Scuba Diving in South Africa

Dive South Africa

“The world’s finest wilderness lies beneath the waves.”
― Robert Wyland

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Looking for the best Scuba Diving in South Africa?

Join us on a dive tour or charter!

Dive South Africa and join Oceans Africa for an epic diving adventure. Oceans Africa have been crafting specialist dive tours in South Africa for over 20 years. Having worked the South African dive industry in divemaster, instructor and skipper roles in all the main dive regions of the country, we know the industry from the inside – so allow us to be your hosts in Southern Africa.

Sea Surface Temperature SA 1
SST map showing the Agulhas current

Dive South Africa

The dive sites of South Africa

South Africa offers the adventurous diver an almost unlimited choice of dive sites and diving opportunities. 

The coastline of South Africa is swept by two great ocean currents. The mighty Agulhas, bringing warm water down the East coast and the Benguela, driving cold water up along the West coast. This powerful clash of currents allows the waters of South Africa to support a huge variety of marine life.

South Africa has over 3000km of coastline boasting over 2000 species of fish, 40 species of whale and dolphin and a long history of shipwrecks and salvage. South Africa’s diversity of dive sites can accommodate almost all your scuba diving desires.

Dive Cape Town

Diving False Bay and the Atlantic Seaboard

Cape Town is all about diversity – diversity of cultures and diversity of wildlife, both on land and underwater.

Dense kelp forests protect the Cape shorelines from storms and provide a sheltered nursery habitat for many species.

The topography on many of the dive sites is spectacular with huge granite boulders, pinnacles and caves, supporting an enormous bio-mass of invertebrate life.

The dive sites of Cape town must surely rate among the most colourful in the world!

Dive Kelp Forests in Cape Town
Exploring the Kelp forests of Cape Town

Dive the Garden Route

Diving Mossel Bay to Plettenberg Bay

Extending from Stillbay to Storms River and the Tsitsikamma Nature Reserve, the Garden Route describes a beautiful and varied coastal plain.

The coastline of fynbos covered dunes and protected bays is bordered by the plunging cliffs of the coastal plateau, cut  by deep river gorges and  indigenous forest. 

This beauty and diversity is also found beneath the waves. A  garden route underwater, the dive sites of the Southern Cape boast some spectacular dive sites covered in colourful invertebrate life and supporting a wide varietiey of fish and sharks species.

Dive Garden Route 22
The Garden Route Underwater

Dive the Wildcoast

Diving East London to Port St Johns

The Wildcoast, formerly the independent state of  the Transkei is rural Africa by the sea. A wild and spectacular coastline with difficult access to many parts.

The remoteness of the region means there is little permanent infastructure for scuba diving.

During the Sardine Run however, many dive operators set up camp in these remote areas to witness one of the worlds most spectacular marine marine wildlife events.

Sardine Run Birds
Diving the Sardine Run along the Wildcoast

Dive Aliwal Shoal

Umkomaas, Scottburgh and Rocky Bay

Aliwal shoal is rightly regarded as one of South Africas top diving destinations. Easily accessed from the town of Umkomaas and serviced via Durban International airport it is a great start or end point to any dive tour of South Africa.

The Shoal is a huge offshore reef  system of eroded fossil dunes. The topography of caves, fissures and pinnacles shelters a wealth of marine life.

With shallow, wreck and deep options to enjoy, Aliwal Shoal has dive options to suit all levels of diver training.

Dive Protea Banks & Aliwal Shoal
Diving Aliwal Shoal

Dive Protea Banks

Diving from Shelly Beach and Margate

Having spent many years working and diving Protea Banks it is an Oceans Africa favorite. 

Protea banks is all about the Sharks. Yes there are some really nice areas of reef to explore but the primary focus on these dives is to enjoy the many species of shark that can be found here. 

The seasons on Protea Banks can be be defined by two clear shifts. Winter when dives are on the Northern Pinnacles and Summer when divers drift over the Southern Pinnacles

Shark Dive Protea Banks2
Zambezi (bull) shark on Protea Banks
Dive Sodwana Bay 21
Turtle resting in the reef at Sodwana Bay

Dive Sodwana Bay

Diving northern KwaZulu Natal

Sodwana Bay lies Just south of the Mozambique border, at the heart of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park – a 6km wide coastal and ocean reserve extending from Cape Vidal up to Kosi Bay.  

The long stretches of remote beach are nesting sites for leatherback and loggerhead turtles and the adjacent reef substrate supports the most southerly hard coral reef structures in the world.

Diving conditions in South Africa

To enjoy the best scuba diving South Africa has to offer, contact us to find out when and where to dive!

Water temperatures vary considerably along the coastline. From an average of around 24 degrees Celsius in Sodwana Bay to as low as 10 degrees on the Atlantic side of Cape Town – adequate exposure protection is essential to enjoyably dive South Africa.

To dive South Africa comfortably we recommend a multi-layer system with 10mm on the chest, 5mm on legs and arms, hood, boots and gloves for Cape Town. You can then lose the gloves along the Garden Route, the hood can go in KwaZulu Natal and you may get away with a shorty in Sodwana Bay.

Dive Procedures & Equipment

This is how we roll - backwards!

There are no livaboard diving options in South Africa. The majority of dive sites are accessed by small craft – usually an inflatable ‘duck’ or RIB.

Most dive sites east of Cape Town are accessed through the surf and the launches can often be as exciting as the dives themselves.

All of our dive packages include tanks and weights (as stated per package). We recommend that you bring your own mask, fins and computer as a minimum. Additional equipment can be hired along the way at approximately ZAR 80.00 per item per day.

Dive the sardine run
Dive boat returning to Sodwana Bay
Dive with seals Cape Town
Divers surfacing in Cape Town

Dive Safely in South Africa

Safety and Diver Qualifications

Unless stated otherwise a minimum of open water certification, or equivalent, is required for all standard diving tours and dive charters.

If you’d like your dives to count towards advancing your certification, ask us about our instructor let dive options. 

Diver safety is our top priority. When diving offshore reefs all divers are  issued with a delayed surface marker buoy (safety sausage). Oxygen is always on board and all staff and guides are medically trained. Oceans

Africa are also agents for DAN dive travel insurance and can arrange additional dive insurance if required.

Dive South Africa Tours & Packages

Oceans Africa  specialises in creating scuba diving tours through out South Africa.  Having worked and dived in all the main areas we have a deep knowledge of the seasonal changes – we know where and when to dive each area and the best times to view specific fauna. So let us help you develop the perfect dive itinerary for your dive South Africa tour.

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