On the world Scuba Diving scene, South Africa is up there with the best of them offering superb diving variety, a huge diversity of marine species, spectacular coastal locations and inland, freshwater dive sites. If you are after exhilarating, wow factor diving then you have come to the right place!
South Africans are fortunate to have these diving Meccas right on their doorstep, and international visitors will be thrilled to discover that adding a diving trip onto their African wildlife safari is convenient and worthwhile.
Three words sum up diving in South Africa – VARIETY, BIODIVERSITY - WOW!
A whopping 2735 km of Atlantic and Indian Ocean coastline treats divers to an underwater extravaganza. Water temperatures range from 14°C/57°F in Cape Town’s False Bay to 27°C/80°F at Sodwana on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast. Don your favourite fins and experience everything from tropical reefs, kelp forests, temperate rocky reefs, sandy bottoms, caves, exhilarating surf launches, rich feeding grounds, rocky walls, pinnacles, ship wrecks and exquisite corals.
The species list is also out of this world! Divers have opportunities to see a multitude of different sharks including the great white and ragged tooth, Cape fur seals, giant swirling balls of sardines, stingrays, rock cod, dolphins, humpback whales, sailfish, turtles, enormous whale sharks, manta rays, seahorses, lobsters and the odd Cape Gannet diving for a meal. Shark enthusiasts should definitely include Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast to their itinerary for thrilling close encounters with an array of sharks especially ‘raggies’, bull sharks and hammerheads.
There are two events divers should add to their calendars. South Africa’s adrenaline-pumping Sardine Run is not to be missed and is possibly one of the most spectacular dives in the world. Annually between May and July, schools of sardines – billions of them – migrate from the Cape to Protea Banks with a vast assembly of predators in their wake. The ‘Chokka’ Run off Cape St Francis is also a fascinating spectacle where millions of squid gather to mate and spawn. While the squid congregate during summer in bays between the Cape and Port Elizabeth, the shallow chokka bank at Cape St Francis is one of the best places to experience this natural phenomenon.
Browse Dirty Boots’ handy summary of our recommended scuba diving operators in South Africa:
West Coast – Langebaan Divers offers a comprehensive range of dive courses in Langebaan Lagoon.
Cape Town – In Simon’s Town, join Apex Shark Expeditions for shark cage diving in False Bay and snorkeling/diving with seals near Duiker Island. Pisces Divers offers training, an on-site training pool and dive trips in False Bay.
Overberg – Xelant Diving offers training in their on-site pool and dive charters to Fisherhaven’s lagoon and from Hermanus harbour.
Garden Route – Join Adventure’s Edge Dive Centre in Mossel Bay for dive training and charters. Further east, explore Storms River Mouth in the Tsitsikamma National Park marine protected area with Untouched Adventures.
Eastern Cape & Wild Coast – Pro Dive’s three Dive Centres are located in Plettenberg Bay and Port Elizabeth offering courses, kids programmes and dive trips.
Free State – Learn to dive or refresh your skills in Pro Sport Diver’s 16m deep heated pool in Bloemfontein.
North West – Join Klerksdorp Scuba Club for training, underwater sports and dive trips. Miracle Waters Scuba Resort in Brits offers courses and recreational dives in a warm spring water lake.
Gauteng – Head to Henley on Klip for inland diving with Bass Lake Adventures who offer training and social diving in a 23m deep, spring-fed lake. Calypso Dive & Adventure in Johannesburg offers an on-site training facility and dive trips.
Durban & KwaZulu-Natal North Coast – Learn to dive with Clubventure near Ballito who offer a range of courses. Explore uShaka Marine World’s aquarium with Calypso Dive & Adventure Centre or join one of their training courses or sea dives. Discover Sodwana Bay’s stunning coral reefs with Triton Dive Lodge, and luxurious Thonga Beach Lodge on Mabibi beach offers scuba diving in warm, pristine seas.
South Coast KwaZulu Natal – Experience the Aliwal Shoal diving Mecca with Aliwal Dive Centre in Umkomaas for an incredible shark diving adventure.