Capping the southern tip of the sprawling continent of Africa is a diverse, multicultural nation with a 2735-kilometer/1700-mile coastline on two oceans. South Africa’s waters beckon scuba divers to enter its wild and wooly realm. The dive experience here is as varied as the people, running the gamut from big sharks to throngs of tiny sardines. You’ll find tropical reefs in the northeast and temperate rocky reefs in the west. Some of the best diving here involves colder water, strong currents and launching from the surf – bring your appetite for adventure and reap the rewards of marine life encounters you’ll remember for a lifetime. Some of the very best dives in the world are found in South Africa. If you’ve ever been interested in diving with large creatures in epic seascapes, you’ve come to the right place. Off the coast of Gansbaai you have the opportunity to cage dive with massive great white sharks. In the Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal you can enjoy warmer waters, coral reefs and, of course, lots of sharks. Be prepared for a range of water temperatures during your dives. Water temperatures range from around 57°F to 80°F (14°C – 27°C) in various locations throughout the year.
Best Scuba Diving Spots in South Africa
Smitswinkel Bay – False Bay – Cape Town
Riy Banks: (Port Elizabeth) – Eastern Cape
Groot Bank (Plettenberg Bay)- Eastern Cape
The Sardine Run
South Africa Sea Life
South Africa is an epic destination if you are interested in diving with large creatures and sharks in particular. During the sardine run, hundreds of sharks hone in on the school, including Zambezis, coppers, hammerheads and even great whites. In addition during this time, you can see dolphin, tuna, and even humpback whales feeding as well. If you head to South Africa outside of the sardine run season, off the coast of Gansbaai you will get a chance to cage diving with great whites year-round. Furthermore, the variety of marine life on the reefs is astounding, so be sure to take a closer look as well.
How To Get There
You can arrive in South Africa by air or by land. Most divers enter the country via Cape Town International Airport, but Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg is also a major international hub. There are taxis scattered across the country, and an extensive bus system. Or, you can rent a 4×4 and really get to exploring.