Consider the sheer length of the southern African coastline with more than 4000 miles between South Africa, Namibia, and Mozambique it is home to a huge array of diving destinations. Nestled amongst the exquisite beaches and daring sea cliffs are numerous access points and gateways to an intriguing world beneath the waves. There is an abundance of choice for Scuba-divers, from the Atlantic’s colder waters on the west coast to the warmer and alluring temperatures of the Indian Ocean on the east coast.
With tempestuous waters and temperatures dropping to 46 degree it is nearly impossible to explore the open waters of Namibia’s coastline. If you want to suit up in Namibia, you will need to head inland. Here you will find subterranean wonders, where experienced divers can discover numerous caves and sinkholes.
Dragon’s Breath is the largest underground non-sub-glacial lake in the world and is located 46km from Grootfontein. Named by the explorers who discovered the site, it is believed that the humid air rising from the cave’s opening reminded them of warm breath from a serpent. Other dives sites in Namibia include Lake Otjikoto, Lake Guinas, and Lake Harasib (same area as Dragon’s Breath).
South Africa has the privilege of occupying space in both the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean.
Trending in cold water, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth offer some impressive diving options. To get the best experience out of the colder water dry suits are recommended.
Port Elizabeth is known for its beautiful coastal scenery above the water as well as below. The Avalanche Reef displays incredible topography and densely populated coral reefs. Nearby, is the Haerlem Wreck site made from the navy frigate that, in its later life, found its purpose as an artificial reef. Here one can investigate numerous holes, and crevices home to large variety of fish, corals, and sharks.
Along the warmer east coast there are several unique seasonal underwater opportunities. Sardine Run, from June – July, is one of the largest migrations of marine life on earth. During this period enormous swarms of sardine travel along the Agulas bank enroute to Mozambique. The resulting predator feeding frenzy is truly unbelievable. June through November is ‘Raggie Season’ when Ragged Tooth Sharks are found in relatively shallow waters. Aliwal Shoal is home to the Cathedral dive site where these nocturnal sharks often congregate. It is a breath-taking spectacle. In addition to this seasonal phenomenon, you can regularly see Tiger Shark and Hammerheads! There is always something to be discovered.
Sodwana Bay, situated in iSimangaliso Wetland Park is one of the most pristine diving spots in the world. It is also just a short drive from the uMkhuze Game Reserve. This rare combination of eco-systems is home to the Big 7, including humpback whales and whale sharks as well as the Big 5, the lion, rhino, elephant, leopard, and buffalo.
Mozambique’s expansive coastline stretches 1616 miles and has plenty of opportunities to explore untouched reefs and protected bays. With visibility of 30 metres and 72°F water temperature, it is simply a diver dream. Starting in the south just a few miles from the South African border at Ponta do Oura and Ponta Malongane, you will see dolphins, game fish, and a variety of tropical fish.
If Mozambique does not offer enough on the mainland, the islands off the coast take paradise to a whole new level. A dive in the Bazaruto Archipelago will leave you in awe even if you do not spot the resident dugong. Pemba Island is yet another underwater playground with various dive opportunities for all levels of experience.