Top 10 Scuba Diving Sites in South Africa – Part 1
The South African coastline offers a multitude of diving experiences, ranging from tropical reefs and wreck dives to shark and cage diving. No matter where you choose to dive in South Africa, you are guaranteed a memorable experience. The country’s long coastline is home to a huge variety of sea life and stunning reefs that will leave you awestruck.
There are a many places to enjoy scuba diving in South Africa. The warm Mozambique Current brings with it an array of marine species including different shark species, whales, manta and eagle rays, dolphins and turtles. As you head down the eastern coast, the underwater environment gradually transforms from warm water coral reefs into cool, but beautiful kelp forests as you near Cape Town.
First Car Rental has put together a collection of top 10 scuba sites to go diving in South Africa (Here’s the first 5, make sure you check in soon for the next addition).
1. Aliwal Shoal, KwaZulu-Natal
Aliwal Shoal has become internationally renowned as one of the best scuba diving sites in the world. The shoal, a rocky reef situated 5 kilometres off the village of Umkomaas, is roughly three kilometres in length and approximately one kilometre wide at its widest point.
There are many sites of interest on the shoal. The more famous include Raggies Cave/Shark Alley, Pinnacles, Cathedral, South Sands, North Sands, Inside Edge, Outside Edge, Chunnel and Manta Point.
2. Sodwana Bay, KwaZulu-Natal
Situated within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Sodwana Bay is the only tropical scuba diving site in South Africa. The reefs at Sodwana are believed to be the southern-most coral reefs in the world and offer a wide diversity of attractions.
Some are estimated to be over 4000 years old and contain many caves, overhangs and pinnacles. They are covered with soft and hard corals, and allow for fantastic scuba diving all year round.
3. Gansbaai, Western Cape
Gansbaai is known for its dense population of whales and great white sharks and offers some of the best diving in South Africa. If you’re brave enough to jump in the water with these colossal predators, cage diving excursions to Geyser and Dyer Island begin at Kleinbaai Harbour near Gansbaai.
The channel between these islands, known as “Shark Alley”, is renowned worldwide to be the best place to see, meet and cage dive with great white sharks. This little stretch of sea boasts the highest population of great white sharks in the world.
4. Storms River Mouth, Eastern Cape
The beauty of the Storm’s River mouth extends further than the picturesque scenery. Situated in the Tsitsikamma National Park in the Eastern Cape, the Storm's River Mouth dive site offers gorgeous reefs, big fish and some of the most attractive diving in South Africa. The area is protected from all forms of exploitation resulting in abundant fish and invertebrate life.
A unique river dive in the Storms River provides for the ultimate scuba diving experience filled with shark sightings as well as the chance to check out some awesome endemic fish species. Residents of the bay include red roman, mussel cracker, blacktail, zebra, juvenile, poenskop, streepies, sand sharks and eagle rays.
5. Wondergat, North West
Wondergat, the deepest natural hole in the interior of South Africa, is used for advanced scuba diving and as a training ground for instructors and technical divers. Approximately 1440 metres above sea level, Wondergat is an unbelievable natural dolomite sinkhole.
This site is not dived for its aquatic life, but rather for its depth and stunning caves. This is the only place in South Africa where Stromatolites, in very good condition, have been found underwater. Aquatic life in Wondergat includes the Banded Tilapia, which is endemic to the area, as well as the Sharptooth Catfish and Southern Mautbrooder.
So, make sure you jump in and explore South Africa’s top dive sites with First Car Rental. With 47 branches nationwide, getting from reef to reef is quick and easy. Contact First Car Rental here.