To wander, roam, travel surf and explore for pleasure and love.


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Kitesurfing Langebaan lagoon – A mini road trip.

Kitesurfing Langebaan lagoon – A mini road trip.

Late Monday night, we decided to take Sky for a mini trip up the West Coast. We finished what we were working on Tuesday morning, and after getting fuel, and other necessities like airtime and data, we headed off up the beautiful R27 to see […]

Kitesurfing in Cape Town? Our best beaches!

Kitesurfing in Cape Town? Our best beaches!

The best beaches for kitesurfing in Cape Town. So we have just arrived in the Mother City! The windy season is coming to an end, the crowds have returned to Europe, but don’t be fooled, the wind still blows! There are some amazing spots for […]

Our favorite experiences in Zanzibar. Or, suntans will fade, but scars always remain.

Our favorite experiences in Zanzibar. Or, suntans will fade, but scars always remain.

Since June 2016, Zanzibar has been my home. More specifically the South East part of the island, consisting of the villages Bwejuu, Paje, and Jambiani. Ottilia joined late September, and we have been able to share some amazing experiences together. After eight months it’s time to start our next adventure, and reminisce over all the great times we have had, the bruises we’ve made and the battle scars to prove it.

Here’s our favorite experiences from Zanzibar:

Sunrise Surfs

The crystal clear waters off the reef of Zanzibar

The reason I came to zanzibar – surf! Zanzibar might not offer world class waves, but it does offer some fun right hand peelers, fairly consistently! Southerly swells, whipped up during the winter offer the best surf, between June and September we received doses and doses of stoke!

I was prepared for the beautiful boat rides out to the surf every day, but what I wasn’t prepared for was how amazing the sunrise over the Indian Ocean could be, especially when views from said boat, whilst traveling to potentially awesome waves. On the beach, in almost complete darkness, with the sense of a slight offshore breeze only adds to the excitement! Once on the boat the destination is to get to the break, but the journey done many times before, suddenly becomes the main attraction if only for a few minutes. Suddenly the clouds break and shards of light scatter towards the sea. A fiery orange ember reflecting off the water, eyes squinting just to take it all in.

Another early morning surf trip.

Once at the break, on the good days, the offshore winds will still be blowing, and the excitement to get in the water can be unbearable, but when you have woken up so early and witnessed such an amazing site, even if the waves are less than what you expected, the experience will embed itself deep into your memory.

Contact Brad, or Steffi at Aquaholics Zanzibar if you want to experience this for yourself.


Wild nights out

Pre-game with friends. Photo: Dina Gorskina

Zanzibar, or atleast the vicinity around the South East seems to have a set day or night for each bar to throw their party. On any given day of the week there will be one bar that has its turn to shine, drawing the biggest crowds just for that night. While you can go anywhere on any night, arriving at a bar on “its” night is always more fun!

Our favorites are those that play good music, serve good drinks, and have a fun and intimate crowd.

CORAL ROCK
Coral Rock is known for its stunning location, and amazing rooms, but it also throws some of the wildest parties! Saturday’s are when Coral, as its affectionately labeled by both locals and regulars, really lights up!

Arrive before sunset, to be blown away by the venue and scenery, then absorb the BBQ Buffet while listening to live music, once the cocktails hit the table, the sun hits the sheets and the dj hits the decks, the slow lounge pace and the dinner guests retire. The seating area inside is cleared, replaced with laser lights, smoke machines and funky-house tunes.

Coral Rock – Judging the best barmen from all over the island. Photo: Gillian Tylcoat

Once you have met the eclectic and boisterous owner; Neil, be prepared for a night filled with good stories, crazy banter and some of the strongest and largest cocktails you have ever seen. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Watch out for the “Black Hole of Almost Certain Doom”, part of the awe inspiring swimming pool, located as you enter the pool area, what was designed as a run-off for the pool, has become a black hole, with an unimaginable gravitational pull, luring its victims in with a seemingly innocuous set of stairs, only to be lead into the great, dark abyss.

