A new Cape Town bus service has found a way to beat the city’s infamous traffic jams – by taking to the water.

Keith Lindsay, an advertising stalwart-turned amphibious tourism entrepreneur, already has SAMSA certification and road traffic approval for his Seahorse amphibious 36-seater bus. If all goes according to plan it should be in business by the end of July.

Lindsay, who recently shared pictures of the bus on a boating whatsapp group, says his business model is based on similar amphibious ventures around the world. The bus tour will spend some time on land, and most of the time on the water, entering the V&AW via the marina. He says the thread linking all successful amphibious tours is the combination of interesting landside and waterside attractions, with Cape Town being a perfect fit. “They are colloquially known as duck tours, and in some places as splash tours. It’s a tourist bus which spends a portion of the tour on road and then transitions into going onto the water. Like a duck it goes on land and water, and all stems from the General Motors duck model,”  Lindsay said.

The six-wheel-drive General Motors model was a modification of the 212-ton trucks used by the U.S. military during World War II and the Korean War.  However the Seahorse design is based on a new approach with a view to creating more stability in the water by moving away from a ‘road vehicle’ concept. “Using road vehicles for marine operations often involved significant compromises,” Seahorse says on their website. “The placement of engines, cooling systems, and other key components often not ideal for stability and maintenance, created challenges. Additionally, the use of steel or other metals in hull construction posed a corrosion risk in salt or brackish waters, especially with multiple hull openings prone to water ingress.”

By contrast the Seahorse MKIII model introduced in 2022 was a bespoke design developed in conjunction with UK government bodies, Seahorse says.

Lindsay’s amphibious duck tour will feature a QUACKtain and a conDUCKtor, suitably attired and well versed in local history.

Expect a few raised eyebrows when V&A shoppers get their first view of a bus cruising past the Clock Tower swing bridge.

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