Scuba Diving Dive Sites KZN

KZN SOUTH COAST DIVING SITES

 

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In the Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks, KwaZulu-Natal's South Coast offers visitors two of the finest off-shore dive sites
on the planet, while the lush sub-tropical shoreline – with its 200 km of endless golden beaches, shore reefs, rocky
coves and gullies afford excellent snorkelling and spearfishing options

 

Dive Shops and Equipment

Dive Operators and Diving Instructors

Dive Sites

 

ALIWAL SHOAL
Premier amongst the offshore sites is the renowned Aliwal Shoal, so named for the barque 'Alawal' that nearly wrecked there in 1849. Situated some 4km off the Scottburgh/Umkomaas coastline, Alawal Shoal measures 1,5km long by 1km wide. A fossilised sand dune of sponges and hard and soft coral, it offers a variety of wreck and other dives, ranging from 3m to 37m in depth. For the adventurous there is also ‘Raggie Cave', where you glide mask-by-gill amongst numbers of large ragged-tooth sharks.

 

PROTEA BANKS

Another world-class dive site along KwaZulu-Natal's South Coast is the Protea Banks. Lying 7,5km off Shelly Beach and ranked one of the best shark and gamefish dives going. Protea Banks guarantees experienced and novice divers an unforgettable experience.

Measuring some 6km x 800 metre, Protea Banks serves up an intriguing blend of caves, ridges, pinnacles and amphitheatres at depths from 27 to 40 metres. Diving the southern and northern reefs will bring you face-to-face with Tiger, Guitar, Bull, Copper, Maco, Oceanic Reef and Hammerhead Sharks, while huge shoals of Ragged Tooths glide in from June to November.

Protea Banks is also the home of Giant Manta, Sting and Marble Rays, while amongst the myriad of gamefish you'll swim with great shoals of King Fish, Yellow Fin Tuna and Spanish Mackerel - known locally as Barracuda. The site also abounds with numerous species of colourful tropical reef fish and the occasional turtle, while nearer shore are several other interesting reefs.

REEFS

 

Adda Reef
Approximately 1.5m off Shelly Beach. Average depth 18m. Reef runs for about 500m north/south. Some deep caves with soft corals, anemones and many tropical reef fish.

 


Aliwal Shoal
World-renowned dive site, just 4 to 5km off Scottburgh/Umkomaas. A diverse range of marine life, with large numbers of ragged tooth sharks around ‘Cathedral’ - a 4m rock arch - being a main attraction.

 

Arena Reef
Located on Protea Banks, about 8 km off Shelly Beach. Average depth 28m. Access controlled by the Margate Tlc or the Shelly Beach Ski Boat Club. Ragged-tooth sharks, hammerhead sharks, Zambezi sharks, copper sharks or bronze whalers, threshers and even the great white shark have been identified in this area.

 

Bo Boyi Reef
A 5-minute boat ride off Shelly Beach. Average depth 15m. Can be murky in surgy conditions, or when rivers are in flood. Many caves and overhangs and large colonies of soft coral. Prolific fish life.

 

Cathedral
On the eastern edge of Aliwal Shoal off Umkomaas/Scottburgh. Average depth 27m. Dive very cautiously when there is a surge. A spectacular hole in the reef is home to many large stingrays, moray eels and ragged-tooth sharks. Great care must be taken not to create undue disturbance.

 

Cowrie Reef
Only 2km off Park Rynie beach, this is probably this area’s best dive spot. Spectacular plant life and numerous caves, gullies and swim-throughs. Depths from +- 16m to 26m on the sand. Small marine life, reef fish, Zambezi sharks, dolphins and game fish to be seen. Visibility very good in calm conditions.

 

Deep Landers
Situated off Park Rynie the dive starts at 20 m and goes down to 36 m on the sand. Excellent conditions for nitrox diving, advanced diving and deep diving specialities. An abundance of plant life, reef fish and large shoals of game fish can be seen.

 

Deep Salmon
Approximately 1.5 km off Shelly Beach, it consists of a large ridge with interesting caves, huge coral trees and colourful tropical reef fish. Average depth 24m. Can be murky in surgy conditions.

 

Eel Skin Reef
Umkomaas

 

Hammer Reef
Umkomaas

 

Landers Reef
A 6km boat ride off Scottburgh, it offers perfect nitrox diving, advanced deep diving and deep diving specialties. Starting at +- 20 m down to 36 m on the sand there are numerous caves and gullies. Visibility almost always +- 15 m. An abundance of plant life and reef fish, plus rays, potato bass, sharks and large shoals of game fish to be seen.

 

Lionfish Hole
On the northern side of Aliwal Shoal off Umkomaas, this crater in a pinnacle almost always has a resident lionfish. At an average depth of 12m, the invertebrate life and small tropical fish are particularly beautiful.

 

Manta Point
Northeast of Aliwal Shoal off Umkomaas, at an average depth of 18m, there is a blowhole on the northern edge of the reef where there is a good chance of spotting a round ribbon-tail ray. Note that this site should be avoided or dived very carefully in a strong surge

 

North Sands
Northwest of Aliwal Shoal off Umkomaas, at an average depth of 12m, is a large overhang on the southeastern side of this sandy patch where large numbers of raggies (ragged tooth sharks) often congregate in winter.

 

Potato Reef
A 5-minute boat ride off Shelly Beach, at an average depth of 20m, this site features many soft corals and prolific fish life, but can be murky in surgy conditions or when the rivers are in flood.

 

Protea Banks
Another world-renowned dive site, Protea Banks lies 5km offshore between Margate and Shelly Beach. Suitable only for divers qualified to dive to 30 m, this huge area is full of caves, pinnacles, ridges and amphitheatres. In addition to a wide variety of marine life and reef fishes, the chief attraction is the certainty of encountering various shark species.

 

Raggie Cave & Shark Alley
On the eastern edge of Aliwal Shoal off Scottburgh/Umkomaas, at an average depth of 14m, this site is famous for housing groups of ragged tooth sharks in winter. Although not overtly aggressive, they should never be approached too closely. This site must be dived very carefully in surgy conditions.

 

South Sands
On the southeastern side of Aliwal Shoal off Scottburgh/Umkomaas, at an average depth of 15m, this site is home to a great number of rays, skates, sand-sharks and guitar fish.

 

Subway Reef
Umkomaas

 

The Caves
About 8km off Shelly Beach on Protea Banks, at an average depth of 28m, this big cave is filled with hard and soft corals and usually provides an excellent opportunity to see a wide variety of sharks.

 

P O Box 8073
Nelspruit 1206
Mpumalanga

 

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