South Africa, Cape Town: Latest Changes to the Rules for Clearing Out

It is no longer possible to clear out of Cape Town except The Royal Cape Yacht Club. Read this report on Lars and Erja’s experience of the procedure.

Published 9 years ago, updated 4 years ago

Received 19th February 2014

We, Lars and Erja on Swedish S/V Ambika, a Beneteau 46, had a great time in Cape Town at a very nice marina in Simon´s Town, at False Bay Yacht Club (FBYC) but it was time to leave the country and continue our journey around the world. Next stop; St Helena.

We had heard from many yachts leaving before us that some yachts were allowed to leave the country with their yacht directly from Simon´s Town, had they just done all necessary procedures according to rules and regulations in Cape Town, while others were not (they had to sail to Cape Town RCYC). It all depended on who at the Immigration authorities were in charge at the time!

But, just before we were ready to leave, the authorities had a meeting with FBYC and told them that ALL yachts MUST go to A Specific Marina in Cape Town, the Royal Cape Yacht Club (RCYC), in order to perform the clearing out procedures! No exceptions!

We were also told to call RCYC before arrival, but RCYC could not promise us a berth but “probably” they would have one available and the marina cannot be reached via VHF, So, we left Simon´s Town and sailed to Cape Town, and hoped for the best. It would just take a couple of hours to perform the procedures and then we could leave for St. Helena, we thought.

We phoned just before arrival and got a berth, at the far end. The woman at RCYC reception desk handed out a pack of forms to complete and to take to the authorities. The RCYC is situated in an ugly, industrial area beyond walking distance into the city. It is necessary to call a taxi which can take as much as 30min  to arrive

The forms were completed and we were charged cost 1.000 ZAR (95 USD) by RCYC, a ridiculously big sum of money, just to stay a couple of hours. We were not prepared and had only 800 ZAR in cash left. When we offered to pay with credit card instead, the women at the reception desk said: “no, you have to pay cash”!

We said, “Do you mean that we must take a taxi to the city, collect 200 ZAR from an ATM, take a taxi back to the YC to pay you when I know the RCYC restaurant accepts credit cards?”, Lars asked. “Yes, those are the rules”, said the woman. Lars said, “Please call the manager and ask if you could do an exemption and let me pay by credit card!”

She called but the General Manager, Marcus Reuter, who said no. He would see us in person instead. The manager let us wait for one (1) hour before he had time to meet us!  “Those are the rules”, said the Manager. But after a while, he said he would make an exception and let us pay with our credit card. When asked about the high cost for a berth, he replied that the authorities “forces” RCYC to have a berth available for foreign yachts to clear out, which costs the YC a lot of money… but, he said, you can stay for five (5) days for that amount!! We interpreted it as a way of forcing yachters to stay at the RCYC instead of other marinas.

After several hours we were finally ready to order a taxi (which came after 20min) to visit the authorities, one after another in this precise order; Port Authority, Immigration and Customs. Even though each stop went smoothly, they were situated far from each other. There is no charge by the Authorities for clearing out.

The process took us six (6) hours and many of them due to lack of customer care at the Royal Cape Yacht Club!!


  • We do recommend the authorities to let all marinas in the vicinity have the right to supply the necessary forms to the yachters! At least V&A (much closer to the authorities) and FBYC in Simon´s Town (the friendly Yacht Club with all facilities at the premises).
  • We do not recommend any yachts to stay at RCYC for more time than to clear out, in spite of the “five free days”
  • It is not safe to walk into the city, as it is too far away.
  • RCYC staff are not helpful and friendly (which we have also heard from other yachters).
  • You must carry enough cash to clear out (1.000 ZAR) and to buy diesel. And we are now reading the year 2014!!
  • You must be able to call RCYC by phone before entering the marina.
  • Children are not welcome at the RCYC.
  • (the yacht Mary, with two children,  went to town and when they got back the security officer at the front door told them “children are not allowed in the Royal Cape Yacht Club”. But eventually they, of course, were allowed into their yacht!)

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  1. March 1, 2019 at 7:47 AM
    Data Entry1 says:

    Update from January 2016. The comments made in the February 2014 posting are certainly not valid now. We have been at RCYC for over a month and have found it very welcoming, pleasant and convenient. It is safe to walk into the city or to the V&A waterfront.

    It is a 15-minute walk to the city and 25 minutes to V&A or you can take the myCITI bus with a stop a five-minute walk from the club. Children seem to be very welcome with many member’s children and guests children around the club. Yes, it is in the port but the facilities are very pleasant. The main warning is to be wary of entering in the late afternoon when the breeze can really pick up and make docking a real challenge!

  2. March 1, 2019 at 7:45 AM
    Data Entry1 says:

    March 2015 SY Sula Pippa and Dee. Our experience of RCYC has been very positive. We found staff and members friendly and helpful. We stayed for over a week in the end.