B4 – BURGERS, BEATS, BAR & BEACH
The name says it all! Expect the juiciest burgers, my favorite being the “Vegi Thank You”. (You can thank me Later!) And the smoothest techno this side of the equator! DJ Leo Holland, the resident DJ and a host of other DJ’s brought onto the island by the label WHAT I PLAY are sure to get you grooving! B4 parties hard on Tuesdays (movie night) and Fridays!

B4, before the madness.

We love to arrive just before the sun goes down, to get a chance to watch the kiters stretching their session into the night, and get an early start to on the great drink specials like; Buy 2 get 3! Leo normally starts just after dark, and the party really starts picking up at around 22:30!

B4, just getting started. Photo: kiteguide.pl

With a sand bottomed, Tenticle Tent covered dance floor one really feels the island vibe here! It’s small and intimate enough to make some new friends but also has the space to really let loose!

Try to resist the urge to hang from the tent rafters, even if the last ten Jagermeister shots convince you otherwise.

Check out Coral Rock and B4 for your next bucket list party night!


Sunset Cruises in Chwaka Bay

Sunset cruise in Chakwa Bay.

Being on the South East coast, we get to see the sun rise over the ocean, and watch it drift and set over the land. But traveling to Michamvi, a little further north affords you the opportunity to watch the sun set seemingly across the ocean, and again, watching the sun rise or fall from a boat makes it that much more enduring!

Add to that a few friends, some alcoholic beverages, and a boat that looks like it could sink even if it was berthed on dry land, creates a perfect recipe for fun and adventure! The boat is surprisingly hydrodynamic, cutting efficiently through the chop, silently plowing its way deeper into Chwaka Bay, then tacking back towards the beach front, on its way to the Mangroves.

Once dark, and your jolly adventurers ready, it’s time to sail back, but rather stop at one of the bars along the way, my favorite was a bar and restuarant, that I never knew the name of, we would drink, and eat locally caught fish, lobster, calamari or octopus, all while sitting around a bonfire, sharing stories of our past lives.

Bonfire on the beach!

Once just after the high tide, when the bay was dark as coal, I ventured into the shallow waters, to my surprise I caught a glimpse of some bright flash as my feet waded through the water, and thinking it was just I reflection, I continued, and again another flash, I splashed the water to make sure I wasn’t going crazy, and discovered the shallow lagoon water was alive with bio-luminescence! Calling the rest of the crew to join, we danced and splashed lighting up the ground to match the sky! Unfortunately one two many stomps with my bare feet later, I hit a broken glass bottle, slicing the bottom of my foot! At the time I thought it was just a Sea Urchin, and didn’t think twice, only to discover a small blood trail on the floor once we were home. So if you ever discover the glowing plankton, and decide to aggregate it, rather wear slops or shoes!

 

For sunset boat trips, there are two options, one is through Steffi and Brad at Aquaholics Zanzibar (Usually part of the Surf Camp Package) or with  Dom at Free Spirit.


Riding our scooter on the beach

Taking a break on the beach.

One of the funnest, and sometimes a little bit dangerous activities or ways of simply getting around on the island. Catch the low tide and scoot your way from bar to bar! Watch out though, at night the exposed coral reef can be hard to see and has caused an accident or two! (I’ve learnt this first hand.)

Zipping along the beach with the wind in your hair, passing fellow travelers and waving at the Masai beach boys never gets boring! The beach becomes a highway used by the locals on bicycles, scooters, and motorcycles. So long as the tide is low enough you can explore almost the entire South East Coast, from Pingwe in the north, to Makunduchi in the south. The most navigable sections being from Dongwe, Bwejuu, Paje, ending with the start of Jambiani.

Scooters are cheap, around $10 to $20 dollars a day, with a 15.000TZS license permit (about $7), and really open up your options to explore the island!

What’s better than having a few drinks and piling 3 people on a Vespa and doing a bar crawl along the beach?


