Australia to South Africa

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WorldIndian OceanAustralia to South Africa

An online cruising guide for yachts crossing the Indian Ocean and sailing in the region.

Australia to South Africa
Route 1
Route 2

You should provide a map of the of the passage with the route clearly shown. The map should be preferably well annotated and with a scale in nM (nautical miles). Place the map to the right by using:


Provide a FULL description and recommendations concerning the passage.

See also Australia to South Africa.


Chart Number - Chart Name
Chart Number - Chart Name
Chart Number - Chart Name


Give local weather conditions or refer to another page (a region or island group) that covers these conditions.

See also Indian Ocean Weather.

Sources for Weather forecasts:

Weather Windows

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Also see World Cruiser's Nets


Add any navigation notes such approaches, dangers etc here. If this section does not apply remove it.

Possible Departure Points

Northern Australia via Chagos to East Africa or Northern Madagascar

This route can be undertaken at any time during the S.E trade winds, April to November. In mid ocean, there is a slight favourable current. Stopovers can be made at Christmas Island and Cocos Keeling, both Australian owned. Thence Chagos and the Seychelles, from where a direct course can be made to East Africa, or Madagascar (Nose Be). If closing close to the northern tip of Madagascar, freaky winds, eddies and strong counter currents may be experienced! A direct route can also be sailed from the Seychelles to the Comoros.

South Bound, through the Mozambique Channel to South Africa:
This is a pretty straightforward sail, and it would be recommended to be around the middle of the Mozambique Channel, to take full advantage of the strong south flowing Mozambique current, and further south, the Agulhas current. From about mid channel south, winds may be encountered from almost any direction, and south of 25ºS, mostly from the south or north, often reaching gale force.

This area is very hurricane prone during the season, November to April, but very rarely extending beyond 27ºS.

Make approach to your desired destination early, as the Agulhas current can be strong, and if coupled by a strong northerly wind, could make one “overshoot” the destination.

Northern Australia to South Africa, via Mauritius and Reunion

The recommended months to undertake this passage are April or June, to be safely at ones desired destination by the start of the South Indian Ocean cyclone season, mid to end November.

Expect anything from calms to gales, mostly off the stern, on the initial leg, from Australia to Christmas Island and Cocos Keeling. From here onwards, until South of Madagascar, everything is in your favour, a slight current, and pretty consistent trades from the east to south east, sometimes a bit on the brisk side! This strong wind makes the sea lumpy and uncomfortable.

Three lovely and all very different islands can be visited en route: Rodrigues, friendly to the extreme; bustling Mauritius, and the mountainous, very French island of Reunion. It is a very debatable point on how far south of Madagascar to sail?

I have done this trip twice, once very close, within sight of Madagascar at times, but in an almost windless situation. The snag was a slight counter current and a few fishing vessels. I wouldn’t recommend being this close in a fresh wind! The second time I sailed about 150 miles south, encountering a heavy swell from the south, and a few factory ships and their attendant vessels over the shallow banks. I would feel that around 60 –100 miles would be about right, and from that point make a course to north of your destination, ideally either Richards Bay or Durban, to counter the effect of the strong flowing Agulhas current. This strategy also avoids the probability of a strong northerly wind sweeping you south. Watch the barometer, and if it starts falling it means a southwesterly wind is on its way. If it falls rapidly after a northerly, a strong southwesterly is coming, along with a probable increase in wave heights.

Listen to the weather on the net out of South Africa, “Peri–Peri” or “Alistair” on SSB if you have one, otherwise trust your ‘gut’ feel. In an extreme case, very seldom though, a thought would be to run with the wind during its initial strength, seldom lasting more than 10 hours. Info on the sail south around the Cape etc. is available in the Wiki section on South Africa and in the publication - South African Cruising Notes by Tony Herrick.
Excerpt from Indian Ocean Crossing Notes - by Tony Herrick.

Also see Ocean Passage Notes, East to West (BethandEvans - .pdf).

Route/Suggested Stopovers

Northern Australia to South Africa, via Mauritius and Reunion

South East Asia to Africa

Possible Arrival Points

List the possible arrival ports (in sequence). Include their coordinates.

  • Arrival Port1/wiki/Australia_to_South_Africa#.3Cspan_style.3D.22color:magenta_.22.3EArrival_Port1.3C.2Fspan.3EHarbour icon Arrival Port1 [[Australia to South Africa#Arrival Port1|Arrival Port1]] DD°N.m′N/S, DD°M.m′E/W
  • Arrival Ports/wiki/Australia_to_South_Africa#.3Cspan_style.3D.22color:magenta_.22.3EArrival_Ports.3C.2Fspan.3EHarbour icon Arrival Ports [[Australia to South Africa#Arrival Ports|Arrival Ports]] DD°N.m′N/S, DD°M.m′E/W
  • etc.

Distance & Duration

Give a distance table if possible.


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