West Africa, Antarctica and South Atlantic

Innumerable nature documentaries made Antarctica widely known as a region of outstanding natural beauty. Therefore, the seventh continent attracts an increasing number of large cruisers and smaller private yachts. The latter ones are normally constrained to the short summer season, whereas large ice-breakers are sometimes used for organized group cruises. All cruisers need to apply for a entry permission before their departure due to environmental considerations.

The Portuguese were the first sailors to explore the coast of AfricaSome of the legendarily remote islands in the South Atlantic serve sailors as stop-over destinations. This applies to the Falkland Islands as well as to Tristan da Cunha, which is said to have the most isolated settlement in the World. A destination of its own rights is South Africa and the bordering country Namibia.

Both countries provide cruisers with fairly good facilities in terms of ports, repairs and supply. English is commonly spoken in ports at least by officials and so is in the case of Namibia German.

The top-destination is South Africa

The port facilities and good supplies make South Africa a common stop-over destination for European and North American sailors on the way to the Indian Ocean. Because of the relative safety of the country, many Westerners make it the first proper stop after their departure.

A ship on a misty morning in South AfricaSouth Africa and Namibia are among the very few African nations that will be suitable destinations for sailors with special needs. Most West African nations are not recommendable for private sailors. Corruption and piracy are widespread, and Westerners are the favorite victims for criminals and officials alike. Port facilities are less than basic and there is a high risk of catching nasty diseases. However, if you are into parasites and them being into you it might be worth stopping by.

In the case you decide to sail on West Africa, detailed planning is essential. Spend a fair bit of time stocking up a medical kit, read current reports on safety issues and make sure your boat is in good shape. It is not likely to find decent repair facilities anywhere between Senegal and Gambia on the one side and Namibia and South Africa on the other.

Destination Guide by Country

Angola - Antarctica - Cameroon - Congo - Falkland Islands - Gambia - Ivory Coast / Cote d'Ivoire - Mauritania - Namibia - Nigeria - St. Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha - Senegal - South Africa

Further Reading

Back to "vacations"

Wikipedia on the Atlantic Ocean

National Geographic on how to sail the Atlantic

Tourism in Nigeria (yes, apparently there is some)

A report on sailing around Africa

Other Regions

Mediterranean and Black Sea Region - North America: From Maine to California - Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico - South and Central America - Southeast Asia and East Asia - Australia and Pacific Ocean Islands - Western Europe and North Atlantic - Northern Europe: Of Fjords and Jaghds - West Africa, Antarctica, South Atlantic - Indian Ocean and Red Sea