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  1. #1

    Cape Town, 2017/2018, new running thread.

    We have a new thread each year for those of us heading to Cape Town for the European winter period. This one is for the 2017/18 season.

    I did wonder about NOT going for the coming year, but then there is no wind in the UK right now and it's easy to remember how consistent December to March are for wind and waves in Cape Town.

    And then I watched this drone video and next year's trip suddenly went into the planning stage.

    It's not not 'if' but 'when?", and 'for how long?'
    Accommodation and car hire prices are hiked up over Xmas and New Year, and so flying out in the first week of January onwards tends to be cheaper, and easier to organise. The windy months tend to be January and February.
    November and December can also be good for wind and waves if you can go that early.
    The Southeaster season starts in November and then lasts through to mid March or later.

    This running thread is for all windsurfing and tourist stuff and general chat do with Cape Town trips.
    Last edited by basher; 1st June 2017 at 12:10 AM.
    Now back in the UK.

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Good to see the Thomas Cook direct flights are still running from Gatwick – and are already bookable for next season.

    Watch out that they don't fly every day, and that some flights are in the daytime (which some may like). Most however, leave Gatwick in the evening, arriving in Cape Town the next morning (which is perfect).

    If you are very flexible with your dates, then you might find a direct flight, overnight, at as little as 599, but most economy seats start at about 630, same as last year.

    You will however need to pay on top of that for a board bag if you want to take windsurf kit, and for the usual annoying cheap flight extras like pre-booked seat allocation.
    Standard baggage allowance is 20kgs for the suitcase, and just 6kgs hand luggage (which is a bit mean).
    The board bag however, for a flat rate fee, can weigh 30kgs. If you pay twice then you can take two board bags or perhaps a quiver bag – but you may need to phone to book more than one over-size item, because the website only allows you to pre-book one 'sporting goods' bag.

    It's probably best not to book your accommodation or pay for a car at this time – because the is currently weak against the rand – and will probably stabilise after the election.
    Last edited by basher; 1st June 2017 at 12:14 AM.
    Now back in the UK.

  4. #4
    Wow. If you check out Turkish Airlines they have some promotional tickets on at the moment, at just 457* !!

    That's a Gatwick to Cape Town flight via Istanbul – with limited dates of course.

    The flight times are OK, except on the way out you get a 3 hour stopover in Istanbul, and a two hour stopover on your return.

    Let's do a price comparison, assuming you need to carry one board bag in addition to your luggage allowance. Turkish Air have a slightly more generous baggage allowance than Thomas Cook, but you still need to pay extra for a board bag.

    The board bag charge with Turkish involves two legs, as you change planes in Istanbul, so each way, it's €30+ €60 = €90 per 32kgs board bag (and that's about 80).

    But with Turkish you could pay as little as 457 for your flight + (2 X 80) = 617

    The faster direct flight with Thomas Cook would cost 630 + (2 x 65) = 760
    (Their board bag weight is limited to 30kgs.)

    Both those deals sound pretty good to me. Both airlines have good leg room/seatpitch, and pretty good service. The downside to the Turkish flight is the need to change planes, taking the journey time from Gatwick to Cape Town up to 17hours or more. The direct flight with Thomas Cook should be under 12hours.
    I have flown with both companies and neither route felt arduous.

    Late edit. *That amazing 457 price is still there, on June 3rd, but now 458 due to currency fluctuations.
    Last edited by basher; 3rd June 2017 at 11:45 PM.
    Now back in the UK.

  5. #5
    Great beginner day in BigBay today. Only 11.6 m swell in with a periode of 17 secs + a NW +-40knots of wind. No need to waterstart. Uphauling should be fine
    Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #6
    I just booked my return ticket to Cape Town tonight, from Gatwick, via Istanbul, with Turkish airlines, for 458.40. Bargain.
    I'm flying in January.
    I booked it tonight, in case the takes a further tumble tomorrow.

    At 458 the early booking is a no brainer.

    Suitcase allowance is 30kgs, and an additional board bag each way, via Istanbul, will cost 30+60 euros = €90 (80) for 32kgs.

    So the flight is 458 + 160 for board bag = 618 for a return flight including 62kgs luggage each way, plus hand luggage.

    The Thomas Cook flight is quicker, being direct, but the same dates would cost 630 + 130 for one board bag =760 and that's for 50kgs of luggage each way, which would mean taking less kit, unless you pay a further 130 for a second board bag or quiver bag.
    Last edited by basher; 9th June 2017 at 09:55 AM.
    Now back in the UK.

  7. #7
    It's worth noting two things for Cape Town visitors.

    Firstly, they had a really big storm in the Cape a couple of days ago, and there was quite a bit of damage to beaches, landscape and property. In particular, Big Bay beach is currently closed after huge waves swept away more of the sand and the seafront defences.

    I hear that the front of the sand dunes have been washed away, to now leave a 10ft cliff drop. The access ramps have also gone.

    Presumably this will be repaired in time for the next tourist season but the beach itself was already in a bad way earlier this year due to sand loss.

    Secondly, there is still a dire water shortage in Cape Town and recent rain has done little to help that drought. Hopefully they will get a wet couple of months to help resolve the issue, but the water shortages are the worst they have seen for decades, and low water levels can also mean reservoirs may not be sailable.
    The Rietvlei lake has been closed since March, due to an algae bloom and ongoing poor water quality.

    These are issues I'll monitor – and try and report on in this thread – over the coming months.
    Last edited by basher; 9th June 2017 at 11:38 AM.
    Now back in the UK.

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