Kitesurfing in Jambiani

Leo and the kites, ready to blast!

Kiting in Jambiani, offers less crowds and more advanced conditions. There are better waves to surf on the reefs (during winter, June to September) and a better, less developed beach vibe.

I always use Uhuru Lodge as my base, Leo, yes the same Leo who is the resident DJ at B4, runs the best kite school on the island, Uhuru Kite, and rents out gear and offers lessons to those less experienced or wanting to learn. What’s great about Uhuru is the great view from the restaurant, sheltered from the wind and overlooking the lagoon and ocean – a great spot to grab something to eat while you wait for the wind to pick up. Post kite, there is also a great little bar where you can share your experiences and soak up the last of the salty sun (or roll head first off a hammock while trying to act graceful)!

Paradise found.

A word to the wise, there is a set of protruding rocks on the outer reef, the kind that eat kites for breakfast, lunch, and supper! Try not crash your kite (or the kite you are using from Leo) 10 meters up wind from them during a 2.5m swell. The chances of relaunching before impending doom are slim, however it can be done, but not without ball clenching difficulty and very nervous, and wide eyed onlookers.

Speak to Ana at Uhuru Beach Resort and link up with Leo from Uhuru Kite for more info!


Exploring Stone Town in the rain

Seeping walls and flooded streets.

Strolling through the streets of Stone Town, with the wail of the Mosques over their PA systems, lost in a labyrinth of historic buildings, while the sun ignites the crumbling walls at hard and acute angles conjures up feelings of ancient Persia, Alladin or any multitude of Arabesque history.

With out warning, the hot and stuffy streets can become heavily swathed, drenched in rain as the heavens above rip wide open, pouring themselves onto the city below. All too quickly the poor drainage and inherently flat landscape transform the the once bustling streets and alleys into knee deep murky rivers, swallowing up street stall vendors whole (just kidding) and causing havoc with those trying to flee by foot or by vehicle.

But oh how she hums! The energy is electric as the rain pours down, hammering against the make shift plastic bag roofing, gathering in the already heavily weighed down creases before exploding through a tear in the sheets, ripping a larger whole as more rain water follows. The screams and laughter from merchants and passers by huddled under this vicarious shelter resonate the sentiment of electric excitement.

Ottilia feeling the power, under the safety of the market.

Walking slowly through the flooded streets, barefoot and making sure not to fall into a drain hidden beneath every step is both exhilarating and dreadful. But the silence and solitude awarded to the few venturing out into the streets after the rain has cleared makes it all worth it. The muted colors on the walls, shimmering and seeping as the clouds roll high above seem more alive! Slowly the water subsides, trickling through clogged drain holes making its way towards the sea. The town seems even more magical, perhaps more authentic in a quieter, closer to its historic ways kind of way.


With so many memories and experiences, and even more coming to mind as I write, it’s always hard to pin point the very best, but looking back, every experience was a good experience, and every memory a great one!

Life is about living, and the best way towards truly living is to make experiences for yourself, get lost in an unknown city, become friends with people you don’t understand linguisticly, laugh, cry, and struggle, because in the end no experience or adventure can be as bad as watching life pass you by.

Melted Mozzarella, Mushroom, Tomato and Diced Cucumber “Tacos”

Melted Mozzarella, Mushroom, Tomato and Diced Cucumber “Tacos”

Our first recipe! We have decided to share the meals we have come up with whilst often having minimal ingredients and limited cooking supplies. Our aim has always been to cook with just our one pan, sourced locally, be low in carbs, and taste good. […]

Bucket List: Free Camping and Surfing Around Cape Town

Bucket List: Free Camping and Surfing Around Cape Town

Places we REALLY want to spend a few days camping and surfing. (Without a campsite)  As we plan our trip from Cape Town to Sweden (This still blows my mind!), one of the most important questions that we keep asking is, “Where should we stay?”. […]

How our #vanlove journey began

How our #vanlove journey began

There we were, 6 degrees south of the equator, the heat was unbearable but we were almost naked, lying on the beach, with a cool breeze, and a few cheap DIY cocktails in our hands, (Malibu Coke – if you need to know). Wether it was the high quantities of sugar or the mild buzz from the alcohol, we will never know, but plans were made, ideas thrown about like inflatable mattresses at an out door festival, and the damp heat, that cringed to every pore was long forgotten. We had decided that we would buy a van and drive from my “house” to Ottilias “house”.

