Visiting Cape Town is life changing, it has some kind of special magic that makes you willing to return again, and again, and again. Windsurfing in Cape Town will blow your mind.
I’ve been lucky as I spent 4 years of my life over there, and I feel that city as my home. That could make it difficult for me to be 100% objective, but it’s not my intention either. :-). I hope you like the post.

Cape Town or Kaapstad in Afrikaans, is the main tourist center in South Africa. There are hundreds of reasons to choose this destination beyond windsurfing. We’ll try to tell you about all of them, or at least many of them. Anyway, if you only want to sail, especially with strong wind and good waves, this is also one of the best possible destinations in the world.

Robby in Cape Town - TheWindsurfingBlogDuring January and February it’s very common to see the pros preparing their wave season here. Victor Fernandez, Ricardo Campello, Gollito Estredo and many others. Once I realized that, just besides me in the water, was the great legend Robby Naish!!! Obviously I didn’t miss the opportunity to portray that moment.!!

Take a look to all what this fantastic city has to offer, and don’t hesitate to put it as a destination in your bucket list, if you haven’t already done so.

Warning!!! It became a very long post with almost 5000 words. I’m so sorry for that, but there are lots of things to tell you. I want this post to be really useful for those ones thinking about going to this great windsurfing destination.

Location & Spots

Cape Town is located in the Western Cape and is South Africa’s legislative capital. It’s the second city of the country in population, with approximately 4 million inhabitants, and it’s surrounded with a spectacular natural environment. On top of this, Cape Town is a cosmopolitan city and really well prepared for tourism.

It’s skyline is unmistakable, with Table Mountain (one of the oldest mountains of the planet and one of the 7 natural wonders of the world) controlling absolutely everything.

It was around 1500 when the first europeans came into the cape leaded by Bartolomeu Dias. Around 1600 the Dutch started the colonization and ruled until 1806 when the British took control. Very close to the city you can find the sadly famous Robben Island, where Nelson Mandala spent 18 years.

Both, locals and visitors, know Cape Town as the “mother city”, this nickname it’s likely due to the fact that this was the first city of the country. However, there are some voices claiming that it comes because anything you want to do will take 9 months to be done!!

Lion Head - TheWindsurfingBlogCape Town has windsurfing spots for all tastes, but wave spots stands out. If you want to be submerged in the windsurfing and kitesurfing atmosphere, your area is Blouberg without any doubts. Later we’ll talk about this in the accommodation part.
As a reference, and taking the city as center point, we can divide the spots in 3 groups.

Spots in Bloubergstrand area

This are the closest spots to the city. It’s a good place to take as your operations base, making excursions from here to the other spots whenever you like. Let’s check the most important ones from North to South, so you have a good picture of the area. In our Spots Guide, you’ll find a map with a small information tab of each one of them.

1 – Melkbos
Style: Waves
Difficulty: Medium-High
Bottom: Sand
Address: Google maps
Description: Melkbos is a sandy long beach, when the swell is strong you can find some good sized waves. It’s probably the less windy spot of the area, but this is not necessarily bad. When places like Big Bay or Sunset are “unleashed”, and this happens quite often, Melkbos could be a good shelter to save the day.

2 – Haakgat
Style: Waves
Difficulty: Medium-High
Bottom: Sand & rocks
Address: Google maps
Description: Haakgat is a very well known spots by locals and definitely is not for beginners. You need to control very well the timing to get in because the series are strong. It’s more a front-side surfing spot than a jumping one. With good swell is normal to have a mast or mast and a half tall waves.

3 – Big Bay
Style: Waves
Difficulty: Medium
Bottom: Sand & rocks
Address: Google maps
Description: Big bay is for me the “jewel in the crown” of this area. It’s a spot with well ordered series that allows both, a jumping session or a surfing one. It’s true that during the last years the bottom of the beach changed for the worst and rocks make everything more complicated, but it still is a spectacular place to windsurf. You have a grassy area to rig, bars, and easily 40 or 50 sails in the water on big days. Here you will check the level of the locals, it seems that they where born knowing how to do forwards and backies. If you want to know more look at this post.

