Best Coastal Destinations for Watersports

Cool Waters & Warm Waves

The coast of South Africa offers amazing experiences out in the cool waters of the West Coast and the warmer waves of the eastern coast.

©Roger de la Harpe
Windsurfers at Blouberg in the Western Cape.

Activities such as surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, kiteboarding, kayaking and jet skiing are popular among both locals and tourists alike.

There are hidden coves, large beaches, pristine little bays and calm lagoons to venture into with your board, kayak or paddle. There are also local shops in larger tourist areas who rent out equipment and offer lessons in various watersports.

Wherever you prefer to vacation on the South African coast, you’ll be met with a plethora of fun and entertaining water activities.

Western Coast Spots

©Jacques Marais
Surfing in Elands Bay on the West Coast.

The western coast of South Africa has the cool breeze of the Atlantic ocean and the waves to go with it. Popular surfing destinations include False Bay and Muizenberg to the east, while Blouberg and Elands Bay to the west attract avid surfers every holiday. Langebaan and its lagoon is perfect for stand-up paddle boarding, as are the little bays along the Garden Route to the east.

You’ll find picturesque beaches all along Cape Town, and activities range from kayaking to bodyboarding. Whatever you are in the mood for, Camps Bay, Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay and Big Bay are fantastic spots for ocean-based sports.

As the Western Cape is well-known for its windy seasons, kiteboarding can be done all along the Table Bay area - the most popular beaches include Big Bay and Blouberg. You can also kiteboard on the Rietvlei dam in Tableview, as well as at Lagoon Beach. 

If you are looking for calmer waters, look for secluded bay areas with small beaches enclosed with rock pools. Jacobsbaai and Langebaan are awesome for leisure canoeing, while to the east you’ll find that Noordhoek is great for a nice paddle.

Eastern Coast Fun

©Ann Gadd

The east coast of South Africa is most known for its gnarly surfing spots. Jeffreys Bay in the Eastern Cape is the country’s capital of surf and plays host to various international surfing competitions. You’ll catch the best waves in the area, whether you prefer surfing or bodyboarding. 

Port Elizabeth has beautiful swimming beaches and stand-up paddle boarding opportunities, and further down you’ll find gorgeous natural scenery at Knysna and Plettenberg Bay - also good spots for kayaking, canoeing and jet skiing. 

On the coast of KwaZulu-Natal, there are multiple awesome spots for surfing, such as Durban, Margate, Ballito and Kosi Bay. The estuary in St Lucia Wetlands Park is made for canoeing and kayaking adventures, while the Dolphin Coast offers all types of watersports that tourists can discover and enjoy.

By Carla Lottering