As the summer months draw closer we take the plunge and showcase some of our favorite diving spots around South Africa
Aliwal Shoal, KwaZulu Natal
Aliwal Shoal is one of South Africa’s ‘signature dives’ and is recognized as one of the top dive sites found throughout the world and it’s not hard to see why. If you want to see sharks, then Raggie Cave and Shark Alley are the dive sites for you. Famed for their unbelievable shark sightings, expect to see tiger sharks, ragged-tooth sharks and even hammerheads. This stunning 80,00 year old sandstone reef became a heavily protected area in 2005. The Shoal runs in a north to south direction and due to the lovely warm waters, visibility is usually excellent.
As well as the incredible marine life, there are also two wrecks to explore in Aliwal Shoals; The Produce and The Nebo, both of which offer adventure around every corner.
Mossel Bay, Garden Route
The Garden Route, South Africa is one of the country’s favorite getaways. With the stunning scenery and numerous coastal towns to explore, there is something for everyone, both on land and under the surface. Mossel bay is home to some of the most fascinating underwater landscapes. With its colorful reefs, spectacular drop-offs, abundant marine life and the ability to cage dive with the Great White Sharks; there are dives available to suit all levels of scuba diver. If you manage to get to this incredible area, make sure you take part in a night dive, where you will see a number of wild and wacky creatures, which emerge once night falls.
Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape
If you don’t mind the cold, or own a dry suit, then get yourself to the reefs that surround Port Elizabeth. Avalanche Reef is known for its incredible topography and spectacular colors. With it’s densely populated reef, this dive will certainly fill you with a sense of wonder and amazement. As well as Avalanche Reef, why not dive an incredible wreck known as the Haerlem Wreck, a navy frigate that was sunk in 1987, which is now home to some sensational soft corals, fish and sharks that hide in every nook and cranny.
Sodwana Bay, KwaZulu Natal
Sodwana Bay, known by the locals as ‘Sordies’. If you love nature, above and below the surface, then this location is perfect for you. Sodwana Bay is part of a heavily protected marine and coastal reserve, which means that the marine life has been given the ability to flourish. Not only will you see impressive Zambezi and tiger sharks, you will also see huge schools of fish, tiger angelfish, butterfly fish, long-nose hawkfish, rays, eels and keep a special look out for Mantas. Whether you’re learning to dive, or want to test your skills with a technical dive, Sodwana Bay has it all, including warm waters. If you find yourselves at this location throughout the summer months, then you may even see turtles laying their eggs on one of the many beaches that surround this stunning protected park.
Sardine Run – Protea Banks, KwaZulu Natal
This unbelievable spectacle of Mother Nature happens annually and starts just north of Port Elizabeth moving quickly up the coast, to a site called Protea Banks in KwaZulu Natal. Taking place during the months of June and July, massive schools of sardines start their migration from the colder waters of the Cape and move to the warmer waters of KwaZulu Natal to birth their young. The ocean awakes and the thrill is simply indescribable
You will experience this natural phenomenon, cage-less and free, as you dive to depths of about 5-7 meters and watch the scene unfold around you. Dolphins, fish of prey, whales, sharks and even the Cape Gannet, all on a mission to catch their piece of the sardine buffet.