The reason I’m writing about this, and we decided to actually make an entire blog based on this seemingly insignificant feat? Well, my house is in Cape Town, South Africa, and Ottilia’s house, is in Tierp, Sweden. Thats roughly 14 713km. Netflix and chill?

The plan was simple, we had a few months left in Zanzibar, while I finished off the surf season. We had some money in our bank accounts, and  a rough idea of what kind of van we wanted to purchase. Ahh the VW Syncro! A rectangular brick, balanced precariously on top of four 14 inch biscuit wheels, with enough space inside to sleep both of us almost comfortably. We searched online for hours, days, weeks – it felt like a lifetime, but we had almost no luck finding anything, let alone getting any response from potential sellers.

The idea faded, like a hangover on a tuesday night, but before we know it it was Friday and we were ready to get back on it (no, not more Malibu and cokes). “Stuff the Syncro!” Ottilia said, with a sense of austerity and confidence, “We don’t need four by four!” She was right, we looked into the off road ability of the 2wd VW vans, and witnessed some amazing feats, stuff that wouldn’t be out of place at, well… a four wheel drive show.

And so began the hunt for something that already had most of the trims we needed, this would keep costs low, and force us to accept what we had on hand. No fussing about in the local mall humming and hawing over what type of camping chairs we were going to buy, waisting three hours of our day discussing the pros and cons of spending the last of our minimal budget on solar lamps instead of  a 24 pack of pine scented car fresheners, or trying to decide on the colour of the blinds we want to install. After much (not so much) web searching, and CIA level investigation (again, not really) we found the van we were searching for! Baby blue, twin round Halogens, original engine, with low mileage, minimal rust, and an awesomely refurbished interior.  We couldn’t have asked for more! But wait there is more! The van also came camp ready, the owner would include everything we needed, most of it brand new, for our trip of a life time.

Baby baby blue!
The interior, simple, but clean and minimal with room for any upgrades.

A few messages, one phone call, and some patience, we sat down in disbelief, “We just bought a van!?” The feeling was surreal, it didn’t feel real, like it was all a dream, or some mild hallucination.

 

 


Our Diary

Kitesurfing in Cape Town? Our best beaches!

Kitesurfing in Cape Town? Our best beaches!

The best beaches for kitesurfing in Cape Town.

So we have just arrived in the Mother City! The windy season is coming to an end, the crowds have returned to Europe, but don’t be fooled, the wind still blows! There are some amazing spots for kiting, with the best winds and conditions in the Blouberg region. The area is great for driving around in the van, beautifully scenic, and not too congested, drive a little further north and the suburbs open up to lush west coast shrub and long open roads! So, lets go Kitesurfing in Cape Town, and find your favourite spot!

 

Dolphin Beach
Kitesurfing in Cape Town - Dolphin Beach
Kitesurfing in Cape Town – Hang Time at Dolphin Beach.

 

The most common beach for kitesurfing in Cape Town is, Dolphin Beach, located at the start of Table View, easily spotted by the “Pyramid” shaped hotel that marks the launch spot. You can always find another kiter, or 50 setting up on the beach. With the strongest winds in the region, this spot is great for testing your big air limits, or breaking your previous WOO sports record. As the wind here is almost cross onshore to side on, the waves are choppy and unforgiving, not great for a solid strapless kitesurf session, but ok if you are launching here to do a downwinder. The parking area is the most secure of all spots in the area, with a friendly french speaking security guard, who gladly accepts any small coins, but has no problem or issues if you don’t tip him.