4 – Kite Beach
Style: Waves
Difficulty: Medium
Bottom: Sand
Address: Google maps
Description: As it’s name says, in this beach Kitesurf is the king. However at the area in front of Carlucci’s bar, windsurfers launch very often. It’s a very long beach with sandy bottom. If you sail over here you can’t miss Jerry’s hamburgers, one of the best I’ve ever had.!!

5 – Sunset Beach
Style: Waves
Difficulty: Medium-High
Bottom: Sand
Address: Google maps
Description: Sunset beach is simply a paradise. Sailing with the view of Table Mountain at the back is one of those images you’ll have for ever in your mind. This beach, jointly with Big Bay are the key spots in this area. Here is where the wind starts to blow and where it’s usually stronger. Waves can have a quick close out so you have to be careful. You have to downwind from here to Kitebeach at sunset, it’s simply magical.

6 – Milnerton Lake(MAC)
Style: Slalom, Freeride, Freestyle
Difficulty: Low-Medium
Bottom: You don’t wanna know…
Address: Google maps
Description: It’s the only flat water spot in the area, but it’s a great one. To get access, you have to be a member of the club, the season fee is quite affordable and it worth it. During high season you can find the very top freestylers doing their wonders around here. Although this is spot may seem a bit “boring”, I can really tell you that the wind can be very strong and gusty here. If you like speed, this is your spot.

Windsurf en Blouberg - TheWindsurfingBlog

Spots in the West Coast

1 – Langebaan
Style: Slalom, Freeride, Freestyle
Difficulty: Low-Medium
Bottom: Sand
Address: Google maps
Description: 1 hour away from Cape Town, Langebaan is a very popular spot for Slalom and Freeride. This is not “a” spot because you will find several spots in the area. Shark Bay (mainly people learning Kite, I don’t recommend it for windsurf), Pearly’s Beach or Cape Sports, where you can rent gear (not so easy in Cape Town), are some examples. It worth the travel.

2 – Paternoster
Style: Waves
Difficulty: Medium
Bottom: Sand
Address: Google maps
Descripción: Paternoster is a fisherman’s town where the best thing to do is to try the lobster. It’s delicious :-) About windsurf, if the day is good you can catch a good waves session but nothing compared with Blouberg area. The place worth the journey anyway.

Spots in Cape of Good Hope area

Before listing the spots, I have to tell you that here the story is very different. Winds over 30kn and 4m tall waves are very common in the area. These are spots for experienced sailors and even them have some bad times from time to time. Having said that, these are spectacular spots to sail, and with some patience you can find the days with the right conditions to enjoy it. Just the road through Chapman’s Peak Drive worth the journey.

Scarborough pre session - TheWindsurfingBlog

1 – Witsands
Style: Waves
Difficulty: High
Bottom: Sand
Address: Google maps
Description: Witsand is a white sand beach in the middle of a rocky area. Works with SE and with NW, but the latest is a better direction for surfing. Waves are usually big and powerfull, like in every spot in the area. With SE you can see very spectacular jumps.

2 – Misty Cliffs
Style: Waves
Difficulty: High
Bottom: Sand
Address: Google maps
Description: Another hard waves spot, strong reef break and gusty wind. A quite dangerous place to be honest, but it can be sailed.

3 – Scarborough
Style: Waves
Difficulty: High
Bottom: Sand
Address: Google maps
Description: This place will mislead you because the upwind launch is from a marvelous sandy beach. With some wind you will pass the break with little effort. But the sweet thing ends here, Scarborough has a very fast and strong wave, and with a couple of bottom turns you will be entering in a dangerous rocky area. If you don’t pay attention is possible that your gear and yourself end up over there. A place for experts.

