NO MATES NO WORRIES
Travelling alone isn’t a bad thing and can open you up to some truly epic experiences. We asked Sara Jolly from KiteWorldWide to give us the low down on where to go when you’re going it alone!
I travel a lot on my own, not because I have no mates (hopefully), but more because my friends are either not into kiting or we can never find a date that fits everybody due to work, family, life commitments etc.
I used to feel a bit concerned about travelling on my own. Will I look odd if I turn up as ‘billy no mates’? Who will help launch or land my kite and what happens if I need rescuing?
Now I don’t care, I actually like travelling on my own, meeting new people and having the freedom to be whoever I want to be when I am away. I actually secretly (don’t tell him) feel a bit gutted that my mate Dan has finally learnt to kite as he now wants to join me on my trips.
So here are the top eight destinations with options for everyone, whether you want to kick back and relax or party like there is no tomorrow.
For the relaxed vacation experience…
If you want a kite holiday that is relaxed, allows you to get away from the stress of day to day life and meet new people, with evenings that are more about a few drinks and good conversation; rather than partying until you forget your own name – then here you go:
Kalypita Sri Lanka
The Kiteworldwide Lodge is a boutique lodge built to a European standard right on the lagoon. I was there in January and there was wind every day except one. In the winter months the wind direction means you can kite close to home on the lagoon or the ocean. The lodge has eight rooms which look out across the lagoon and a further eight around the pool. Enough rooms to create a nice atmosphere, but not so many that you feel lost. It is all about community feeling so they have a big long table where breakfast and dinner is served. This gives you the instant feeling that you have 10 friends straight away and lunch is served right on the spot so you can kite all day.
Not the best place for a beginner, but if you are already up and riding then it is a stunning island with blue skies, sunshine and wind. Kiteworldwide have the most beautiful house on the island, which is located on the edge of Santa Maria and just five minutes from Kite Beach. You also have the best wave riders in the world to watch and be inspired by. If you are looking to venture or progress with your wave riding skills then this is the place for you. If you can hook up with Mitu at his kite school (Mito & Djo Kite school) at Kite Beach then you have great instruction and insider knowledge on the best spots to kite as well as places to go once the sun sets. You can also join Mitu on his wave clinic exclusively with Kiteworldwide.
The Moroccan culture is rooted in sharing and welcoming all. If you turn up at a Moroccan house you will automatically be given food, drink and made to feel part of the family. This is what Kiteworldwide have created with their Riad in Essaouira. It only has six bedrooms, so it’s cosy and friendly – it’s your home from home. From a wind perspective the season is long, kicking off in March and finishing around the end of November and when the wind doesn’t blow there are always waves. Essaouira is all about great food, good kiting and the laid-back Moroccan life.
If you are travelling on your own and want to meet people who are at the same kite level as you and push yourself to the next level, then there are some great kite camps and clinics out there. Check out the details carefully and my advice is pick the one that you think you will like the person who is emailing or speaking to you on the phone about the clinic. As clinics are as much about the rapport you have with the other people as it is about the kiting. I would personally shout out for Kite-Sisters, which is run by Chelu and Octavia, their camps are girls only. They have 5 different destinations; including Peru, Essaouira, Belize, Mexico and Dominican Republic. They now combine kiting, surfing, yoga and good times.
For those who want to go hard on and off the water…
If you want to party as hard as you kite each day then the below destinations will be right up your street.
Everyone has heard of Tarifa! I ended up living there for 6 years so Tarifa will always have a special place in my heart. It is known as the Kite Mecca of Europe and was described a few years ago as the new Ibiza. Although it is not quite at that level, when my friend Tom went there, his first comment to me was how can there possibly be this many beautiful people in the same place! You can drink Mojitos in Tumboa, (which has been voted one of the best chirinquitos in the world) or Tangana or Venta El Tito where you can combine Mojitos with some great food. Evenings all start off in the same corner at Tomatito and Taco Way for happy hour (10 – midnight), you can then head to La Ruina for dancing on the bars and realise at 6am when you walk / stumble from Café Del Mar that it is blowing a Levante so, after a couple of hours sleep, you head to the beach for the ultimate hangover cure – a few hours on the water! Then you do it all again..
This is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been with its white, white, white sandy beach and clear turquoise warm water. The wind season runs from December to March. I stayed at the Red Monkey Lodge in Jambiani (exclusive to KiteworldWide) from where you’ll have plenty of space on the water. One or two days I was the only one on the water at lunchtime. I kited mostly with a 12m kite, so light wind, but if you want to kite in your bikini or board shorts in 30°C/86°F water then this is the dream. The downwinder from Paje to Jambiani is also worth a trip as you can play along the reef. Red Monkey Crazy Mondays is an awesome night, live music, good vibes, drinks and then some more drinks. Red Monkey is all about bringing people together – spontaneous evenings turn into parties and good times.
To describe Cape Town – I would say numerous spots with a Cosmopolitan city all on your doorstep and the Kiteworldwide Mansion is the place to be – a luxury villa just 100m from sunset beach with nine rooms and a roof terrace pool. It’s your ultimate holiday where you are immediately immersed into a social circle of mates that you feel like you’ve known forever. Everybody kites together and then parties into the night. There are a huge number of bars and places to head. Surfa Rosa bar (owned by Jordie Smith) opened last year and has a cool vibe and nice crowd. For New Year you need to go to Kinky disco, they put on an awesome party on the mountain side, so it’s a bit like a friendly rave.
The island with the most beautiful beach in the world as well as a stretch of beach that is all about kiting, partying and good times. The good news is it’s also super cheap and you can have dinner and beer for just a few pounds / slightly more US dollars. Most kite clubs have a party each week so there’s always something going on somewhere and the only downside of Borocay is the water gets super busy -I used to kite at 6.30am to get my space on the water! You can however kite away from the crowds and head out to the back of the spot where you can find your own area easily and just kite back to the beach when you want to come in… Just be careful landing your kite as there are telephone lines and palm trees which have caught a few people out!