Kayaking on the Keurbooms lagoon – Garden Route, South Africa
If you love water sports and outdoor adventure in an awesome natural setting, then you will love today’s recommendation for a quality travel destination. I was able to take some friends out for a kayak trip to remember recently and I must say that this is what life is all about. Or as they say in the ad – “This is living”.
On the south coast of Africa, you have perhaps the best tourist travel spot in the entire southern African coastline. It is a region called the Garden Route, and the reason is that it happens to be the most lush region in the area, with ancient forests that grow right up to the coast in places, thanks to a temperate and moist climate.
And in this region of the Garden Route, you have what I conclude is the best of all tourist hotspots, called Plettenberg Bay. It is here that you can explore forest, as well as seaside and some truly awesome water sports activities. My favorite is kayaking because it really gives me the feeling of freedom and independence. In today’s photos you can see that – compared to most of my posts about my outdoor adventures in nature – there are some friends with me and I’m not completely alone in some totally remote place.
I managed to procure a really solid kayak, one of those hard plastic hollow ones that float really well. It was strong and big enough to carry three adult males and one small boy. My friend brought his Italian friend who was visiting the region, as well as his small son. We took the kayak down to the Keurbooms lagoon, which is fed by the river of the same name. And we launched our vessel near high tide because the lagoon also has a mouth where the water of the river flows out to sea, into the Indian ocean right nearby.
The lagoon was still and calm, and it was easy to all climb on and with only one person paddling, we made easy work of cruising all around the lagoon, which is right next to the sandy beach, with only a long thin stretch of sand dune between the lagoon and the actual sea just over the dune, on the other side. The mouth is where the lagoon flows out to sea.
Of course at high tide the sea actually flows into the lagoon and pushes up stream for a few hours. That makes it easy to paddle up to the far end of the lagoon and actually right under the bridge and up onto the river itself. The incoming tide just pushed our kayak along and we only had to do a slight bit of actual paddling. It was a very relaxing effortless little adventure outing in other words.
I sat right at the back while my friend paddled. That allowed me to take some photos. I had my mobile phone camera tucked into a see-through plastic little sheath that I picked up in Thailand when I was there about five years ago. The phone fits in perfectly and you can zip it up like a zip lock bag, which then allowed me to snap some photos through the plastic while ensuring that the phone would be waterproof at all times, even if I dropped it into the water. My phone had its wetsuit on and I felt confident about taking it with me on the water outing.
The see through plastic did, however, slightly blur the photos by covering the lens, so you can see today that the pictures are not as crisp and clear as usual. Nevertheless, I sacrificed a little clarity in exchange for security, which was worth it, since I don’t yet have a GoPro waterproof camera. I still managed to get some quick photo snaps, although what you see is mostly just the vast lagoon water feature, with the thin strip of dune in the distance.
The dune is covered with local indigenous Fynbos bush vegetation and just behind the dune is a thin strip of pure white soft sandy beach and then of course the Indian ocean. So we were surrounded by water on the south side. Since the lagoon mouth connects it to the sea directly, sometimes seals swim in from the sea and we were able to spot one of them basking in the water nearby, I took a few photos though all you can see is the seal flipper jutting out above the water. Surface. The seal hung around for quite a while, just wallowing, in the literal sense, basking in the water, while cleaning its body very contentedly.
My friend’s visiting Italian compatriot really enjoyed the outing as did the little son. In fact we all had a whale of a time, as the weather was clam and clear and sunny so just perfect for our water sports activity. You really feel like a nation unto yourself when you’re on a boat of any sort, surrounded by sea or lagoon with the land in the distance. I would recommend this for anyone, as it’s really safe on the calm lagoon waters.
Just be sure of tidal situation, whether high or low, incoming or outgoing, and make sure there is no wind forecast, as that can make your paddling a real effort. This is definitely a guaranteed fun holiday experience and I would do it often if I had my own kayak. It is possible to rent a canoe for the day, if you like, for a nominal fee by international standards, from the nearby boat club which is further up river. I was lucky to be able to borrow this particular kayak for today’s outing, which was well worth it.
So be sure to put the Garden Route on your travel itinerary and make your way down to the southernmost shoreline of Africa and to the world class tourist holiday town of Plettenberg Bay. You will love the place. The lagoon and river are very attractive places to spend the whole day kayaking if you like. The beach is world class with blue flag status, meaning there are life guards on duty and you will find almost zero litter about. On top of that you can see some of the wildlife or marine life like seals, dolphins and even whales in season (August to November). And any time of the year is fine, thanks to the temperate climate.
(photos my own)
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That's a beautiful adventure. I tried kayaking once and I'm the one paddling. It's a little difficult. But enjoyable at the same time.
It depends on what type of boat or kayak you have. The one I use is quite easy.
I used to have the flat kayak before, and I tried the kayak that is good for one. Maybe I can eventually know the basic ways of paddling after some more practice. 😊
Love how clear the water is there! Looks like a fun day 😁
Yes loads of fun, and the climate allows it all year long.
Lucky you! 😁💙
Not jealous at all!
Tsitikama is breathtaking! Love it up there.
That water looks so good right now
Hey there Nicky, this is my favorite pastime. Kayaking or canoeing on the lagoon and then up the river is just so inspiring and invigorating.
I can totally understand why. I used to paddle ski around the Marina near Muizenberg.
It's the water, I think? Super peaceful... and cleansing for the soul.
Actually, you are in an environment where I want to be right now.
Aha, the place is here for you when you are ready. Otherwise there may be a similar place near you.
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Very interesting experience. Love the Garden route in SA, but never been to the lagoon, which looks very exciting place for spending time. Thanks for sharing. 😊
Hey there I'm so glad you have been able to visit and enjoy this awesome region.
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Clear water , clear sky , great weather , good company ; you had it all! Thanks for sharing this little adventure of yours :)