4 – Platboom Bay
Style: Waves
Difficulty: High
Bottom: Sand
Address: Google maps
Description: Also known as Cape Point and located inside the National Park (paying a fee is necessary to access). Is a breathtaking place. When no spot is working, it’s likely this one does. There you’ll find big waves, quick and very strong. Wind has something to say too. This spot is known for great surfing and jumping sessions.

Secret spots

Like everywhere the locals have their secrets. We have infiltrated their lines and managed to discover some secrets for our readers. Luckily, capetonian windsurfers are very good hosts. If we honor their way to do things and take care of their spots, we won’t have problem sailing there with them.

Brandvlei Dam - Secret spots - TheWindsurfingBlog

1 – Kraalbaai
Style: Slalom, Freeride
Difficulty:
 Low-Medium
Bottom:
Sand
Address:
Google maps
Description: Inside the West Coast National Park and in front of  Shark Bay in Langebaan, we find this beautiful beach. Sandy bottom and flat cristal water, perfect to sail several hundred meters full speed. Wind accelerates in this area and the speed conditions are really good. It’s necessary to pay attention to the tides because you can switch very quickly from cover deep to touching the bottom with the fin.  Wind is off shore so take it into account too. For those who dare, is possible to downwind to Shark Bay or Pearly’s, but someone will have to pick you up at destination.

2 – Brandvlei Dam
Style: Slalom, Freeride, Freestyle
Difficulty:
 Low
Bottom:
Sand
Address:
Google maps
Description: Brandvlei Dam is 1 and a half hour drive from Cape Town through N1 direction Paarl. The access is through the Worcester Yatch Club and generally entrance fee is needed. What’s special about this place? Well, basically that when you have 10 or 15 knots blowing in Cape Town you’ll have more than 25kn at the dam!! Here there is a great strip to test your Vmax. Warning, the locals are very fast!!!

Well enough, now you have a good picture about where to windsurf in Cape Town. As you may see, this is a waves place, but if you are a slalom, freeride or freestyle kind of windsurfer, you’ll find very good options too. Let’s find out other stuff about this place!!.

Wind

Characteristics

Rosa de los Vientos - Cape Town - TheWindsurfingBlogWind in Cape Town is mainly SSE and in second place NW. The first one blows strongly during the wind season running from October until March and works in all the spot we’ve mentioned.
NW wind is not so common and when it blows, normally works for the Cape spots allowing good down the line surf sessions. It doesn’t work so much for the Blouberg spots.

As we said, when SW blows (as you can see in the image it’s not a very strong wind) at the city, we should look at Brandvlei.

In every spot the usual thing is jumping port tack and surfing starboard tack with SE. Water average temperature rarely (we can say never) is over 16 or 17 celsius, therefore a good 3/2 or 4/3 wetsuit is mandatory.

Season

Wind season in Cape Town goes from October to March. As we can see in the following statics, the windiest month is November, followed by December and January. May, June and July are the months with less windy days in the year, also winter in Cape Town isn’t really cozy.

Wind Statics - Cape Town - TheWindsurfingBlog www.windfinder.com

Table ClothGenerally windsurf sessions in Cape Town are during the afternoon. A normal day in Big Bay is to Surf or SUP during the morning, to Kite early in the afternoon and after 4 or 5pm it becomes from good to radical. A good tip to “determine” if it’s windy is to look at the Table Mountain, if the famous “table cloth” is there, at least Sunset Beach is working.

Just to put a negative point to the wind over there, it’s very gusty. Strong wind and swell days can become a survival experience for the intermediate windsurfer. The good thing is that the learning curve will speed up and your level will increase for sure.

At Cape Point you’ll find more windy days and stronger wind.

Schools and equipment rental

In this subject Cape Town has room to improve. Is true that you can find some places to rent your equipment but there isn’t a great offer. So, in principle, I suggest you to travel with your own gear if you can. Later we will review the flight options, but you can look at our page Worldwide Spots to check out the “windsurf friendly” airlines.

