Top 5: Dive Sites in South Africa

by Benjamin Kerns

Mar 19, 2018

diving © Fiona Ayerst |

Top 5 / Africa

South Africa’s coastline is a 2,735-kilometer stretch of pristine sand and lush wildlife landscapes that border two oceans. Diving has been a popular sport in the country for decades and the often turbulent waters hide some of the most beautiful sea creatures and reefs on Earth.

Aliwal Shoal

The Marine Protected Area just five kilometers off the shore of Umkomass Beach is a renowned diving destination due to the variety available here. Aliwal Shoal holds open water, advanced, wreck and shark diving. The Produce and Nebo wreck sites are some of the world’s largest and in the winter up to 150 ragged-tooth sharks can be seen on a single dive.

Protea Banks

Protea Banks is ranked among the top shark and game fish dives in the world. The fossilized sand dune reef off the shore of Shelley Beach houses hundreds of sharks and pelagics throughout the year. In the summer Zambezi sharks, humpback whales, hammerheads, kingfish, barracuda, snappers and manta rays all flock to the area.

Sodwana Bay

Sodwana Bay houses 7 Mile Reef, easily one of the most popular dive sites on Earth. Here you’ll find 95 species of soft and hard coral wherein live more than 1,200 species of fish, turtles, rays, sharks and more. The Northern Wall and Amphitheatre are where you’ll find the largest collections, while the Golden Coral Tree lays claim to an enormous amount of sea goldies.

Plettenberg Bay

Plettenberg Bay on the Western Cape is where you’ll find the Grootbank, an incredible, maze-like reef full of striking topography. The caves and drop-offs here are difficult to navigate but inside you’ll discover an array of starfish, soft corals, sponges, red roman, pyjama shysharks and sea fans.

Evans Peak

Evans Peak is cited as one of the 10 coldest dive sites on Earth. It’s also startlingly beautiful. The two soaring reefs here rise up 15 meters above the water and descend another 40 below. The area around Evans Peak is also home to the Sardine Run, where thousands of the fish race through the region between April and May.



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