Perfect winds, blistering swells and some of the best open face wave riding and flat water conditions you can imagine…
Kite spot review site, Kitespotters recently explored the kitesurfing atRodrigues Island, a beautiful island paradise in the middle of the Indian Ocean that will simply take your breath away.
Named after the Portuguese explorer Diego Rodriguez, Rodrigues Island is the smallest of theMascarene Islands. With a peak elevation of approximately 355 meters, Rodrigues is located 560 km east of Mauritius. The island is 96 km² in size, and surrounded by a coral reef. The reef creates a perfect turquoise flat water lagoon around the island, with soft white sand below your feet, and without all the broken coral pieces you would expect if you were in Mauritius. The lagoon stretches as far as the eye can see, offering perfect freestyle kiteboarding conditions, often with not another kitesurfer in sight.
Kitesurfing at Rodrigues IslandThe South-east trade winds blow straight from Western Australia with the strongest winds being from June to October. The wind is lighter in the mornings and picks up in the afternoons. The average wind strength is about 20 – 25 knots and offers ideal kiteboarding conditions for any beginner to professional. Often these winds can continue to blow right through to December. Rodrigues unbeknown to many offers some world class surf breaks on the outer reef which is 10km offshore. Getting to the best spots will require a ski boat for support and somewhere to store those ice cold beers after that perfect session.
At low water springs, shallows do appear in some areas but other than that it is possible to kitesurf at all states of the tide. A trip with the ski boat to some of the sand bars inside the reef during low tide will often leave you weak at the knees with the breath taking views of turquoise waters, white sand beaches and not a soul in sight or maybe it was just from the exhaustion of kitesurfing all day, either way this little island will get under your skin.
Ebony Mouroke Beach
The beach in front of the hotel is a wide open beach, the sand is soft and offers plenty of space to launch a kite. The Osmosis Kite Centre is right on the beach and managed by Jerome. The kite centre is full of atmosphere with a great vibe. The staff are amazing, and very helpful, making any beginner feel safe at all times. For the intermediate kitesurfer, the lagoon in front of the hotel offers wide open waters to practice those freestyle moves, with the water only being about 1.5 m deep most of the time. The SE blows slight cross on shore and with a long tack you can make your way out to the reef along the east side of the Island. The reef here offers a perfect small break that runs an awesome wave for about 50 – 80 meters. If you get the chance to look down while you’re riding you can spot the parrot fish with their amazing colours against the coral reef.
This is a world famous surf break that has been both windsurfed and kitesurfed, but it’s not something that can be done alone. If you are familiar with “One Eye” in Mauritiusit will give you an idea of what you can be up against, and on a good day you can times that by six.
The reef lies on the west side of the Island for which you will need a boat. Speak to Jerome at the Osmosis Kite Centre to help with your arrangements.(See Video)
The Sand Bar is on the way to Jimmy’s Pass. It’s a small sand bank large enough to rig your kite and launch from. The water around the bar is super smooth and glassy and offers perfect speed board conditions. Heads up for the crabs on the beach, they are not used to humans.
How to Get There
From JHB, Durban or Cape Town you can fly direct to Mauritius using Air Mauritius or SAA return for roughly about R 7 000 (US$ 860) and then a connecting flight onwards on Air Mauritius for about R 1 700 (US$ 210) return to Rodrigues, which takes approximately 45 minutes. There is a baggage limit of 20 kg on Air Mauritius to Rodrigues, and this includes sport equipment. What more do you need other than your kite equipment, board shorts and a passport?
There are two international hotels on the island:
The Cotton Bay on the north-east coast which has its own little beach, and the Mourouk Ebony on the south-east coast where the Osmosis kitesurf centre is based.
The accommodation here is awesome, offering a wide range of sporting activities and games for children and a perfect holiday spot for a family with kids. Room rates are about R 750 (US$ 92) per room per night.
In a small corner of paradise, next to the Mourouk Ebony is a charming guest lodge called la Belle Rodriguaiseoffering you a peaceful place with twelve fully furnished en-suite rooms available to those seeking authenticity, tranquillity and exoticism, in a quiet place surrounded by beaches. (See Video)
Video: LeBelle Hotel Rodrigues
On your days off you can enjoy free cooking classes on request, as well as massage, swimming pool and spa. Hiking and mountain bike hire are also available. Make sure to use Kitespotters as a reference here and you will receive great discounts. Room rates cost about R 600 (US$ 74) per room per night.
Food & Beer
Rodrigues is famous for its dry octopus, salted fish and pickled chillies! Also look out for “Rougaille saucisse” – a red sauce with sausages, black lentils and white rice.
If you want international cuisine as well as local dishes, go to the restaurants in the hotels: ‘Le Bois d’Ebene’ in the Mourak Ebony. Or try “Le Capitaine” in Port Mathurin. It’s worth trying some of the little local shops for their cuisines, but be selective on items, you will know what I mean when you enter this little ‘spaza’ shop in the middle of nowhere. The Rodriguans are predominantly Creole and pride themselves on their warm hospitality so don’t feel shy to say hello.
Alcohol in the hotels is very expensive, so if you are up for a local Phoenix beer, try the local spaza shops which cost roughly R 12 (US$ 1.48) a beer or dare to try their local Green Island rum for about R 80 (US$ 9.80) a bottle.
Unless you get invited to the owner of Mourak Ebony’s infamous cocktail parties, you came to the wrong island for a party. The island pretty much shuts down when the sun sets. So stock up those beers and enjoy the island tranquillity.
The islands are prone to tropical cyclones from December to February. April to June and September to November are usually the most pleasant months. The air temperatures vary between 14ºC and 22ºC in winter and average about 30ºC in summer. Take light, comfortable clothing and protective wear for the tropical sun and rain. Don’t forget to pack insect repellent, personal medication and your toiletries. Water temperatures are roughly 18ºC so wetsuits are not necessary.
Visit the Kitespotters website for detailed reviews on kitesurfing spots in Southern Africa.