If I have to prepare a boardbag to travel to Cape Town, limiting the content to 1 board, 3 sails, 1 or 2 masts and 1 boom, my choosing would be:

  • Pure wave or Freewave board, right volume for my level but with some margin to go through the series with light wind.
  • Wave sail 4,7 – This is the standard size for Cape Town.
  • Wave sails  4,2 y 5,3 – This sizes will let you sail almost every day.
  • Right mast and boom
  • Extra – If I can add an extra sail it would be a 3,7

Obviously if you can travel with more than one boardbag and bring more equipment, it’s better. However for just one boardbag I think this is the right quiver.

About the schools and courses, there isn’t a great offer either. Cape Town is not the best place to take your first windsurf courses, however there are some places like this ones:

West Coast Surf n’ Sport
Services: School and windsurf rental.
Gear: Simmer, Starboard, JP
Address: Shop 6 Marine Centre , 2 Viola rd , Blouberg
Phone: +27 21 556 7679
Web: West Coast
Comments: No one can say that has been in Cape Town without knowing Waggy. A truly passionate about windsurf who will help you in everything you may need. Mandatory stop.

Cape Sports Center
Services: School and windsurf rental, Kite, SUP, Kayak.
Gear: Several
Address: 98 Main Road, Langebaan, 7357
Phone: +27 22 772 1114
Web: Cape Sports Center
Comments: Located in Langebaan, one of the few places where you can take initiation courses.

Cabrinha
Services: Windsurf rental, Kite, SUP, Surf.
Gear: Simmer
Address: Shop 53a, Eden On The Bay Shopping Center, Big Bay
Phone: +27 21 554 1729
Web: Cabrinha Big Bay
Comment: You can rent for several days and take the equipment with you. It’s likely you’ll have to leave your passport as guaranty.

Cape Doctor
Services: Board reparation..
Gear: Several
Address: Shop 3, Sea Breeze Centre, Marine Circle, Table View
Phone: +27 21 557 0740
Web: Cape Doctor
Comment: Not a place to rent but trust me that it’s a very useful contact to have in Cape Town. Any reparation you may need to your board they will do it.

Jumping in Big Bay - TheWindsurfingBlogAs a final comment, a very good option when you come to Cape Town for windsurfing is to buy the equipment at arrival and bring it back with you. Generally, depending on the exchange rate at the moment, second hand prices are good and the market works.
You can take a look in Gumtree or similar web pages and you’ll see. An additional advantage is you can ask for the VAT refund (if you purchase in a store) when leaving. The process could be complex but is a point to take into account.

Transport

Flights

South Africa has two main airports, one in Johannesburg and the other in Cape Town. If you’re traveling with your gear I strongly recommend to flight directly to Cape Town. Otherwise, you’ll have to pick up your luggage in Joburg and re check in it after customs for a local flight (possible extra charge). This is not always possible, i.e. if you’re traveling from South America you’ll have to go through Joburg.

You can check the flights with our search engine. Simply fill the dates and press “Go sailing!!” to access to the best deals.
Obviously the dates you choose will directly impact in the prices, high season in Cape Town is mainly from mid December to the end of January.

If I have to pick up a period of time for this journey I think it would be from January until mid February.

Everything you need to organize your journey you can find it in this page and in this post.

Car renting

To rent a car is mandatory. Spots are miles away from each other and you’ll have to carry your gear. If you’re thinking about a different option just forget about it. It’s very important to take into account that in South Africa they drive on the left side and there is zero tolerance with alcohol. I strongly recommend you not being foolish.

Car renting offer is wide, from the global companies to some low cost local ones like this one or this one, good options to consider. Here you have our search engine where you’ll find good deals with the support of Rentalcars.  Up to you!!

I suggest you to bring a portable roof rack (like this one) because renting a car with roof rack is more complicated. If you think about putting the boardbag directly over the car roof, you must be careful and avoid any damage to it or you’ll have to pay.

