Independent Online

Monday, July 4, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

Epic Durban to Cape Town plastic awareness swim needs funding

Ultra-distance swimmer Sarah Ferguson on her epic Durban to Cape Town swim to raise awareness of plastic pollution.

Ultra-distance swimmer Sarah Ferguson on her epic Durban to Cape Town swim to raise awareness of plastic pollution.

Published Mar 29, 2022


Durban - South African ultra-distance swimmer, Sarah Ferguson’s Durban to Cape Town swim to increase awareness around plastic pollution needs extra funding.

Upon reaching Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape, she completed 516.49km just over half of the 1 500km she set out to cover.

Story continues below Advertisement

"I started this journey to alert people to the realities of plastic pollution and show people what can be done to tackle this global problem," said the founder of non-profit organisation, Breathe Conservation.

"I'm swimming through Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to showcase the incredible coastline we enjoy in South Africa, and am stopping along the way to engage with local communities about ocean conservation and beach clean-up initiatives."

Ferguson embarked on this adventure on February 21 from the Durban Undersea Club (DUC) and is accompanied by a team of supporters who are monitoring her progress.

She is swimming the distance in stages, aiming for four-to-five-hour swims at a time with rest days every so often.

Throughout every stage, Ferguson is actively documenting the experience on videos and infographics which are being shared online. The stats include the distances covered per day, the weather, water quality, number of strokes, marine creatures she's encountered – and the plastic count.

While she's enjoyed significant encounters with numerous marine life – gannet, hammerhead shark, dolphins and orange jellyfish among them – as well as positive engagements with welcoming communities, the journey is not without its challenges.

Story continues below Advertisement

These include water visibility, as well as rapidly decreasing water temperatures the closer she gets to Cape Town.

Ferguson is no stranger to challenging adventures.

In 2019, she became the first person to swim around Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and, in 2017 she made history by becoming the first woman from the African continent to complete the 46km Kai'wi Channel between the Hawaiian islands of Oahu and Molokai.

Story continues below Advertisement

She said: "We have officially finished the first major stage of our One Ocean Swim, and what a ride it's been! I managed the last 10km in cooler 23-degree water in 2 hours about 3km off the back line, before jumping in the boat to meet the most incredible crew from East London. We were given a massive welcome with hot showers and hot chocolate before heading to our home base.

"I am incredibly overwhelmed by the support and love and donations of food, cash, accommodation and encouragement on this journey. It's been a crazy wild ride but we are here and hope to keep going as soon as possible. Thank you is not enough!"

Speaking on Tuesday, Ferguson said: "Yesterday was our last day of swimming unless we get more funding. The team and I have given everything we have to get this far and want nothing more than to get to Mossel Bay by May. We are doing this for the ocean, not for ourselves."

Story continues below Advertisement

Ferguson and her One Ocean Swim team are reliant on the generosity of conservation-minded sponsors to complete this epic journey. The team is aiming to raise around R3 million which will cover all costs to get to Cape Town, as well as funding for educational talks to communities between June and November. During these six months, the team takes a break while waiting for the weather to improve and the swimming to resume.

To support the One Ocean Swim and follow the journey, check out:

  • Facebook:
  • Instagram:
  • LinkedIn:
  • BackaBuddy:
  • Website:

The Independent on Saturday