Great dive spots along the African coastline

Posted by Dylan Kotze on 10 August 2011

The African coastline offers many incredibly rich diving opportunities. Here are some not-to-be-missed sites.

Duiker Island, Hout Bay, attracts people from across the world to dive with playful Cape Fur seals. You needn’t worry about their predators biting you. It’s shallow, surrounded by kelp and around 10 degrees, which is far from an ideal hunting ground for great white sharks. Animal Ocean, tel 079-488-5053, www.animalocean.co.za

Pyramid Rock, Cape Town, has grown into an enormously popular dive as it’s one of the few places in the world the seven gill cowshark can be seen. It’s best dived during winter, accessed either by boat or as a shore dive from Simon’s Town. Pisces Divers, tel 021-782-7205, www.piscesdivers.co.za

About 40 kilometres off Cape Point, blue and mako sharks patrol for their favourite meal of tuna from October to May. Snorkelling with them isn’t for the faint-hearted and guarantees a thrill. Apex Shark Expeditions, tel 021-786-5717, www.apexpredators.com

Shark Alley, Gansbaai, is said to be the great white shark capital of the world – and for good reason. Sharks cruise these waters year-round, but hunt closer to shore in summer, when they turn to fish as opposed to the seals of Dyer Island as their staple food. Everyone should try this at least once. Marine Dynamics, tel 028-384-1005, www.sharkwatchsouthafrica.com

Aliwal Shoal, Umkomaas, has many beautiful sites, but diving with tiger sharks must top the list as the most mind-blowing, adrenaline-pumping dive in Africa. You’re also likely to be surrounded by at least 40 blacktip sharks looking to get in on the action. Scuba-Addicts, tel 082-746-8825, www.scubaaddicts.com

The Sardine Run, Wild Coast, is the kind of event that National Geographic lives for and witnessing it is any aquatic lover’s dream. It’s a bountiful banquet where dolphins, whales, seals, sharks, tuna and gannets all queue up to be on the guest list. Animal Ocean, tel 079-488-5053, www.animalocean.co.za

Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique, offers fantastic opportunities to swim with bottlenose and humpback dolphins year-round. Turtle season runs from October to March and sightings of hammerhead sharks are regular. Simply Scuba, tel 011-678-0972, www.simplyscuba.co.za

Inhambane, Mozambique, is home to some of the largest populations of whalesharks and manta rays and it’s not uncommon to see these majestic animals on a single dive trip. Whale sharks are seen more frequently between October and March. Diversity Scuba, tel +258-293-29002, www.diversityscuba.co.za

Lake Malawi, Malawi, is more of an inland sea than a lake. Conditions are usually excellent for beginner divers with warm water and great visibility. Various freshwater critters and more than 600 species of small, iridescent fi sh make this spot the most species-diverse lake in the world. Kayak Africa, tel 021-783-1955, www.kayakafrica.net

Ras Mohammed, Egypt, is where the Red Sea’s nutrient rich waters attract a spectacular array of reef and pelagic fish amid magnificent sea walls covered in corals. Wreck divers will want to dive the Thistlegorm, a 126-metre British vessel carrying heavy artillery that sank in 1941. Pro Dive, tel 041-581-1144, www.prodive.co.za






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