Accommodation

Accommodation offer in Cape Town is good and wide. In the first place I have to say that if your main goal is windsurfing, you must stay in Bloubergstrand or Big Bay. The reason is simple, there is where the spots are and where the windsurfing atmosphere is. There you’ll likely find guest houses or apartments for rent used to deal with windsurfers (and their luggage). Finally, as you’ll have to have a car, it’s better going to visit the city than coming every day to sail.

Having said that, obviously through Booking or AirBnb is possible to find a good deal if you plan with time. December and January are the most expensive months because the city host lots of internal tourism too, this is the holiday period in South Africa (similar to July and August in the northern hemisphere).

Apart from the traditional search engines (here you have the one from Booking so you can take a look), there is a good market in local web sites like Gumtree.

In South Africa is very common the concept of Guest House, similar stuff to AirBnb but the owner is usually in the house and rent the rooms. You will find a lot in this area, the best way to find good accommodation is being there and talking to people.

My advice, if your trip is for more than one week, is to find some accommodation for the first days through any web like Booking. Once there, you can talk with the locals and look in the area. You will find a good deal for sure.

Even when we’ll talk later about partying, as an early tip I’ve to tell you that this is not the area for that. However, it’s very common that someone organize a party or animated bbq after sessions, and generally there is a good atmosphere. To go partying you have to go to the city and for that the best solution is Uber, works fine, it’s cheap and safe. I have to advice against taking Taxis.

Where to eat

Another good point for this destination is it’s gastronomy, and best of all, with reasonable prices. There are options for every taste, pocket, food choices, etc. To make your search easier I’ll divide the recommendations in Blouberg area and City area. This way you can quickly take a look at the list when you are in each place.

Here you have my Blouberg top 10…

  • Breakfasts at Melissa’s in Blouberg roundabout
  • After session burgers at Jerry’s
  • Good salads and healthy food at Kawai in Big Bay
  • Primmi Piatti’s pizzas. Two places, one in Blouberg and the other in Big Bay
  • Meat at The Angus Grill
  • Lot’s of sushi at  The Orient in Big Bay
  • Pasta, pizza, lasagnas in Col’Cacchio
  • Some good fish in Catch 22
  • More sushi at the Blowfish. Wednesdays and Sundays they have 2 x 1 :-)
  • Finally, another good after windsurf, Doodles

and my city’s top 10…

  • Willoughby & Co without any doubts, the best sushi in Cape Town
  • Many places for breakfast but you must try Giovanni’s and Jason Bakery
  • Meat and more meat at Carne SA. There are two, personally I prefer the original at Keerom st. Please try the “Fiorentina”!!
  • For Mexican food you must try El Burro.
  • Very very good pizzas at Big Route
  • State of the art burgers at Royale Eatery
  • If you want a wide menu, good options and reasonable price you must try Cebruga and Beluga
  • If you want to know a peculiar place with good food please go to Kloof Street House
  • Are you looking for fusion food? Try Fork
  • Last but not least, a place with good atmosphere where you can eat or drink something looking at the ocean, the Grand Africa Cafe & Beach

There you have, more than 20 places to have a good meal, you can’t complain!! Additionally, in Cape Town is very common to find some markets, events, cultural shows, etc. You’ll always find a place to go, eat something, have fun and hangout.

Finally, if you’re there during the first Thursday of the month (any month), book that day in your agenda to dinner at the city. You’ll have a very good surprise if you do it, everybody go out that day and the atmosphere is amazing. But do it early, in South Africa people is dinning before 7pm.

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Other activities

And here is where Cape Town beats almost every other spot in the world. The offer of activities besides windsurf is simply overwhelming. There is a reason why this city appears in every list and rank of best tourist destination, and really deserve it. Let’s check some options.

Beach

Those used to go to the beach to enjoy the water must accept that in Cape Town the concept is slightly different. The water is reaaaaaaaaaaally cold and going for a swim is only for the very brave ones. At the beach you’ll feel the heat of the sun and you’re not allowed to drink a beer :-). However the beaches are spectacular and it worth to spend some no wind days visiting them.

