Foreign yachts stacking up for SA as cruise season begins in style


What a relief to see foreign sailors pouring back into SA for some local hospitality after a few years of Covid-induced isolation.

OSASA has registered 148 visiting yachts so far, with the list likely to grow in the coming weeks. The new arrivals include the Oyster fleet currently arriving in Durban on its way around the world.

OSASA’S Jenny Crickmore-Thompson said marinas and yacht clubs right along the coast are gearing up to welcome the visitors with some trademark local gees. The influx translates to 488 foreigners coming in on 90-day visas. “Lots of tourist spend, not to mention maintenance, fuel and provisions,” Crickmore-Thompson said, adding that

the new online registration process and website have proved their worth with an overwhelmingly positive response. She said South Africa is now one of the simplest and easiest entries worldwide, a huge improvement compared with a few years back.

Zululand Yacht Club, usually the first port of call for visiting yachts of which 90% coming in from the Indian Ocean, had been impressive in finding berths,” Crickmore-Thompson said. “They have been stacking them like logs in a woodpile when necessary! But still had time to put on great musical evenings with local singers, special events like the Indian Cultural evening, braais, and regular Zulu dancers, twice-weekly braais, and outings to umFolozi Game Reserve and St Lucia to see wildlife.”

“Of course as always there were hiccups — boats needing a tow in from the local NSRI and a fair number of yachts needing maintenance,” she said, adding that these requests had been speedily addressed by either the ZYC yard or local service providers.

Durban had also seen a huge uptick in activity thanks largely to the 19 incoming yachts taking part in the World Oyster Rally. The City had worked hard at overturning some recent negative publicity around its ecoli outbreaks, Crickmore-Thompson said.

“Under the leadership of Durban Marina, Point and Royal Natal Yacht Clubs, a dedicated team managed to bring Durban Tourism into the picture as well as the government Durban Maritime Cluster, and together these guys are making huge inroads into returning Durban to world attention – for the best reasons, not the worst!”

Other marinas further south along the coast were also due to benefit from the passing fleet, among them Buffalo River in  East London with its ‘small club’ ambience.

“Next down is Knysna, and the Commodore is on hand to stand on The Heads to guide yachts in or alternatively and if necessary go out in his rib to pilot them through,” said Crickmore-Thompson. “No-one has arrived in Simon’s Town, Hout Bay or Cape Town yet, but I am aware that the marinas are all geared up for an influx. There will not be enough space for everyone to go into the Port of Cape Town, so the other two harbours will be in demand over the Christmas period,” she said.

Sign In


Reset Password

Please enter your username or email address, you will receive a link to create a new password via email.