Paddling in South Africa has a fairly long history stretching back at least 50 years. It developed a competitive edge with marathon events such as the Dusi Canoe Marathon, held in KwaZulu-Natal, and the Berg River Canoe Marathon in the Western Cape becoming popular endurance events. The surf life-saving community also produced the East London to Port Elizabeth Surfski Marathon, held in the Eastern Cape.
Sea kayaking has only gained popularity in South Africa in recent years. Sea kayaks are stable and comfortable sea-going paddle craft designed for exploring and touring. They provide a stable platform to explore South Africa’s magnificent coastline and estuaries as well as to indulge in related activities such as bird watching, fishing and photography. From the harsh beauty of the west coast with its fishing villages and birdlife to the tall forests and black water of the Garden Route and the tropical lushness and warm waters of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa can offer a paddling experience suitable for almost everyone.
Sea Kayaking Routes:
We have selected a number of sea kayaking routes which showcase those parts of our coastline most suited for paddling and exemplify the huge variety of experiences available.
These trails are situated along the famous Garden Route. This stretch of coastline runs from Mossel Bay in the south to Port Elizabeth in the north and is served by the N2 national road. The Garden Route offers the visitor a mild climate, long stretches of beach, lakes, mountains and lush indigenous forests.
The Garden Route offers visitors a huge selection of accommodation options, from camping to luxury lodges and a myriad guesthouses and bed and breakfasts. There is also an endless variety of activities, from gentle hikes in the forests to adrenaline-pumping abseils, steam train excursions and visits to cultural sites such as the rock shelters of the Khoisan (the original inhabitants of the area).
Nature is the real drawcard here and there are a number of stunning private, municipal, provincial and national nature reserves. From a paddling perspective, this area offers warm-water sea paddling with its associated marine life, as well as numerous opportunities for exploring the many lakes and estuaries.