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Fish, Dive and Surf

Southern Sky Adventures: Fish, Dive and Surf

Given southern and East Africa and the islands’ extensive coastlines and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, fishing, diving and surfing are highly sought after pursuits off the shores of the continent.

Game fish in Africa are as prolific and abundant as the land based wildlife, perhaps just less known. There is a reason Hemingway came here so often to fish these waters. Blue, black and striped marlin occur year-round off Kenya‘s 300 mile coastline, though marlin fishing peaks from January to mid-March. December is the top sailfish month, while large yellow fin tuna in the 40 lb. class are found from late August to early November. Equal takes can be enjoyed off the coast of Tanzania and the islands.

Kenya and Tanzania share Lake Victoria (second in size only to Lake Superior). In this lake lives the Nile perch, a fish that looks like an oversized largemouth bass — but grows to well over 220 lbs.!

The main black marlin season runs from early October through to the end of January off the coasts of Mozambique and the southeastern border with South Africa. The average size caught is around 700 lbs. Numerous marlin over 1000 lbs. have been caught to date, including the 1298-lbs all-Africa record marlin, caught in November 1998 off the north point of the Bazaruto Archipelago. Blue and striped marlin are found between September and January. The main sailfish season starts at the beginning of June till the end of September, although it is not uncommon for these aerobatic gladiators to appear around the middle of April. The average weight is 90 lbs and for the light tackle enthusiast this fish provides an awesome thrill. It is quite normal for a boat to tag and release up to four fish per day.

Freshwater fishing in southern Africa is tied primarily to brown and rainbow trout in the many higher altitude streams and rivers in South Africa as well as the tiger fish found inland in the warmer water lakes and rivers of South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The South African trout season starts in September and finishes at the end of May. Tiger fishing draws many an angler to the Zambezi River and Lake Kariba in order to get a chance to land the 10 to 15 lb. species that is so well known for its long, razor sharp teeth. Tiger fishing is generally available from mid-April to mid-November with September and October being the best months.

Scuba Diving adds that little bit of extra excitement to any holiday. There is nothing like the thrill of strapping on that tank, and hitting the water, and the silence of your breathing being the only sound in your ears.

Mozambique offers one of the cheapest and most brilliant scuba diving holidays in the world. The waters are warm and the amount of fish and coral is breathtaking. Reefs stretch for miles and there will be few opportunities to find dive sites that compete elsewhere in the world. Tanzania is synonymous with wildebeest migration, savanna plains, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar but very few realize that there is more to Tanzania, much more – especially if you are a scuba diver.

South Africa offers the choice of diving at Aliwal Shoal (Jacques Cousteau rated Aliwal Shoal as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world) and Protea Banks, where ragged tooth sharks abound, or reef dive at Sodwana Bay where 83% of all the world’s marine fish families are represented. Additional dice sites are found in and around Cape Town at shipwreck sites. Mozambique offers diving along much of its enormous coastline including Inhaca Island, Inhambane and Tofu Beach, the Bazaruto Archipelago and the Quirimbas Islands. Kenya offers superb diving at its coastal resorts, while Zanzibar offers a wonderful diving holiday in warm turquoise waters.  Finally for the more adventurous, why not consider diving at Ile Sainte Marie in remote Madagascar?

Surfing is good enough in South Africa for the Billabong Pro Tour to have a seasonal stop at Jeffrey’s Bay. Even though it’s been almost 40 years since the release of the classic surf documentary The Endless Summer, with its discovery of the flawless, peeling rights of Cape St. Francis on the Eastern Cape, South Africa is still synonymous with exotic surf adventure – and perfect waves.

With over 2,700 miles of Indian and Atlantic Ocean coastline, South Africa’s surf potential is staggering. From the tropical beach breaks and headland points of the Natal Coast in the north, to the remote right point breaks of the aptly-named Wild Coast along the central Transkei, from the world-famous barrels of Jeffreys Bay and Cape St. Francis on the Eastern Cape to the lonely curls along the Garden Route to the south, from the booming cold-water big wave reefs of Cape Town to the endless left walls of Elands Baai-a South African surfari offers up a greater variety of waves than some entire continents.

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