Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Gondolas in South Africa

Now and then I get to post something up that I'm sure will capture the interest of my readers.
And every once in a while, I come upon something I believe most of you have never seen.
I think today's post satisfies both criteria.
My friends, allow me to introduce to you:
Gondolas in South Africa.

The company name is "Zulumoon Gondolas", and they operate primarily on the east coast of South Africa in the city of Durban.
Proprietor Jeff Livingston has seven boats and has recently begun operating in Cape Town as well.
Livingston not only runs the operation, he designed and built the boats too. He wrote:
"I designed the boats myself after trying out the idea with a 5 meter long Canadian canoe which I modified to take 2 people sitting side by side."
The gondolas are 7.5 meters long (a little more than 24 feet), propelled by electric trolling motors, and have quite a unique design. Livingston strove to design boats with a decidedly African flair. The ferro and tail decoration serve as good examples, but the holes in both bow and stern are what I couldn't stop looking at.
I asked Jeff about the holes and his explanation was surprising:
"Those holes in the bow and stern of my boats were introduced to reduce wind resistance and look great as a style, especially with each hole being reduced in size as you climb the boat ends."
I had expected the holes to simply be aesthetic, turns out they help a lot in reducing the windage at both ends.
To further enhance the African theme, the cushions and uniforms are done in ethnic prints. We all have our own interpretations on the gondola theme, and while this may seem far from the Venetian mark, it's done well and the passengers love it.
A website is under construction. In the mean time, you can see the Zulumoon Gondolas online at:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That african gondola looks a bit strange, because those series of holes make it look like the handle of a high-tech knife.

I mean something like this.

Otherwise the wind resistance issue is definitely worth consideration. What about a ferro with a vertical hinge or some way to lessen the wind's effect on the raised rear? Those could be helpful for venetian gondolas as well.