For one, there are vicious seas off the southeast coast. I don't remember the name of the south setting current
but the winds are often in opposition and the seas stand up very tall. Large ships can be swamped in it. There is a famous Australian vessel that was lost
there. Simply overwelhemed by waves over 100 feet. Not saying it can't be done of course but reputations.... Also, the med is a destination
for most circumnavigators, especially (I hear) Turkey
, interesting, relitively freindly..etc. Also they call the coast of Namibia the "skeleton Coast" for a reason... barren dangerous shoals.... The sailors I know that have done the southern route
(I am NOT speaking of personal experience here) stand well off from land most of the time and expect hard going.
To clarify a point above... I think it must be the choice of the skipper
on weapons aboard. I believe in self reliance. I believe a skipper going into a dangerous situation (and they are not always avoidable in a long cruise)should be allowed the assets he desires. Conversely, I think it's very wrong for someone not to prepare and thus be a burden on another for their protection. The great virtue/attraction for me in cruising is independence.... I LIKE IT!
I just went and googled east africa ocean current
and here is what I got amd why sailors go through the suez..
In order to sail the South Atlantic and round the tip of Africa, Portuguese sailors had to confront two powerful ocean flows: the Agulhas
The warm Agulhas
runs south and west from the Indian Ocean
pushing against the near-freezing waters of Antarctica, before meeting the cold Benguela current off the Cape of Good Hope.
The second swiftest current in all the world's oceans, the Agulhas
is deadlier than the swiftest current (the Gulf Stream) for two reasons. First one of its branches surges through a narrow passageway between Madagascar
and Mozambique on the east coast
of South Africa
(downward arrow on map). Furthermore its waters rush from north to south--the opposite direction from which Portuguese ships needed to travel in order to round the tip of Africa.
In nearly a thousand years of crossing the Indian Ocean
, neither the Arabs nor Persians nor Arabs nor the fifteenth-century Chinese Star Fleet had ever navigated the Mozambique channel, even sailing with the the Agulhas Current.
To sail against the Agulhas Current is even tricker than sailing with it. The only Only a very narrow band of water northward through the current (up the east coast of Africa to reach the Indian Ocean) boats had to tack back and forth in a very narrow band of water--in which submerged sharp rocks abound--and modern shipping trawlers with sophisticated navigational instruments still wreck themselves today.The picture on the right >> shows the rocks at the southern tip of Africa today with the Agulhas current just beyond.
Winds Gale force winds (up to 180 kilometers per hour) are common in the Spring (September through November). Even more frightening are the deadly changes that occur when the winds shift direction. When the winds begin to blow from the West and Southwest (the opposite direction from the current), monster waves (up to five stories high) are known to occur. There is no way to survive such rogue wages, for even the largest vessels plummet to the ocean floor without a trace.