

Visit the link below and object!


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