Scuba Diving the Durban South Coast


“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”
― John Lennon

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Looking to Dive Protea Banks and Aliwal Shoal?

Book a Dive Package With Oceans Africa

Oceans Africa have been conducting specialist dive tours in South Africa for over 20 years. Having worked in divemaster, and skipper roles at Protea Banks and Aliwal Shoal we know the dive sites and resorts intimately  – so let us create the perfect dive package for you!

Shark Dive Protea Banks2

Protea Banks & Aliwal Shoal

Scuba Diving Protea Banks & Aliwal

The south coast of KwaZulu Natal is blessed with two large offshore reef systems accessible to recreational divers.

Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks (5 and 8km offshore respectively) are both kissed by the warm Agulhas current, bringing indigo-blue waters and many pelagic fish.

These reefs attract sharks of all shapes and sizes, so if you’re looking for the big stuff outside of the cage, this is where it’s at!

Dive Protea Banks & Aliwal Shoal
Exploring Aliwal Shoal

Dive Sites of Aliwal Shoal

Diving options on Aliwal Shoal

Aliwal Shoal is a large offshore reef with numerous different dive sites on the same reef system. The shallowest pinnacles rise to only 5m below the surface so there are lots of options for open water and advanced divers to enjoy. 

The shoal has some fantastic topography with many caves, gullies and pinnacles, that provide a seasonal residence for hundreds of ragged-tooth sharks. Dive anytime from June to October and expect to find yourself in the presence of several, large and fully mature specimens.

Outside of ‘raggie’ season, Aliwal Shoal offers consistently great diving with a wide variety of dive sites to suit all levels of training.

Aliwal Shoal also attracts a huge variety fish, shark and ray species. Dolphins, eagle rays and manta rays are not uncommon on Aliwal shoal and for something special, the wreck of The Produce (1974) produces the goods when the current allows.

Dive Protea Banks & Aliwal Shoal
The Northern Pinnacles Protea Banks

Diving Protea Banks

Shark Diving on Protea Banks

Protea banks must rate as among the worlds top shark diving destinations, and yet the world has only recently started to take notice.

Lying some 8km off the KZN coast the reef starts at 28m and steps down to over 45m in places. There is often strong current on Protea Banks so be prepared for a fast drift dive over the reef before ascending into mid-water for a multilevel dive.  

Diving with bull (Zambezi) sharks is what Protea Banks is famous for, while different seasons see many different species of shark visiting the reef.

Dive sites of Protea Banks

Northern and Southern Pinnacles

The dives on Protea Banks can be divided into two distinct seasons – Winter and Summer.

The dives during the summer months are typically drift dives over the Southern Pinnacles in search of bull sharks, tiger sharks and schooling hammerheads.

The winter months from April/May see the spectacular arrival of hundreds of ragged-tooth sharks to the Northern Pinnacles. The ragged-tooth sharks seek shelter in the many caves, gullies and swim-throughs where you can often find them hiding from the current.

Due to depth and strong currents, divers must hold Advanced certifications with a minimum of 20 logged dives to dive safely on Protea banks.

Bull Shark on Protea Banks
Bull shark encounter on Protea Banks

Protea Banks and Aliwal Shoal do of course have their quiet days and conditions can sometimes be challenging, but this is SA shark diving at it’s best! Few other dive sites can boast regular sightings of Zambezi (bull) sharks, hammerhead, ragged-tooth, black tip and tiger sharks (among others).

Exclusive KZN Shark Diving Tour

Protea & Aliwal Dive Package

Book an amazing nine day shark diving package exploring the best of the KwaZulu South Coast dive sites.  Four days diving Aliwal Shoal and 4 days at Protea Banks. Guided tour and self-drive options available.

The Sardine Run

The Sardine Run on the South Coast

The sardine run is a natural event that was traditionally associated with the KZN South Coast. However recent runs have been unpredictable at best.

For this reason many of the South Coast dive operators now set up temporary bases further south on the Wildcoast during this time.

With their porximity to Durban International Airport, Protea Banks and Aliwal Shoal both serve as a great way to start of finish your sardine run adventure.

Whether you’re diving or simply a surface spectator, the sardine run offers unique photo opportunities and unforgettable memories – join us!

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Diving during the Sardine Run
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