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South Africa is an important stop on world shipping routes. Cape Town is a major port of call for cruise ships, and many also stop at Durban. Both are good places to look for crew berths on private yachts sailing up the East African coast.

It’s possible to find cruise and freighter lines linking South Africa with Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius. Many freighters have comfortable passenger cabins.

Even on freighter lines, the thrill of approaching the tip of the continent by sea certainly doesn’t come cheap. Fares from South Africa tend to be lower than those to it.

Helpful contacts:

Cruise People (www.cruisepeople.co.uk) Based in London.

Cruiser Log (www.cruiserlog.com) Crew positions and forum.

Cunard (www.cunard.co.uk) Luxury cruises to Cape Town. Has a list of cruise travel agents around the world.

LBH Africa (www.tallships.com) Southern African freighter line.

Maris Freighter Cruises (www.freightercruises.com) Freighter cruises from North America.

Perpetual Travel (http://perpetualtravel.com/rtw/rtwfreighters.html) Suggests reference books and further links.

Royal Mail Ship St Helena (www.rms-st-helena.com) Cape Town to St Helena and Ascension Island.

Safmarine (www.safmarine.com) Cargo ships. Headquartered in Cape Town.