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Old 17-09-2005, 03:13   #1
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S. Atlantic & Indian Ocean Guides

“Welcome to Durban - A Sailor’s Guide” ~ by Tony Herrick
A free E-Book, packed with information and photos to assist cruising yachts to make landfall in South Africa.
Lists of marine related businesses, contact details, marinas, customs and immigration requirements, harbour entry details, radio calling frequencies, lights, sailing directions, weather, etc.
Over 400 cruising yachts took this route (around the Cape of Good Hope) in preference to the Red Sea over the last season.



Some East African port details supplied by the "Cruiser Log" webmaster based on his own observations whilst sailing and cruising the South and East Africa area on sv SEEROSE. There are many safe ports along this seaboard but below are a few details of some from personal experience. This information should be used as a guide only and please confirm any updates here.

Please remember that the people of Africa are wonderful, friendly people but are very poor and will perceive a cruising yacht as huge wealth. Violent attacks on the East African coast are almost unheard of but theft from unattended yachts can be a problem with outboard motors, food supplies and money being the prime targets. Just be sensible and enjoy cruising this wonderful coastline and you will soon find that it is no less secure than anywhere else in the world.


It is NOT recommended that a yacht enter the Mombassa port unless conditions are poor. There are a couple of creeks just North of Mombassa which are much more user friendly for cruising yachts. However, should it be necessary to enter the port of Mombassa there is a yacht club with difficult anchorage (steep drop-off) as shown on the relevant chart. DO NOT swim here as the chances of being taken by a shark are extremely good. Security here could also be a problem.

Kilifi Creek, Kenya (approx 40 miles North of Mombassa)
03̊38'S 39̊52'E Chart BA 238
This is a well protected creek which is entered through a break in the outer reef (see relevant chart). You will pass under a bridge (70'/21m) and also be careful of the power line spanning the creek soon after the bridge. There is a small repair shop and close access to the main Mombassa road where many local taxi's and buses are available. There is a customs office near the bridge and then proceed immediately by road to Mombassa to complete immigration formalities.

Mtwapa Creek, Kenya (approx 20 miles North of Mombassa)
03̊58'S 39̊46'E Chart BA 3361
This is a well protected and safe anchorage with good amenities for cruisers. A GOOD place to leave your boat for inland travel or a flight 'home'. Fuel and water is available on a dock. The shore-based resort is owned by a German ex-pat and security is good. Good Western supermarket nearby. Access to the main Mombassa road is easy. Entrance is through a dog's-leg channel through the outer reef - do not attempt entry in bad conditions (large swell or high winds) and in daylight only. The author found the relevant chart and beacons to be accurate. You should enter the channel on an almost high incoming tide as the current in the channel is strong. Once into the creek anchor off the restaurant on the bank to starboard - beware the overhanging power-line should you proceed beyond this point. Proceed directly to Mombassa by road for immigration. A customs official will call on you at Mtwapa Creek for the cost of the taxi fare.
UPDATE May'04: The resort and facilities is now leased and managed personally by an ex world cruising couple. Cruisers are VERY welcome. VHF channel 10 (call Kenya Marineland). Email:


05º 04' S, 39º 06' E. Admiralty chart 866, VHF channel 16/12
As you sail in behind the bluff anchor off the most wonderfully friendly little yacht club on the port side of the channel just past the final dog's-leg into the port. DON'T miss this port of call. Reasonable access from here to the Tanzania safari parks. Customs and immigration facilities available.

