Bordered on one side by the Atlantic Ocean and, on the other, by the Indian Ocean, South Africa is a popular destination for scuba diving, mostly for the richness and variety of its marine fauna. The 3 diving destinations of Protéa banks, KwaZulu Natal and Aliwal Shoal are recognized as part the best dive sites in the world. Let’s discover together its best dive spots and diving trips.
Sardine Run, the most popular diving event in South Africa
From June to July, the Sardine Run is a unique experience. Millions of sardines migrate, from the cold waters of the Cape to the warmer waters of Mozambique in order to breed in better conditions. The show is spectacular, sardine banks, sometimes a few kilometers long, are attacked by predators such as sharks, dolphins, sea lions or swordfishs. Those predators arise from everywhere, while thousands of birds plunge to participate in the feast. If you are interested, book in advance, as the demands is very high and the places limited!
Protea Banks is a huge reef in the south of Durban, in the Kwazulu Natal region, whose wildlife will leave you panting. You’ll have incredible encounters, hammerhead sharks, bull sharks, blackhead sharks, leopard sharks, tiger sharks, bulldog sharks … All these species come to eat the tuna that abound on the site. But be aware that if the waters are warm and the visibility excellent, the currents on the other hand are violent, the dives are therefore reserved for experienced divers.
For a dive holiday, the reef of Aliwal Shoal is a must for divers of all levels. A large number of tiger sharks, bull sharks, hammerhead sharks, are inhabiting its warm waters. You can also come across groupers, attracted by the magnificent soft corals and sponges that cover the rock formations. Very strong currents make dive conditions very sporty, but beginners will find many accessible dive sites.
Two famous dive sites will delight inexperienced divers, the North-Eastern Pinnacles, where they will be able to observe clownfish, moray eels, potato grouper, and the dive site Inside Edge, where they will admire many species such as lion fishes, moray eels, and sometimes even rays and dolphins. To view shoals of hammerhead sharks and tiger sharks, you will prefer the spot of Outside Edge.
You can also explore the shipwrecks of Aliwal Shoal, SS Nébo, a steamboat sunk in 1884, MV Produce, a Norwegian boat that has been lying in the water since 1974, and the sailboat Alwal which gave its name to the reef.
The Garden Route
The Garden Route and its fascinating underwater scenery is also a must. You will love its colorful reefs, its spectacular falls and the abundant wildlife. You can also dive in cages with great white sharks or dive at night to discover incredible creatures. Good news, diving is accessible to everyone.
Near the southern border of Mozambique, you will find a superb protected nature reserve, Sodwana Bay. Its seabed is breathtaking. There are 1,200 species of fishes and 50 species of coral. There is plenty of marine life, including bulldog sharks and tiger sharks, gigantic schools of fish, eels, angelfish tiger, butterfly fish and much more. And, with a bit of luck, you will be able to meet whale sharks and humpback whales.