Diving

Diving in South Africa

SODWANA BAY – NORTH COASTLINE OF KWAZULU NATAL

Sodwana Bay is situated approximately 4,5 hours drive from Durban in a north easterly direction. Sodwana Bay is the only tropical dive site in South Africa and is considered to be amongst the most attractive. To reach the dive site, divers, aboard a chartered boat, carefully mind the strong waves on route, almost completing their first obstacle of the day.

From October through to April, Sodwana Bay is a preferred breeding ground for water turtles. The egg laying process can be viewed during a night safari on the beachfront.
Visibility at dive sites is on average 12 meters, however if in luck, reaching up to 40 meters. Diving is offered throughout the year. Water temperature in the summer months (October to April) does not fall below 20C and reaches up to 29 C.

    >> Detailed dive site description

ALIWAL SHOAL/ROCKY BAY – SOUTHERN COASTLINE KWAZULU NATAL

Umkomaas, “whale’s place”, – is a very attractive quaint peaceful city, only 45 minutes south of Durban. The name is derived from the MHKOMANZI river, named by the Zulu King Chaka, who enjoyed observing the whales giving birth to their calves. Across from the city’s coastline, stands a large sand barrier – “Aliwal”, named by James Anderson after his vessel, which almost sunk in 1849. Today Aliwal Shoal attracts divers from all over the world.
The famous sea researcher, Jacque Custo (1910-1997) identified Aliwal Shoal, as one of the most interesting and exciting diving sites in the world. Aliwal Shoal is a breeding ground for the famous ragged tooth sharks – Raggie.

Although large in size and intimidating to look at, Raggie are absolutely harmless and are most visible from June to November. It is common to see the Raggie in packs of 15-20 at a time. Other inhabitants of Aliwal Shoal are the giant ray fish, sea perch as well as whales, dolphins and whale sharks.
Visibility at dive sites is not less then 8 meters, however if in luck, up to 40 meters is a possibility. Diving is offered throughout the year. Water temperature in the summer months (October to April) reaches up to 28°C and does not fall below 18°C –22°C in winter.

    >> Detailed dive site description

MARGATE – SOUTHERN COASTLINE OF KWAZULU NATAL

Margate is situated on the southern coastline of Natal, only 2 hours away from Durban. In recent years, it has become one of the most popular beach resorts and a paradise for scuba divers. On average, visibility is 10m, but can reach up to 40m depending on weather conditions. Diving is offered all year around. Water temperature is between 20°C-24°C.

    >> Detailed dive site description

WESTERN CAPE – CAPE POINT

Colorful flora and fauna influence this site. Numerous reefs, founded deeps and highs, laying rocks have built an exciting “labyrinth” of caves and tunnels. Due to the ruthless storms, this ocean bed became the “graveyard” for ships. Good to know that most of those sunk vessels are lying on a reachable depth.
Diving in the district of Cape Point depends mostly on a direction of the predominating wind. A phenomenal occurrence, called “upwelling”, created by the influence of the southern-easterly wind, blowing through Falsе Bay, is visible in summer (October to April). Storm wind, blowing through the eastern coastline, accompanied by the power of the revolving earth, push out surface waters into the open ocean, lifting the cold deep waters from the bottom all the way up. During this time, harbors and bays of the Atlantic, create the gorgeous turquoise reefs with amazing sites. Almost the opposite occurrence is created by the northern-southerly wind, occurring in winter (May-September).

Diving is recommended at False Bay (the eastern coastline of Cape Point) in winter, in relatively warm waters (12°C-18°C), and along the southern coastline in summer (water temperature is from 8°C to 10°C).
Visibility rarely exceeds 15m (however during the “upwelling” time, can reach 20m and even up to 30m), thus a torch becomes a necessity.

    >> Detailed dive site description

WESTERN CAPE – GANSBAAI (Required qualification: Open Water).

Established by fishermen in 1881, Gansbaai – “Goose Island” is situated only 2,5 hours drive in the easterly direction from Cape Town. Just a few years ago, the Gansbaai was a small fishing village with a small harbour, a fish processing plant, few shops and pubs. Due to the Dyer Island, situated only 12km away from the coastline, Gansbaai has really established itself as the tourists Mecca.

The Dyer Island is a famous bird sanctuary island where you will find Jackass penguins, cormorants as well as a colony of more than 30000 Cape fur seals, the biggest attraction for a Big White Shark. Gansbaai is known as the best place in the World to observe these predators in action.

Daily, weather permitting, cutters full of seeking adventure daredevils, depart for “Passive Hunting” in the direction of the Dyer Island. After 20-30 minute boat ride, cutter will anchor near the island. Chopped fish is used as bait. After an hour waiting, sharks come to the cutter, surrounding it, often curiously sticking out their heads for patting.
Now, it is time for the brave ones to descend under the water in a metal cage for shark watching and to capture this unforgettable moment on camera. This adventure is guaranteed to be remembered for the rest of your life.

WESTERN CAPE – KNYSNA

Several world-class dive-sites are situated near the holiday resort, Knysna, which is in the “heart” of the famous Garden Route. There are exciting drift-dives, picturesque submarine reefs, sharks encounters as well as research of the remains of drawn vessels and the possibility to see rare inhabitants of these deep-sea waters. The inviting aquamarine to emerald green waters of the lagoon offer protected diving even when the sea is rough, so the visiting diver does not have to leave without getting wet. The visibility changes quickly with the tides and winds. The best time to dive is on high tide when the ocean water pushes in as far as the bottom bridge over the lagoon.
Average seawater temperature is 15°C.

    >> Detailed dive site description

WESTERN CAPE – PLETTENBERG BAY

The Pletenberg Bay is known as “millionaires’ playground” and is one of the most popular holiday resorts in South Africa.

Local lagoons, which were created, by Keurbooms and Bietou rivers are formed naturally for water sport. There is a 4km reef situated from the southern side of the lagoon, which is besides its protective action of the beach and the bay from the southern winds is also a Nature Reserve. This peninsula is enriched by the enormous bird life, small solitary bays, where tourists love to fish as well as famous for a large quantity, caves, full of seashells. Often referred to as “The Jewel of the Garden Route”, Plettenberg Bay is about the closest to absolute relaxation you can get. Surrounded by natural backdrops of the Outenique and Tsitsikamma Mountains and boasting many public nature reserves, it grabs the heart of every nature lover.

Scuba Diving is very popular and Plettenberg Bay boasts some very beautiful sites just waiting to be explored. Melt into the big blue and enjoy the peace and tranquillity that only the ocean can offer. Mountain biking, horse riding and hiking the many mountain trails are highly popular in the area and boredom is definitely nowhere to be found on the menu.
Any time of the year you can enjoy watching games of seals and dolphins as well as whales in spring (august-november). Water temperature is between 15 and 22°C.

    >> Detailed dive site description

Salute Africa offers the following diving tours:

    >> SP05 – Predators and Their Prey… Dive Safari On The Bottom Of The Ocean
    >> SP06 – Shark Diving Xtreme
    >> SP08 – Sardines Run – A Natural Phenomenon of Nature