Dar es Salaam
06º 49' S, 39º 19' E. Admiralty charts: port - 693, approach - 694, VHF channel 16/12
It is compulsory for yachts to check into the harbor (customs & immigration facilities) to obtain written permission to move round to the Dar es Salaam Yacht Club . The yacht club is in Masasani Bay just North of the port entrance and it's facilities are unequalled North of Richards Bay, South Africa. The anchorage there, I'm sure, would be a little uncomfortable during the NE monsoon but WELL protected from the Southwesterly. A few cruisers left their yachts here for a flight home. When you depart Dar es Salaam it is not necessary to sail back into the port - a taxi ride into Dar to complete formalities at customs and immigration is all that is required.
UPDATE: Jan'02: A cruiser reported that he was given permission by radio from port control that he could proceed directly to the Dar Yacht Club (Masasani Bay) and to proceed by taxi the following morning to Customs & Immigration. An American visa for 3 months is USD$50.00

06º 10' S, 39º 11' E, Admiralty chart 3211, VHF channel 16/12
A 'strange quirk' about Zanzibar is that although it is part of Tanzania you are required to "check out" from the mainland when you sail to Zanzibar and go through the formalities again on arrival in Zanzibar. There are many anchorages around this 'mystical' island but it is better on arrival to anchor directly off "Stone Town", close to the port, to facilitate the customs and immigration formalities.


14º 47' S, 40º 68' E
Nacala is possibly the finest natural deepwater port in Africa although facilities are minimal. Extremely well protected inside the port. Anchor off a small beach 200m before the wharf. Fuel and water is available as well as customs and immigration facilities. Basic provisions in the small town but not advisable to leave your boat unattended as youngsters paddle out in dugouts selling fruit, etc.

Mozambique Island
15º 01' S, 40º 44' E Admiralty chart 653
A "World Heritage" site. Plan to arrive in good daylight as the channel marker buoys are not always in place so it is advisable to also visually follow the channel as marked on the chart. Good holding in sand and good protection will be found behind (northwest) the island off a small beach near the pier. There are interesting ruins of an old fort and the old Portuguese governor's house has been turned into a very interesting museum. Basic supplies are available on the island.

The Bazaruto Archipelago is another safe hide-away on the Mozambique coast. Follow the channel as per the chart and anchorage on sand is on the South of Santa Carolina Island (in the middle of the bay). In a South-westerly move further into the bay to the lee of Benguera Island - be careful to follow the channels (the author had a crew member up on the spreader to see the channel). It is always safer to move on a 3/4 incoming tide in this bay. There are a number of small holiday resorts in the area. Wonderful diving and fishing. Supplies are available in the village of Vilancoulos in the S/W corner of the bay.

23º 52' S, 35º 23' E. BA 2931, 647
The bar is dangerous in rough seas! You should only enter on a roughly 3/4 incoming tide as currents can be very strong. The buoys are not always in place but the author approached from east to the position where the fairway buoy should be and then the following waypoints can be used as a rough guide:
- Fairway buoy - Approach from the east to where it should be per the chart.
- No.1 Black buoy - 23º39'.29 S, 35º29'.65 E
- No.2 Red buoy - 23º39'.72 S, 35º28'.70 E
- No.4 Red buoy - 23º40'.42 S, 35º27'.81 E
Once across the bar the channel is very visible - follow the chart, watching your passage in the channel. Use binoculars as the buoys (if in place) are far apart. The author, on numerous occasions, anchored with good holding in sand near the old wreck behind Linga Linga Point. Ensure your anchor is well set as a strong tidal current runs in the lagoon. There is a holiday lodge ashore and supplies are available from the town of Maxixe nearby. This is a good place to hide from any oncoming weather fronts.

Ponta da Barra
This is the southern headland of Inhambane bay. The author 'rode out' a SW gale here in absolute calm for three days. Good holding in sand off the small palm-fringed beach in the southern headland corner near the point. Move immediately at the first sign of the wind turning to NE.

and so on..........(go to 'Sail Africa' - link at bottom of page below)

Goto "SAIL AFRICA" webpage:
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 17-09-2005, 04:34   #2
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S.A. 'Approaches' Guide

Excellent on-line guides to
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Old 03-10-2005, 07:11   #3
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As an extension on from S.Africa - if anyone ever plans sailing onward over the Southern Indian Ocean to Freo in Western Australia - please do not hesitate to pose any questions you may have on that coast.
The southern WA coast is not very well documented - but as I lived there for 20 years and was involved in various of the local clubs, I'd be happy to help out if I can.
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