“Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected Area off the sleepy southern KwaZulu-Natal town of Umkomaas is one of the top dive sites in South Africa – in fact some say it’s among the world’s top 10. This is where ragged-tooth sharks congregate for months on end, along with dozens of other species”
Aliwal Shoal was named after the near-sinking of the 3 Masted vessel “Aliwal”, captained by James Anderson, in 1849. There are two wrecks near the reef that are popular recreational dive sites. The Norwegian bulk carrier, the MV Produce which sank in 1974, and the SS Nebo which sank in 1884. Aliwal Shoal has diverse marine life including large predators and is popular as a recreational scuba diving destination. The Shoal is known especially for its abundance of ragged tooth sharks or “raggies”) between July and November when the sharks congregate there to mate.
WE DIVE NOT TO ESCAPE LIFE,
BUT FOR LIFE NOT TO ESCAPE US.
“Sodwana meaning “little one on it’s own” in Zulu, could as well mean “little paradise on it’s own”, as it is a paradise for anyone with an interest in the great outdoors”
Sodwana is classified as one of the top dive sites in the world this 50 km reef complex boasts around 95 species of hard and soft coral, sponges, other invertebrates and around 1200 fish species. It attracts 35 000 scuba divers every year. Vast 700m deep valleys, submarine canyons, are strewn over a distance of 2 km. It was in one of these that on 27 November 2000 that the coelacanth was rediscovered.
Ponta do Ouro
“Ponta do Ouro (also Pontad’Ouro in English meaning “tip of gold”, in reference to an existing cape at the southern part of the beach) is a town in the extreme south of Mozambique, lying on the Mozambique Channel south of Maputo and just north of the border with South Africa.”
Ponta Do Ouro attracts many visitors every year with its friendly atmosphere, sandy beaches and excellent diving. It offers diving for all levels of diver, with great sandy patches among the reef to start learning to dive all the way through to adrenalin Shark encountering dives.
Transkei Wild Coast
“Transkei Wild Coast “The Hole in the Wall” is a rocky archway set just south of Coffee Bay in the Eastern Cape. The little holiday village close by shares the same name. This landmark was created millions of years ago through the restless action of waves against sandstone and shale. It is also the closest launching area to the “Oceanos” wreck that sank 5 km offshore in 1991”
The Oceanos(153m Ocean liner) sank on 4 August 1991. The wreck lies at a depth of between 92 m (302 ft) and 97 m (318 ft), about 5 km (3.1 mi) offshore. “It is probably one of the most, if not the most difficult wreck in the world to dive.” The difficulties of diving on the Oceanos are extreme, but with commitment and proper planning, the dive is not impossible.Being one of the world’s most difficult wrecks to reach and successfully dive, the Oceanos offers great rewards for technical divers at the top of their game
Inland Dive Sites
Komati Springs used to be a mine prior to 1972. When mining became unfeasible, equipment was pulled out, and they ceased pumping out water. The groundwater rose back naturally, thus providing a dive site and swimming hole of note. The site underwent a big rehabilitation in 2002, which removed all signs of mining and made it a pristine site.
Komati Springs is accessible all year round. There is a fully equipped dive centre on site which provides triple filtered gas – including air, nitrox, helium and argon. There are training grids at 5, 9 and 30 meters, as well as anchored buoy lines. The underwater cliffs are ideal for multi-level diving. In summer the water is reaches 24oC on the surface, and 20oC at about 30 meters. On the bottom it is 16oC. Visibility is about 10 to 15 meters. In winter the temperature is a constant 16 to 17oC from top to bottom, and the visibility can be up to 40 meters. There are stairways at the water’s edge.
The surface area of the open hole is approximately 110 meters long and 50 meters wide. The mining process also left a cave system joining onto the hole, giving excellent conditions for all forms of diving. In the open water it reaches 55 meters and the caves have been explored to 186 meters. The cave system has 8 interconnecting levels and is an explorers dream! This attracts technical divers from all over the world. The dive centre has qualified Instructors who can teach anything from recreational to deep technical, rebreathers and cave diving.
Bass Lake consists of a 10-hectare body of spring-fed water. Considered by the top certifying agencies to be the best Scuba Training venue in South Africa. Depths vary from a walk in slope to 23m at the deepest point.
The dive site is an old open cast chrome mine, filled and constantly replenished by a natural spring. The lake’s maximum depth is 33m, and the water is clear and fresh with a visibility of up to 10 metres.
There are some fish in the shallow areas, including Black Bass and Kurper, and there are some interesting wrecks to explore, including a helicopter, a few yachts, a swimming pool, a bus and an aeroplane among other bits and bobs (such as a bicycle) added for interest.
The dive site is easily access is easy via paved pathways, and there are five training platforms, making Miracle Waters an ideal dive site for beginners and dive training.