 

Kitesurfing in Tableview
It’s ‘Finger licking good!’

 

Continuing your kitesurfing in Cape Town journey, further north, you can find KFC Beach, located in front of, you guessed it, a KFC.  Often slightly less crowded than Dolphin Beach, the parking area is long and spreads the crowds out, here the wind has slightly less impact on the waves, although still not great. Overall, very similar conditions to Dolphin Beach as it’s roughly 1km further north. This beach sits pretty much in the centre of the Table View “beachfront” area. With a couple cool places to grab a drink after an epic sunset kite, check out; Pakalolo or Board House 

About another kilometer up the beach is Doodles Beach. A great spot to land after a nice downwinder, named after the beach bar and grill Doodles, another great spot to grab a post kite beer and try out their grill!

 

Big Bay Beach
2017 Redbull King of the Air
Going Big at the 2017 Redbull King of the Air Event – Big Bay.

 

Going up and over the hill from Doodles you enter Big Bay, once a tiny sea-side village, now a massive kite and windsurf hub, surrounded by a sea of newly built complexes, flats, and houses. This development has had negative effects on the wind, making conditions gusty, and about 5 to 10 knots weaker than the Table View side. However, for experienced kiters, this spot offers great free ride and freestyle options, as well as some awesome wave riding!  To get here, follow the signs to “Eden on the Bay” – the massive complex / shopping centre that overlooks the beach. You can either park near the lifesaving club, and walk over the grass bank to the beach, or try park on the north side of the centre, around a small circle that has more direct and often less packed access to the beach. Big Bay, is actually rather small, nestled between sharp rocky out-crops on both sides, but because of this the waves remain smooth and clean even on the windiest days – great for freestyle! Looking at the bay, on your right of the rocks,there is an awesome wave to kite called Kamer’s. With cross off winds, and a wrapping swell, and long walls and sections, this is a really fun wave that can get big, but works even if its almost flat!

 

Kitesurfing in Cape Town - Big Bay
Kitesurfing in Cape Town – Big Bay.

 

Now we are pretty much at the end of the urban sprawl, from here there’s not much development (except for the town of Melkbos, and then the Nuclear Plant a couple of kilometres north). This stretch has some of the best kitesurf options! If you are doing a downwinder, go with a local, or at least choose a spot like Haakgat and kite there first, so you know what to look out for when you want to land. Talking of Haakgat, this can be an epic spot to kite, on the right conditions, there is a long and heavy wave that breaks of a rocky shelf! Hard to get good, but when you do it’s worth it! The only negative, is the windsurfers… so best to get it before the wind is strong enough for them! Haakgat has a small gravel parking area that doesnt have a car-guard, because of its isolated location, try not leave any valuables in the car, and if you must, keep them hidden, and out of view! Best to kite here when the parking lot is busy, if you are concerned about theft!

 

The view down Haakgat Beach
Looking down Haakgat Beach.

 

Further up the coast (about 2 hours if driving from Cape Town) is Langebaan, an amazing salt water lagoon! With a great shallow water spot that is great for beginners and families called Shark Bay, find a spot behind some bushes on the beach for some shelter, and then enjoy the crystal waters. Its a bit of a walk from the parking area, again, don’t leave valuables or kites in the car! Rather take everything down to the beach with you. Plan to spent the whole day here, the natural beauty is phenomenal, and often the wind takes some time to really come through. As a rule, if there’s a monster sized cloud coming over Table Mountain, there should be enough wind at Shark Bay. Shark Bay can get crowded, especially with beginners, so always stay calm, and take it easy, if you are experienced, try to remember that its your responsibility to practice cautious kiting.

 

So that’s our list of the best spots for kitesurfing in Cape Town, there are more, like Platboom in Cape Point Nature Reserve,  but that’s for another ‘Advanced Spot Guide‘. Let us know your kite experiences in and around Cape Town, we would love to hear your stories and recommendations!