Fishing in Africa

featherbed nature reserve in knysna, south africa fishing

Knysna, South Africa

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When it comes to fishing in Africa, the possibilities are endless. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Indian Ocean to the east, and both the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea to the north, there is ample choice when it comes to fishing opportunities.

Not only that but as the world’s second-largest continent, there is an abundance of freshwater and saltwater locations inland too, with a wide range of lakes, rivers and other bodies of water that are prime for fishing.

African sportfishing has often been overlooked in favor of other locations but, make no mistake about it, some of the best locations for fishing in the entire world can be found here – many of which are a lot quieter than your traditional fishing hotspots!

With so many great fishing locations on the African continent, one could go on seemingly without end. But, instead, we’ll highlight 4 prime fishing locations, against the backdrop of Africa’s vast geographical and cultural richness:

South Africa

South Africa provides some of the most tourist-friendly fishing opportunities that many will be accustomed to, mainly thanks to their fantastic location at the most southern point of the continent where the Atlantic and Indian Ocean’s currents meet. 

Freshwater fish can be found in many of the great locations inland also, and with over 150 species located within these locations, you could spend a lifetime trying to catch them all! Species such as bass, yellowfish, blue kurper, brown trout, carp and grass carp can be found, not to mention the now very popular catfish – known locally as the barbel.

A number of locations are worth checking out for freshwater fishing in South Africa, including Vaal River, Hartbeespoort Dam, Komati River, Lake Millstream and Lake Jozini, known for its Tiger fishing, to name a few.

For fans of deep-sea fishing, there are plenty of great locations along the entire coastline of South Africa. To the east coast, you will find many species that prefer the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean, while many cold-water fish can be found in the Atlantic Ocean along the western coast.

On the Eastern Cape and the coast of the KwaZulu-Natal Province, there are many charter boats waiting to take you on thrilling deep-sea fishing excursions. These can be hired from cities such as Durban and St Lucia, and species worth catching here include both black and blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, dorado, and a great number of shark species.

The Western Cape is home to a number of great species too, including various tuna such as bigeye, yellowfin, and longfin, as well as other species like dorado,  a variety of shark species and snoek, a long, slender barracuda-like fish popular with South Africans for its tastiness either smoked or grilled.

Cape Town is one of the largest cities along this coast, so hiring a good and affordable charter here should be simple enough. There are also plenty of other great deep-sea fishing locations along the Western Cape such as Struisbaai, Mossel Bay, and Whitsand.

Cape Verde

blue marlin fishing in cape verde

Cape Verde is comprised of a group of 10 volcanic islands situated in the Atlantic Ocean some 500 km off the west coast of Africa. Colonized by Portugal in the 15th century, Cape Verde has long been known for its vital location in the Atlantic Ocean as an important shipping route for centuries.

The main fishing attraction in Cape Verde is unquestionably the blue marlin. The blue marlin found in these waters carry quite the reputation and are known for reaching monstrous sizes.

Serious big game fishermen flock here to experience what can only be called Blue Marlin nirvana. Cape Verde has been providing world-class big game fishing for a long time to the few who discovered its potential but only now is the rest of the world catching up.

The islands have twice been winners of the World Cup Blue Marlin Championship (1998 and 2010) since being discovered by the international angling community. The 2010 Championship produced one of the biggest catches in the tournament’s 30-plus years history – a 1097 lbs (498 kg) specimen that put Cape Verde on the big game map forever.

Other big game fish that can find on deep-sea fishing excursions in Cape Verde are yellowfin tuna reaching some 300 lbs-plus as well as other popular species such as wahoo, barracuda, amberjack, and many species of shark.

Tourism is also very prominent on Cape Verde and many establishments cater to vacationers and anglers alike, so finding boats for charter and great accommodations shouldn’t be too difficult.

Lake Nasser, Egypt

Egypt remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Africa, with many breath-taking attractions worth seeing such as the Egyptian Pyramids, the Great Sphinx of Giza, and the Luxor Temple.

Therefore fishing may not appear to be a massive attraction in Egypt, but that are countless great locations worth checking out, most notably Lake Nasser. This man-made lake is one of the biggest of its kind and remains one of the best places in Africa to catch one of the continent’s most sought-out species – the Nile perch.

The lake is surrounded by a stunning desert landscape and fishing can be done both along the massive shoreline or deeper into the lake on a boat.

Anglers can expect to find some huge fish in the freshwater of Lake Nasser, including the aforementioned Nile perch (which can grow bigger than 6 ft and weigh more than 400 lbs!), bagrus catfish, tigerfish, and the air-breathing vundu catfish, a freshwater species so impressive it was featured in an episode of the Animal Planet’s popular tv show River Monsters.

Lake Nasser also marks an important route for migratory birds flying south from Europe, so bird-watching has also become a large tourist attraction for many, so you never know what kind of bird species you might spot here too!


deep sea fishing africa giant trevally

Giant Trevally

Zanzibar is a group of islands that are part of the African country of Tanzania, famous for its Serengeti National Park and Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak.

Located along the eastern coast of Africa, Zanzibar is located in the Indian Ocean and provides a fantastic opportunity for big game and deep-sea fishing.

The channel found between Zanzibar and Pemba Island has garnered a reputation for producing some of the best big game fishing locations in all of Africa, and the waters here are teeming with big fish ripe for catching.

Species known to frequent the surrounding waters of Zanzibar include barracuda, yellowfin tuna, mackerel tuna, wahoo, giant trevally, kingfish.

Seasonal billfish can also be found here too, including blue marlin and black marlin – sailfish can also be caught during this time too, although they remain far more elusive!

Zanzibar is also a very tourist-centric group of islands and, seeing as fishing makes a strong impact on its economy, it has become a fantastic location to head to for the fishing vacation of a lifetime. It shouldn’t be too hard to find a good boat to charter and English-speaking locals won’t be difficult to come by either.