Sea Kayaking in South Africa.
Kayaks were originally designed by hunter-gatherers living on the shores of the Arctic, but they have since been used for a variety of purposes, including flat water racing. So they’ve come a long way from their origins, but sea kayaks are a return to that fabulous heritage. Of course, they’ve moved a long way since the days when they were manufactured from whalebone and sealskin but the basic idea is still the same. Although sea kayaks come in many shapes, designs and configurations, they are all basically self-powered craft that, being designed specifically for the marine environment, can take on the swell, wind chop, and even quite big surf. Some are heavier, some are lighter; some are faster, some are more stable; some are easier to get in and out of, while some are more water- and weather-proof, but they’re all fun.
There are escorted sea kayaking trips in most of the major coastal settlements. In Cape Town, you can paddle out to see penguins, and in Plettenberg Bay you are likely to be visited by a pod of dolphins while out in the bay but you will have fantastic scenery and some animal encounters almost anywhere you choose to paddle.
It’s not a difficult outdoor activity but, like anything to do with the water in general and the sea in particular, there are a number of safety issues you should get sorted out before you just paddle off towards the horizon. So, if you want to get seriously involved in this really great activity, ask around. All kayaks are different and there is one out there that is just perfect for you so visit kayak shops, surf the net before you surf the waves, and do a lot of homework. Most reputable retailers will pretty much insist that you buy the required safety equipment along with the boat and paddle, throw in a basic paddling and ocean safety course, and introduce you to groups of people you can paddle with.