Considered to be the most beautiful country in the world, South Africa is a “must see” destination. And what better way to experience the landscape and culture than through the sport of rowing? It is a long way to go, so the South Africa Rowing Safari in April is a two week adventure, although there is the possibility of joining us for only one week. We will explore the Western and Eastern Cape provinces. The Western Cape is most famous for the city of Cape Town and for wine. The Eastern Cape has national parks and a density of private game reserves – this is where we will see the famous wildlife of Africa: elephants, giraffes, zebras, lion, rhino and more.
We row with the back drop of mountains, hills and vast plains, plus one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Penguins will entertain us on False Bay; we will stop rowing to watch bright birds weaving nests that hang above the water; a row on the Kariega River brings us to lunch at a private game reserve where nyala wander past the table; after a row and a swim at a beautiful reservoir we will have a wine tasting lunch under the shade of a spreading tree; we will enjoy traditional “braais” or bbqs. This is rowing travel at its best.
Diverse groups of people have created a vibrant culture. You will not forget the beautiful smiles. They are like the sunshine: warm, constant and everywhere. Our South African rowing guides and hosts will share insights into this fascinating country, with its complex history. Experts will introduce us to history and wildlife. We will stroll stunning beaches that stretch into the horizon and climb sand dunes that rise high, crowned with fynbos. The South Africa Rowing Safari is beckoning.
Read some of our blog posts about this trip:
|Single Supplement||$610||$810||540 €|
Non-rowing companions welcomed. Program for non-rowing companions includes cycling, walking, kayaking and sightseeing options. It is possible to join us for one week only. See our Western Cape and Eastern Cape trips. Or consider our Western Cape Wildflower trip which takes place in August.
Registration closes 17 January 2018.
|Daily Distances||Boats||Max Group Size|
|15-30 km/day||Coastal coxed quads, doubles, fine doubles & fine singles||9 rowers|
Note that most of the rivers rowed are tidal in nature, which will determine the exact time of the rows. Wind conditions will also be an important consideration – safety is a priority. Thus, on some days, the actual program may vary from this description.
We recommended that you book a few extra days in Cape Town in advance of the trip start. It is a magnificent city with much to see and do in the “Mother City”. We especially recommend visits to Robben Island and Table Mountain.
Arrival in Cape Town. Depending on arrival time, enjoy a sightseeing walking tour of the downtown and Company Gardens plus time to relax. We will discuss the plans for the next two weeks over a wonderful welcome dinner.
The rowing begins. Our first row is early morning with Cape Coastal at Simonstown. We will row on False Bay, but the wind and water conditions will determine exactly where we go. Fingers crossed that we row by the penguin colony at Boulder Beach. It is fantastic to see these beautiful creatures from the water. Afternoon row with Alfred Rowing Club at Zeekoevlei, followed by a braai (BBQ) at Zeekoevlei Yacht Club with Alfred members. Sleep Cape Town.
Another morning row with Cape Coastal Rowing Club on False Bay from Simons Town or alternate location depending on conditions. If we were not able to see the penguins yesterday, we have a second chance. But the scenery is magnificent from any perspective, with Table Mountain towering above the bay. We will continue south to visit to the Cape Point National Park (Cape of Good Hope), returning to the hotel in the evening for a final dinner in Cape Town.
We will start heading east, beginning with a drive to the beautiful Eikenhof Reservoir. We will row with Elgin Rowing Club, perhaps stopping part way to enjoy a refreshing swim from a beach. Then on to a lunch and wine tasting at a nearby winery. Our overnight will be in Hermanus, a coastal resort town famous for whale watching (but sadly it will not be the viewing season). If we arrive early enough, there are options for a walk in a nature reserve or a swim at the beach. Tonight’s dinner is not included in the trip price, with a wide choice of restaurants to select from.
We will leave the coast and travel inland along gravel roads. You will feel that you have really touched the heart of South African landscape here: wide planes with rolling hills rising to blue mountains in the background. We might spot ostriches or the rare blue crane along the way. Our destination is Malgas on the Brede River, where we will meet again Cape Coastal RC. After unloading the trailer and getting the boats ready we will enjoy an afternoon row on this winding river. We can stop on sand bar beaches to swim.
Today we have a full day to explore the Breede. If we are ambitious we might head downstream almost to Witsand where the river meets the ocean. Tiny sharks are known to enter the river here, but not to worry – swimming is still safe. We might picnic or stop for pizza at a rustic bush pub.
We will load the trailer and then head off to explore a completely different section of the Breede. Far away from the tides, the narrower river winds through vineyards and fruit orchards, with the hills closer in. This is wine country and we will definitely sample the local wines of Robertson. We say farewell to our friends from Cape Coastal with a wonderful dinner at a hotel at vineyard.
After many days of rowing, today is a rest and travel day. Following breakfast we will make our way to Cape Town airport, passing through the stunning scenery of the Stellenbosch and Paarl areas. A short flight to Port Elizabeth, then transfer to Addo in Eastern Cape. This province is famous for many things, of which wildlife safaris are at the top of the list. Let’s talk about that over our welcome dinner!
Enjoy a wildlife extravaganza. It is safari time! We are close to the gate of Addo Elephant National Park, and our day with be spent spotting elephants, giraffe, zebra and maybe lions if we are lucky. What a way to start your week in the Eastern Cape!
The rowing recommences. It is a short drive from our accommodation to the town of Colchester at the south end of Addo National Park. Our focus has shifted from wildlife to rivers and rowing. The setting for the Sundays River is spectacular – immense dunes shade one side of the river, with the sand drifting right down to the waters edge. On the other bank, holiday homes send wooden jetties out into the waters. There is a lovely relaxed, Sunday feel to the area. After our row we will follow the beautiful coastal road to the holiday town of Kenton-on-Sea.
Two rivers enclose Kenton-on-Sea: the Bushmans and the Kariega. It is the latter that we will row. Sinuous curves define this river – recent storms cut through the banks and created a new island – we will have to decide if we take the short cut or row the full curve. Our destination is the Sibuya Private Game Reserve, where we will enjoy a gourmet lunch at an eco-resort, while nyalas wander around us. We return to Kenton-on-Sea with time to walk the lovely beach.
We have a wealth of choices today for our row. Should we explore the Bushmans River, which has not yet been featured on this tour – not even sure if anyone else has rowed it before. Or perhaps we will push on to the Gamtoos, just at the edge of the world famous Garden Route. The vegetation is lush and the water is wonderful. It is possible to row as much as 20 km upstream, but we will make sure that we have enough time to enjoy an afternoon walk along the dunes from our new home at Cape St. Frances. Evening braai with our rowing friends and guides in Martinique Bay.
Again, more choices for our last day of rowing, although wind, water and tidal conditions will guide us. We could explore the other direction on the Gamtoos. How is it possible that one river could have such different qualities? Or should we enjoy the Krom, to add another beautiful river to our list? There will be time for one last walk on the beach with the warmth of the African sun, before our farewell dinner.
We drive you back to Port Elizabeth to catch your flights. A fond but sad farewell to your South Africa Rowing Safari!