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TOP DIVING SITES IN SOUTH AFRICA

Posted on Monday, 20th Jul 2015

If you are looking for a quiet stroll through a coral garden or you want to hear your own adrenaline addled heartbeat as you get up close and personal with great white sharks, South Africa is a world-class diving destination that offers what you seek. Home to a diversity of marine species, divers of all experience levels are accommodated for. Here is a list of some of the top dive locations in South Africa:

Protea Banks, KwaZulu Natal
The Protea banks is a reef about 7 km off the shore of South Africa near Margate. The main diving attraction of this area, apart from the large numbers of bull sharks and tiger sharks there, occurs between the months of June and July and is known as the ‘Sardine Run’. As the hordes of sardines migrate east along the coastline, from the cold Cape waters to the warmer KwaZulu Natal region, a large spectacle of marine life comes to feast on the torrents of fish. A dive as shallow as five metres will immerse you in all the action of the annual ‘Sardine Run’.

Aliwal Shoal, KwaZulu Natal
Recognised as one of the top ten dive sites in the world, Aliwal Shoal is well-known for its ragged-tooth, tiger and hammerhead shark sightings. The reef is also inhabited by many kinds of hard and soft corals and a variety of tropical and subtropical fish species. It’s located about 50km south of Durban near the town of Umkomaas on KwaZulu Natal’s southern coastline. There are also two wrecks near the reef that are popular recreational dive sites.

Sodwana Bay, KwaZulu Natal
Classified as one of the top dive sites in the world this vibrant 50 km reef boasts a huge array of coral, sponge and other invertebrate species as well as around 1200 fish species. This marine and coastal reserve is a nature lover’s paradise. Sodwana Bay has dive sites to suit beginners and technically advanced experts alike. The bay is famous for visits by endangered marine megafaunas including Whale sharks, Great White Sharks, Manta rays, critically endangered Leatherback turtles, Loggerhead sea turtles, and even Coelacanths, the 'living fossil'.

Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape
Although a bit chilly, the reefs around Port Elizabeth make it worth braving the icy waters. The Haerlem, a navy frigate scuttled in 1987, is a fascinating wreck teeming with beautiful soft corals, shysharks, and a variety of fish to be found in the countless nooks and crannies. This area also features Avalanche Reef, a popular dive site featuring overhangs and profound crevices. This rough reef has a length of 150 to 200 meters and reaches depths between 17 and 28 meters.

Mossel Bay, Garden Route
South Africa’s Garden Route is undoubtedly one of the country’s most popular and beautiful getaway destinations. The same can be said for the aquatic landscape, most particularly so at Mossel Bay. There is plenty to see in the form of colourful corals during the day and freaky fish if you prefer a night dive. This area also offers the adventurous opportunity to go cage-diving with great white sharks

South Africa is home to a prosperity of professional diving operators that will cater to your needs, whether your skillset is beginner or advanced. There is just as much to see in these underwater wonderlands as there is above the water, in terms of landscape and wildlife, and should therefore be a must-see for any diver ‘worth their salt’.

Posted in Jewels of Southern Africa

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