South African has well over 2700 kilometers of coastline. On one side is the Atlantic Ocean and on the other is the Indian Ocean. This multicultural country is one of the best places to go scuba diving with turbulent waters that offer some of the most spectacular underwater sights.
Whether you are an oceanic photographer, in which case you will need the best lenses for underwater photography, or a recreational diver, diving in south Africa offers experiences for every skill set. Under its waters are tropical reefs as well as temperate reefs and you can have some of the best diving here when you take a plunge into the cold waters.
These are the 10 best dive spots in south Africa.
1. 7-Mile, Sodwana Bay, Kwa-Zulu Natal
This is among the best diving spots in all of south Africa and indeed the world. You can access it in Kwa-Zulu natal at one of the best heritage sites in south Africa called the Isimangaliso wetland park.
Here you can find over 95 different species of coral and thousands of fish species, including dolphins and manta rays. One of the things that sets Sodwana bay diving apart is the rare sighing of the coelacanth, a fish that was thought to have gone extinct over 70 million years ago.
And the best Sodwana bay diving spot is the 7-mile reef. Get in through the northern wall and see the ampetheatre as you swim over gullies and swim throughs and take it all the spectacular sights here including the numerous numbers of invertebrates.
It’s easy to spot the pelagic fish as they swim by. As you swim to the western part of the reef you will come across the infamous green coral tree. This provides a home to a large number of goldies plus many other small fish.
And if you want to view some ragged tooth sharks and get close to them then head out to the ¼ mile reef diving spot. Also, its crucial to understand scuba diving with sharks to remain safe. During the months of January and February is when they are gestating as this is when the waters of the Indian ocean are warmest.
2. Grootbank, Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape
Grootbank is simply extensive with a reef that is home to a huge variety of fish and other marine life. Swim throughs, caves and drop-offs are just part of the diversity and the varied marine life includes the ragged tooth sharks.
The roof of the Grootbank consist of soft coral, sponges, starfish, and sea fans. This is also the home to the pajama shy sharks, the yellow belly rock cod and the red roman.
3. Cathedraw, Aliwal shoal, kwa-zulu natal
The most famous dive site at Aliwal shoal is Cathedral. If you are an underwater nature lover or you simply enjoy taking photographs, Cathedral is definitely the site for you. The topography here is mind blowing and offers a refuge to a diverse variety of marine life.
One of the striking features about cathedral is the open roof ampetheatre that is 20 meters long in diameter and this dive spot will allow you to spot humpback whales as they make their way to the North. Another important skill you will need is to know how long should a scuba tank last.
4. Mossel Bay, Garden Route
The garden route in south Africa is among the most favourite tourist destinations owing to the natural sights and the interesting towns. However, diving in south Africa offers a whole different type of experience and this is especially so at the Mossel bay dive spot.
You will come across some colorful drop offs, and is home to some very impressive fish. Divers can get into a cage to watch the great white shark. And the great thing about Mossel bay is that divers of all experience level can take the plunge.
You can also take things a step further by diving at night. There are many beautiful sea creatures that swim out of their hiding places when it gets dark.
5. Clifton rock, western cape
This is a rocky reef that is found inshore located at the sea bed of the Atlantic Ocean around Clifton. This makes it a shore dive and is among the most popular dive sites anywhere in south Africa. The topography of Clifton rock consists of granite boulders that get as high as 5 meters out of the water.
There are plenty of swim throughs that are just absolutely fun and many secret areas that are home to diverse species of marine life. These could include the nudibranchs, crayfish, soft sponges as well as star fish.
6. Pineapple, Rock tail, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Erocktail is one of the exclusive dive spots in south Africa and is among the best places that you can dive in the world. In fact, the whole area is a world heritage site situated in Maputuland Marine reserve. Marine life here has been under constant protection for many years which has allowed it to thrive.
Among the longest dive sites here is pineapple reef. You will start off shallow as the dive site slowly begins to widen resulting in ledges and coral reefs. It derives its name from the pineapple fish as this is where the fish was first seen. You can view the pineapple fish over the summer months.
Potato bass also call the reef home and will swim up to the divers to enjoy a much-needed scratch and tickle right under their chins. Other marine life that you will definitely encounter include the anemones, as well as clownfish, porcelain crabs, partner shrimps and domino fish.
You will also view moray eels, black cheek, and sharp-nosed stingrays, that will come to rest on the bottom sands as well as huge schools of fusiliers, scads, chubs, slinger, paper fish, tiger and egg cowrie shells. The marine life here is varied and comes in all shapes, sizes and colors.
To remain safe especially when diving in areas where you could find moray eels, it’s important to learn diving with moray eels.
7. Evans Peak, Port Elizabeth western cape
Watch out as you are about to dive into some pretty cold waters. In fact, this is among the 10 coolest dive sites in the world so you may need to bring a dry suit with you. But don’t let that deter your ambitions as it is also one of the most beautiful underwater worlds anywhere in the world.
This famous dive spot is named after the two reefs that rise up to 15 miters above the surface of the sea. The more you descend, the narrower the reef gets as you slowly go down to around 40 meters. This place is adorned with a stunning array of sea life and is truly a remarkable site as you make your way to the bottom.
And if there is one thing that port Elizabeth is known for it has to be the sardine run. There is nowhere on earth where fish are concentrated in such huge numbers and if you take a dive during this time of year, you are guaranteed of an experience unlike any other during mid-April to May.
You can also plan your diving in south Africa between October and February for spectacular views of the southern right whales. To maintain buoyancy with the least effort, its great to learn how to do proper scuba trim with scuba trim weights.
8. A-Frame Simons town, Western cape
Situated just 5km to the south of Simons town, you will find A-frame. This dive site derives its name from the structure of the cave entrance that seems to look like the letter A. You can easily access this dive site from the shore. This also means that you can make a night dive and see the marine life come to life with spectacular sights.
A good dive compass will help you navigate your way back
At the back of the A-cave is a rock that directs you to a small cave. This is the perfect place to spot rays, shy sharks and other larger fish. Also, if you are an underwater photographer you will simply love being at the A-frame as the boulders are filled different colored fish and other marine life.
9. Protea Banks, Shelley Beach, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Protea banks is one of the most unique reefs in south Africa and features some breathtaking topography. Here you will find plenty of game fish which will include barracuda, tuna, snapper and kingfish.
These in turn attract predators such as bull sharks, and tiger sharks. In fact, you may see more than 5 different types of sharks here owing to the abundant prey.
10. Storms River mouth, Mossel Bay, Western Cape
Mossel bay is known by divers all over south Africa as having some of the best and moderate climate anywhere in the world. You are going to have around 320 sunny days each year making it a perfect dive location for people who want to plunge into the deep blue during colder months.
This is pretty much the same situation that you may find in Hawaii
You are going to see some of the best and most radiant reefs anywhere at storms river mouth. It is also home to some bigger fish. Even better is that you can take the plunge when it gets dark for a completely new and exhilarating experience. In this case you may need the best dive lights.
Globo Surf Overview
South Africa with its thousands of kilometers of coastline comes with plenty of dive sites such as Sodwana bay diving that are suited for divers of any experience. Some waters can get cold though so make sure you bring a wet suit or dry suit.
More Scuba Reviews:
- Dive Watches Under 500
- Ladies Dive Watch
- Underwater Scooter
- Scuba Regulator
- Scuba Diving In Malta
- Night Diving
- Negative Buoyancy
- Diving Indonesia
- Diving In Iceland
- Diving at Evan’s peak, port Elizabeth, sa-venues.com