Exploring South Africa by Boat

If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, then make sure you don’t leave South Africa off your travel bucket list. While the country is certainly known for its wildlife safaris, our previous trip to South Africa also featured remarkable hikes along Lion’s Head and a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. On top of these land-based excursions, South Africa does offer a variety of appealing adventures on the water, too — many of which allow you to enjoy unobstructed views of the magnificent Cape Peninsula regardless of your vehicle of choice. From private water taxis to grand luxury ships, read on to find out more about your options for exploring South Africa by boat.

The Victoria and Alfred waterfront in Cape Town

Ride a water taxi

One of the most convenient and affordable ways to see the South African peninsula by boat is to ride a water taxi. The Mellow Yellow Water Taxi, in particular, takes you on a half-hour scenic journey along the coast of False Bay. The ride shuttles hourly between the fishing village of Kalk Bay, where you can eat fresh fish and shop for antiques at the harbour, and the historic Simon’s Town, which is home to ornate buildings and a large naval base. While regular rates for the water taxi start at R150.00 (about £6.62), you can also charter a special ride that takes you anywhere between the Orange River and Mossel Bay, where you can go whale watching or explore archaeological caves.

African Penguins at Boulders Beach, near Cape Town in South Africa

Go on a river cruise

South Africa is famous for its wildlife, and many people visit the country to go on safari. For those who are looking for a unique safari, consider taking a riverboat cruise to get up close to the country’s marine life. Visitors can take a Featherbed Paddleboat Cruiser on the Knysna Lagoon. From the boat, visitors can take in the magnificent Outeniqua Mountains while enjoying a meal. The Featherbed Nature Reserve is teeming with life, and passengers can disembark from the ferry and explore on foot. Another trip to consider is a cruise down the Orange River, South Africa’s largest. This is ideal for nature lovers who want to go birdwatching.

View from East Head over the sea in Knysna, South Africa

Embark on a luxury cruise

You can also sail into the sunset in style on a luxury cruise. Aside from the comfort and convenience of on-board dining and exclusive accommodation, the all-inclusive journeys on Explora Cruises highlight the equally immersive and informative cultural experiences across South Africa and its neighbouring countries. On the first two days of the cruise, Cape Town awaits you with a celebration of history and art at Robben Island and private tastings in the New World’s oldest wine region. The South African leg caps off with eco-adventures at Port Elizabeth and heritage tours at Durban before departing for the Afro-Mediterranean vibe of Mozambique.

View of Lion's Head and the 12 Apostles Mountain Range in Cape Town

Meanwhile, Azamara offers an intensive 12-night voyage through South Africa through the Azamara Journey cruise line, with Cape Town as the starting point. On top of the journey’s focus on luxurious golf court experiences, guests can enhance their itinerary with a pre-cruise safari tour at the Kruger National Park and a post-cruise option that takes them to the Fancourt premier lifestyle resort.

To sum it all up, exploring South Africa by boat is possible for any type of traveller — whether they prefer a brief yet relaxing ride, a thrilling adventure, or a journey brimming with glamour and luxury. Let us know in the comments below what kind of boat trip you’d like to do in South Africa.

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