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Sailing Updates For South And West Africa

By doina — last modified May 31, 2008 11:24 AM

Published: 2008-05-31 11:24:21
Countries: Gambia , Namibia , Senegal


Luderitz: A pretty little German town, perched between the sea, the desert and the diamond mines. Well worth a visit. Provisions: basic supplies from supermarkets. ATM machines. Rand accepted alongside Namibnian Dollar. Clearing in is easy with Customs and immigration a short walk from the waterfront by the port main gate.

There is anchoring room for a few yachts by the Pier and dinghy dock. This is a private pier for which a fee should be paid at the waterfront office - negotiate if the rate seems unreasonable. Water is included in the fee. Otherwise showers and water are available for a fee at the yacht club. This is more of a drinking hole for the German ex pats than a yacht club. Diesel by jerrycan or large volumes by arrangement at the fishing pier. A charge is made for lying along side the port authority piers. Port control are on VHF ch12.

Walvis Bay: A smell of Hydrogen sulphide pervades everything here. There is plenty of room to anchor near the Yacht club if there are no moorings available. There is also 3m or more depth between Pelican Point and the yacht club so there is no reason to use the dredged channel or get tangled with the commercial shipping. Port control will expect you to take the direct route. Port control are VHF 16 with 12 as working. It is a long walk into town from the yacht club. Water is available at the club which has a good restaurant. Provisions in town are better than at Luderitz.

Taxis back to the club are reasonable. Clearing out is near the port main gate: again this is a long walk, both from the town center and from the yacht club. Beware of dogs. The health service is good, a registration fee has to be paid at the state hospital, but the treatment and drugs from the hospital pharmacy are free. Diesel by jerrycan from the town, or large volumes in the small craft harbour by arrangement.

Sierra Leone

Freetown: Can be used as an emergency fuelling stop, but not recommended. The diesel is of dubious quality - should be filtered on receipt. It arrives by can from the local filling station. Water is also available. We had no trouble in the day, but were warned by the pilots not to anchor out as there were "bad boys" around. We would not recommend this as a cruising destination. The river at Freetown is wide and does not provide good shelter. We were not charged for clearing in or out - this did not take place as we only stopped for fuel.

The Gambia

Banjul: The only problem that arises here is that the Immigration department require their Dash - there is an official fee for extending the 14 day standard stamp - this is 200 Dalarsi ($10 us) However the immigration "official" will attempt to charge D300 per 28 day month, plus an inspection fee of D300. Their competence is directly proportional to their rank so a check of the passport stamp should be made. Finding your way around is not easy, but a helper will attach himself to you. This is OK for the first few days, but ditching them after that can be difficult.

Anchorage: for clearing in/out anchorage is at half dike, by Banjul pier. Shelter is usually adequate. We found the best place for a longer stay to be by Lamin Lodge (13.23.637N 16.37.562W) a very sheltered spot in the mangroves, with a bar/ restaurant as the dinghy dock. A bit of a walk to the main road, but then bush taxi to shopping is no problem. GPS offset for Banjul is 0.164 minute West.


Yachts in the Gambia report that there has been no trouble in the Casamance are for several years now.


We found the effects of the ITCZ started at 2 degrees SOUTH at 10W, and extended to 5 degrees North. Consulting pilot chars and weather fax suggest that the ITCZ does not extend south of the equator - but it does.

Mike Dorsett
White Princess
The Gambia