Just to name some of them, I recommend Clifton beaches, fine sand and breathtaking landscape. If you’re in the mood of seeing some rands fly away, you can wait for the sunset having something at Bungalow restaurant in Clifton 4.

After Clifton you’ll find Camps Bay Beach, where mandatory stops are Cafe Caprice and Sunset Sessions. There you will find the high society, the good cars, etc.

And last but not least I encourage you to go to Llandudno, a very beautiful beach where those who also surf can enjoy a good session too.

Llandudno beachhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/flowcomm/

Nature, hiking and wines

Those who enjoy nature, and I think all windsurfers have that in common, will enjoy Cape Town like a kid.

Lion's Head - TheWindsurfingBlogWith no doubt climbing Lion’s Head (2 hours approx.) either at sunrise or at sunset is something you must do and you won’t never forget. The boldest may try to do the Full Moon Lions Hike.
But there is more, you can find several hiking routes in this destination. Probably the second most known is Platteklip Gorge, which is a little bit (a lot) more challenging than Lion’s one.

You must take a lot of care about heat strokes. It’s always advisable to try the routes first thing in the morning.

Another very good and accesible option is the Kasteel Port Track, you’ll have very good views of the 12 apostles and Camps Bay. Finally, it’s always a good choice visiting the Kristenbosh Gardens, usually concerts are organized during the whole summer.

Visiting the Cape of Good Hope is mandatory, either you dare to sail there or just to know the place. The full trip goes from Camps Bay, then Hout Bay and from there take Chapman’s Peak Drive, probably the most beautiful panoramic road in the world. The visit to the cape should include a quick stop at Boulders Beach, to see the penguins and to have lunch at Simon’s Town (I like a lot the Lighthouse Café). In your journey back to Cape Town, don’t forget to pass by the Surfer’s corner at Muizemberg, to see the famous “color houses” you’ll find in lots of souvenirs.

Seguridad en Windsurf - TheWindsurfingBlog

Finally, for those who like the wine tasting, mandatory stop over are the towns of Stellenbosh and Franschhoek. Both are very picturesque, you will enjoy the visit to the wineries, taste some good wine and mainly a breathtaking scenery.

Nightlife

This is a very subjective area, for the untrained eye Cape Town nightlife seems to have little to offer. Some early closing bar, some places where the best you can do is to stay away from there, and some places “for tourists” in Long street. My personal opinion is that this is not the case, the city has a very good underground atmosphere, but you have to dig a little bit to find it.

First ThursdayAs I said before, the first Thursday of every month the whole city goes to party. All the art galleries open their doors and the bars get crowded. It’s a must.
You also have Tuesday nights at Azoka, a very small bar with a great atmosphere on that particular day of the week.

Those who enjoy electronic music, will have a crush with this city. Mainly for the quality of the music and DJ’s you’ll find here. There are places like TAU, small and cozy place, where DJ’s are top. The classic journey for electronic music lovers is probably Reset and then Modular. In the last one you’ll have quite an experience at the door. The surroundings are not the best but the atmosphere is really authentic.

Another “must” is to spend a Sunday afternoon-night at Shimmy’s Beach. If you can do it when Goldfish (South African DJ duet) is playing, you will have a very special night out. Buying tickets in advance is necessary.

I encourage you to find and go to the small festivals that are being held during the whole summer, like the Wolfkloop Weekender, Love & Light or Bazique. Of course there are bigger and crowder ones like the Cape Town Electronic Music Festival o el Afrika Burn (African version of the famous Burningman).

Wolkloof Weekender - TheWindsurfingBlog https://www.wolfkopweekender.co.za/

Well, I think this is all, or almost all, surely I left a lot of things behind. I hope you find this post useful and easy to read, I’m so sorry for the length but Cape Town worth it. If you have any question or comment please leave it down here so everyone can read it. If you like this kind of posts please subscribe to the blog, therefore you’ll be up to date with the new ones we publish. A very big hug, good winds and see you soon!!!

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