A kayak is a small and rather narrow boat propelled across water by people using a double bladed paddle. The traditional kayak comes with a covered deck and one or more cockpits that seat one passenger each. These cockpits are frequently covered by a spraydeck, or ‘skirt’, that keeps water from splashing or spraying into the craft. This makes it easy for experienced kayakers to ‘roll’ the kayak, meaning to capsize and re-correct it without any water leakage and without dislodging its passenger.
Certain modern boats might be slightly different from the traditional design of the craft, but still maintain the title of ‘kayak’. Some kayaks are also being sailed and propelled by small, electric motors, and even by outboard gas engines if possible.
Kayaks were initially designed by the Eskimos who used the boats for hunting purposes in inland lakes, rivers and coastal seas of the Arctic, North Atlantic, Bering and North Pacific Oceans. These first kayaks were comprised of stitched seal or other mammal skins pulled over a wood or whalebone-skeleton frame. Kayaks themselves are thought to date approximately 4,000 years back, with the oldest existing ones being displayed in the North America department of the State Museum of Ethnology in Munich.
Sea kayaking in South Africa provides a wonderful chance to discover the dazzling coast and encounter the incredible sea life from the vantage point of a small but stable boat. Inspect the intriguing creatures that dwell in the waters, such as seals, whales, dolphins, penguins and various types of fish species. Through sea kayaking, you will gain a completely new and different perspective of the land, and a deeper understanding and appreciation of the sea.
There are several areas dotted all over South Africa in which you can participate in sea kayaking. Coastal Kayak is located in Cape Town and offers guided sea tours and an array of excellent packages that take place along the Southern and Eastern shores of the country. The combination of beach and lush vegetation offers splendid sea kayaking opportunities in the Cape West Coast and in Durban. In the Cape West Coast you can explore the rock gardens of beautiful Paternoster, the vast open beaches near the berg River mouth, Langebaan and Saldhana Bay. You will also have a chance to spot some of the exquisite birdlife that the scenery has to offer.
Sea kayaking day tours are offered at uShaka Marine World in Durban, whilst Infinity Marine’s Sea Kayaking offers various packages as well as custom sea-kayaking trips from the spectacular Wild Coast all the way through to exotic Zanzibar. Downhill Adventures also offers a wide array of South African sea kayaking packages that are suitable to participants of any level of experience. Eastern Shores Kayak Safaris conducts whimsical tours that provide you with a closer look at the lakeside aquatic life of the lush St Lucia Wetland Park.
Cape Town, known as the ‘mother city’, boasts some of the most remarkable shorelines that are perfect for sea kayaking trips. The Indian Ocean and enormous Atlantic join off the coast of the country, providing you with the unique chance to travel via kayak from one ocean into another. The waters of this city are home to an abundance of marine life, including majestic creatures such as Southern Right Humpback whales, Cape fur seals and African penguins.
Image courtesy of Interpretation of Dreams