KITESURFING HOLIDAYS - LANGEBAAN
The 'jewel of the west coast', Langebaan village is situated on a beautiful lagoon, offering a huge, natural playground for sporting and nature lovers. White-sand beaches and constant cross-shore winds in the summer make this one of South Africa's top kite spots for those looking for flat water over the challenging Atlantic waves of Cape Town, 90 minutes south. Set next to the protected South African West Coast national park, Langebaan may not have the big five in the village (you can see them in a couple of hours' drive), but it has the slow five: tortoises, whales, sand sharks, porcupines and dune moles.
Exit Cape Town International airport, shed a few layers of clothing, find a car, point it north up the coast and drive 130 kilometres in a dead straight line along a tarred road with not a single road coming off it until you get to the small town of Langebaan.
The flat water freestyle heaven of Langebaan provides a contrast the often menacing conditions 90 minutes south in Cape Town. The two main spots in Langebaan are Kleine Oostewal (Shark Bay) and Main Beach. (There is another spot downwind of Main Beach, but the wind is offshore and therefore for advanced kiters only.) Shark Bay is 300 metres south of Langebaan village and ideal for beginners with huge expanses of shallow, warm water and predominantly cross-onshore winds. (Don't worry, the name only came from sharks of the small, harmless variety.)
Main Beach is in the town centre and suits intermediate and advanced riders with cross-shore winds, predominantly bumpy conditions in the middle of the channel but lovely flat sections behind the island opposite. Both spots are tidal. Low tide at Shark Bay exposes lots of beach; high tide has the reverse effect, offering just a little beach for setting up. Different states of tide can effect your ability to stay upwind or lose ground at Main Beach. At the right time it's an incredible spot to improve your tricks in warmer water than Cape Town. In the prevailing SE winds, look for an incoming tide here for the magic to begin.
WIND, WEATHER & WATER
Good learning conditions from October to March. Main months November - February; best December and January. Calmer conditions in the morning and then winds build, sometimes up to 40 knots in the afternoon. Temperatures average 25°C / 77°F in the summer and drop in the evening when a sweater can be needed. Main beach water temperature is around 17°C / 63°F in the summer, while Shark Bay can get to 24°C / 75°F; much warmer than elsewhere on this coast. You'll usually need at least a shortie for Main Beach, although you can often kite at Shark Bay without one.
Cape Town international airport (CPT) about two hour drive to Langebaan.
Depending on where you stay you may be able to walk to Main Beach, although a hire car is highly recommended to see areas outside of Langebaan. There's little public transport.
Plenty of accommodation from hostels and studio apartments to luxury family homes. WINDTOWN is a new luxury resort for kitesurfers right in the centre of town and just a stroll from Main Beach. WINDCHASERS is superbly well-equipped for those looking for more of a luxury hostel-type set-up. Friday Island is a mini-resort with units opening out right onto the beach and just a walk from the Main Beach.
FOOD & DRINK
Langebaan has two supermarkets and plenty of bars and restaurants just off Main beach serving all types of food, specialising in fresh seafood. There is one nightclub a five minute drive back up the road and there's a bar with live music on certain nights. Don't miss the Strandloper fish restaurant for a very unique (and long) eating experience.
The sights of Cape Town are just an hour back down the road. Around Langebaan there's horse riding, fishing, sight-seeing, wine-lands, game viewing, bicycling, kayaking, pilates and yoga lessons as well as a Gary Player signature golf course.