Messing about in a houseboat

Published online: Apr 28, 2011 News Richard Holmes - travel.iafrica.com
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"Believe me, my young man, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

Kenneth Grahame might have written `The Wind in the Willows' nearly a century ago, but his famous fable of Toad, Mole and Rat taking to the water in search of adventure and good times is as inspiring today as it was back then.

Grahame's classic tale is a celebration of the simple joys of life; good food, friendship and the beauty of nature. all elements that make a holiday on the water one of the best ways to escape the hurly-burly of modern-day life. Whether it's luxury cruising through the sub-tropics or sitting quietly on your houseboat waiting for the Steenbras to bite, there's nothing to transport you away from reality like a holiday afloat.

Still cruisin'.

If you're the type that thinks bigger is better and prefers a holiday that's more dished up than DIY, cruising is hard to beat. And no, it's not just for the blue-rinse brigade, but is rapidly becoming a popular option for families and couples.

Durban is the hopping off point for most of the cruises in South African waters, with Starlight Cruises' ships Melody and Sinfonia plying the waters off the east coast from November to March each year. From two-night `Cruises to Nowhere' to longer voyages up the Mozambique coast there's a range of options to suit all cruisers, and cheques books.

A trip on board a luxury cruise ship might seem expensive at first glance, but when you consider that your fare includes all entertainment and meals on board, it starts to become great value-for-money. And boy do you get to eat your money's worth! Meals are served from the crack of dawn till the stroke of midnight, so you'll certainly never go hungry, and as long as you stay away from the casino and bars on board, cruising can be a fairly affordable way to travel.

Tiger, tiger.

Cruises aren't for everybody though, and if you'd like a little adventure thrown in with your luxury live-aboard, a house-boat might just be the ticket.

Lake Kariba is the most famous, and dramatic, destination for house-boating in Southern Africa, offering fantastic game viewing and exciting tiger-fishing as you motor your way along the lake-shore. Trips start from the eastern Kariba town or Binga in the west (a few hours' drive from Vic Falls) with a full-crossing of the Lake the ultimate Kariba adventure. Taking the kids along? Make sure you ask for a child-proof boat with nets to stop them falling overboard en route.

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