South Africa: Richards Bay & Simon’s Town

Published 10 years ago, updated 5 years ago

Simon’s Town – Jackass Penguins: © SY Flow

Our visit to South Africa was from 20 November 2013 – 01 February 2014.

Richard’s Bay

Clearance: It took almost three days before all the officials had visited our boat. We moved over to Tuzi Gazi marina after one day of waiting, and nobody complained. The lady at the marina office helped to push Immigration so they finally showed up.

Marina fees: They have different prices depending on the size of your boat and the length of stay. We are 40 feet, stayed 11 days and paid R2000.

Internet: We bought MTN SIM card for R5 in the internet café close to the marina office. All we needed was passport and an address with ZIP code. I think we paid R249 for a special offer for 2GB at the MTN office in the shopping mall in town (car). You can download the MTN app on your iPad/iPhone to administer your account and buy more GB after topping up.

Laundry: There is a laundry place close to the marina office. We paid R82 for a load.

ATM: Next to the laundry

Attractions: We used the time in Richards Bay to go on safari, and I can very much recommend that to other sailors. We went to Hluhluwe and Imfolosi game reserves, and it took us approximately two hours to drive to the gate. There is a small travel agency on the Water Front, and they only took a small fee to book a rental car and accommodation in the park. We were two yachts that shared a lodge at the Hilltop, and that was excellent. There were two bedrooms with one bathroom each and a living room and kitchen to share. There were meals at the restaurant. We drove around and looked at the animals on our own in the cars. We used about one day in the south (Imfololozi), and about one day in the north (Hluhluwe). We also paid extra for one game drive one morning, but personally, I think that driving around on our own gave us more. We bought a map at the gate with pictures of all the animals, and that was very helpful.  We also spent one day at the Isimangaliso wetland park to see the hippos and more.  We found cheap and ok accommodation at the Safari Lodge.

Simon’s Town

Simon’s Town is a lovely, slow town and for us an excellent choice. It took us approximately 1 hour 15 min and R9 with the train to Cape Town. You can even choose to spend R17 to travel first class if you like. It is also a very good place for a haul out.

Clearance: The marina took care of the arrival clearance. Previously you had to go with your yacht to Cape Town to clear out, but only a few days before we left deals were made to change this. The latest news was that we could leave our boat in Simon’s town and take the train to Cape Town to clear out. We did that together with several other yachts, and it worked fine. However, I know that yachts that left a few days later had problems. Ask the yacht club for the latest news about this.

(Editor’s Note: As of March 2014 all yachts must go to Cape Town Royal Cape Yacht Club to clear out.)


Yacht club: Temporary membership R60 a day /couple. The fee includes the use of premises, showers, internet and half-price drinks at happy hour every day.

Marina: For our 11.99 m boat we paid about 126 a day.

Laundry: There is a laundry up the road in the pink building before the Shell petrol station.

Attractions: My favourite was watching the Jackass penguins at the Boulders beach.  A 20-minute walk from the yacht club you can pay a fee to watch penguins at the visitors’ centre. The same ticket is valid at Boulder’s beach five minutes further walk on the wooden pavement. There you can have a swim together with the penguins.  However, there are no fees if you continue walking. It is a lovely path in beautiful surroundings, and you will see penguins without all the tourists. Best time is in the morning and the afternoon.

Safari: If you have a car you can go to the Aquila park. After doing a safari in Richard’s bay this felt more like a combination between safari and zoo. But it was fantastic to get closer to the animals and you will see lions as well.

The morning safari programme is R1495.00 per person and includes a buffet breakfast, 2-3 hour game drive and buffet lunch (arrival time 9 am). The afternoon safari programme is R1295.00 per person and includes a buffet lunch and a 2-3 hour game drive (arrival time 12 pm).

The horseback safari is R1795.00 per person and the programme is the same as the morning safari but with a 1.5-2 hour drive.

All programmes are fully inclusive and meals cannot be taken off to reduce costs. The above prices exclude transfers and accommodation.

Aquila Reservations Team

Mount Curtis, Floor 1 • 307 Main Road • Sea Point • Cape Town

Tel: 021 430 7260 Fax: 021 433 0684

Email: [email protected]

Vineyards: During the Christmas holidays many yachts had an entire day together visiting vineyards and tasting wine. We rented a big bus, but I think it is easier to get access to a wine tasting at vineyards with smaller groups.

Restaurants: My favourite was The Meeting Place. The best Springbock and tuna ever. Lighthouse is also very good. For a good fish and chips, The Salty Dog is the place. You can ask for the hake grilled to have a healthier version.

Getting goods shipped in from abroad: To get goods with a value over R500 out of customs you need a clearing agent. Be aware, because it seems like there is lots of unfair business here. Our first delivery was from UPS. They gave us the name of a clearing agent that required four times the fees that other clearing agents charge. On top of this UPS charged us, or the clearing agent told us UPS charged us, R400 for a handover fee. That is more than two days salary for an unskilled worker in South Africa. And we even had to pick up the package ourselves.

Next time we used DHL to get sails shipped in from Lyttelton Sails, and they charged R80 in handover fee.

One day we picked the wrong road when we drove around Cape Town and there we saw the sign on Sky Freight’s office. We used Lorraine Leeman there as our clearing agent this time, and that was perfect. She knows that a yacht in transit shall pay no VAT so we did not have to quarrel about that as other yachts had to do with their agent.  Leeman charged only R500 plus handover fee and was very professional. She even delivered the sails at the yacht club. E-mail: [email protected] Tel:+2721 447 5764 or 448 5130 Cell: +27 72 296 4880

In total, we got a quotation from three different clearing agents and the prices were including handover fee R2500, R1500 and R680. For the two most expensive ones we had to come to Cape Town ourselves to pick up the package. This is a jungle.

As soon as we found the right clearing agent we found that getting goods shipped into South Africa was very easy.

VAT refund: To get this refund receipts over R2000 (or R1000, I do not remember) must have your name and the name of the yacht written on it.

Inger Johanne  “Johanna” Moen

S/Y Flow


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