A massive 150km (93mi) of South Africa’s coastline is made up of protected reefs. Here you’ll find astonishing underwater life teeming with colorful fish, a mix of hard and soft corals and interesting rock formations. Take a safari under the sea and discover South Africa’s Top 5 reefs…
1. Playground at Protea Banks, KwaZulu Natal
Famous for its plentiful shark population, Playground at Protea Banks on the South coast of KwaZulu Natal is a must-do for any scuba enthusiast. This dive spot gets its name from its interesting rock formations like Whale’s Tail, the Clown’s Head and an impressive swim-through, the Dragon’s Mouth. With waters as warm as 24°C/75°F, you’ll find heaps of tropical fish here accompanied by impressive predators. Diving trips here will take you to the Southern and Northern Pinnacles, said to feature some of the finest shark and game fish dives in the world.
2. Castle Rocks at False Bay, Cape Town
Situated past Miller’s Point on the False Bay coast of the Cape Peninsula, Castle Rocks’ waters are a lot colder than those of KwaZulu Natal, but the marine life here is deeply diverse and its cold-water corals have their own special appeal. This dive spot features over 200 species of nudibranch and a host of colorful sea fans, basket stars, neon yellow sponges, and impressive sunburst corals. If you’re lucky, you’ll even spot the tropical Doublesash Butterflyfish. While you’re here, why not enjoy one of the best beach holidays in Africa?
3. Seven Mile Reef at Sodwana Bay, Kwazulu Natal
Often compared to the Red Sea dives, Seven Mile Reef features multicolored fish life, a blend of hard and soft coral and unrivalled visibility. A dive here will yield an abundance of tropical reef fish, massive schools of pelagic species, huge Moray eels, Potato bass, and a number of turtle species. Seven Mile Reef’s interesting topography make it one of South Africa’s most fascinating dive spots and, if you’re here at the right time of year, you could even find yourself sharing the location with Southern Right and Humpback whales. It’s not unlikely to come across pods of dolphins or even a Whale shark on your way to the dive site.
4. Landers Reef, KwaZulu Natal
Packed with aquatic life, Landers Reef in KwaZulu Natal plays host to a massive array of tropical fish and kaleidoscopic nudibranchs. Particularly numerous on this reef are game fish including Kingfish, King mackerel, Barracuda and Geelbek (Cape salmon). Due to its depth of 32m (105ft), the water here is cooler when compared to most other dive sites on the east coast region, but the spectacular marine life on display make up for a slightly chillier dive.
5. Pinnacles at Sodwana Bay, KwaZulu Natal
A distinctive area of long, spiny rock formations on Aliwal Shoal, Pinnacles plays host to thousands of tropical fish species. Thanks to its interesting collection of caves, gullies and swim-throughs, you won’t need to look far to spot Manta rays, turtles, Dominoes, Wrasse, Two-Bar Clownfish, Chocolate Dip, Angelfish, and Butterflyfish. Ragged Tooth sharks are a specialty here from June to November, making for a memorable dive where you can witness these incredible creatures in an unspoiled environment.
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