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The best places to surf in Africa
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The big surf discoveries of the past 10 years have been in Africa. Gone are the Hawaiian shirts and Southern Californian station wagons. ‘Here, surfing is about exploration,’ says Andy Davis, co-founder of the Cape Town–based surf brand Mami Wata, ‘in places that are still so wild – jungles, deserts, and unspoiled vistas – where there could be crocs and hippos in the water.’

The interior of a Mami Wata store, South Africa.

Named after the African water spirit, Mami Wata celebrates this particular surf culture. Davis, owner of South African surf magazine Zigzag, launched the brand in 2017 with friends Nick Dutton, a former advertising executive, and Peet Pienaar, a designer who works with brands including Camper and Diesel. The trio develops and manufactures all of Mami Wata’s products locally. And its three shopfronts, located in hipster Woodstock, the Bo-Kaap neighbourhood and on trendy Kloof Street, double as urban surf clubs, with fair-trade coffee and TVs playing big-wave films.

The Exterior of a Mami Wata store, South Africa.

Elsa Young/Frank Features

On the shelves, you won’t find neon hues or shaka-sign motifs. Board shorts and T-shirts have primary-colour prints of surfing zebras and bananas – a nod to Morocco’s mellow right-hand wave called Banana Point. African surf breaks inform the boards as well, all hand-shaped by legendary South African craftsman Hugh Thompson. And to shift the traveller’s mindset from wildlife safari to surf safari, the brand has partnered with Cape Town outfitter Escape+Explore to offer trips around the continent. There are also long-term plans to launch surf lodges. ‘Surfing in Africa is unlike anywhere else,’ says Dutton. ‘We’re the new frontier.’

The 4 best waves to surf in Africa

1) Tofo Beach, Mozambique

These gentle breaks, 300 miles north-east of Maputo, are ideal for longboarders.

2) Ouakam, Senegal

You’ll see mosques from the A-framers here. ‘It feels like surfing in Indonesia,’ says Dutton.

3) Noumbi, Republic of the Congo

This chocolate-brown wave in the middle of the Congo breaks for 600 feet.

4) Jeffreys Bay, South Africa

J-Bay is known for Supertubes, one of the world’s finest right-hand point breaks.

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