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ATLAS OF

ATLAS OF DIVE SITES OF SOUTH AFRICA & MOZAMBIQUE


by Fiona McIntosh Vilanculos and the
10

with Marine Species Identification Guide by Georgina Jones Bazaruto Archipelago

DIVE SITES
the corner | ray alley | brindle bass ridge | allan’s realm | amphitheatre
camel hump | twelve mile reef | turtle ridge | manta ray reef | rainbow runner
aquarium | greek temple | ponta dundo | five mile reef

The pristine reefs of the Bazaruto National Park offer superb diving, both from Vilanculos on
the mainland and from the exclusive island lodges. One of the largest marine parks in Africa
and protected since 1971, the 1400km2 park consists of five islands: Bazaruto (the largest),

Introducing the Atlas of Dive Sites of South Africa & Mozambique


Benguerra, Magaruque, Santa Carolina (or Paradise Island) and tiny, uninhabited Bangue.
They’re real Robinson Crusoe-style deserted island escapes with high dunes covered in
colourful sprawling creepers, fresh water, crocodile-infested lakes, swaying palm trees and
sandy beaches littered with pansy shells and lapped by clear, intense blue water. As you cruise
around, turtles swim over to check you out and humpback and spinner dolphins frolic in the
swell. And divers and snorkellers who put their heads into the water are treated to an amazing

● Detailed coverage of top dive sites for each diving region


display of colourful corals, diverse tropical fish and big pelagics such as manta rays. The waters
of the archipelago are home to all five marine turtle species of the western Indian Ocean,
several dolphin species (including striped and Fraser’s dolphin that are predominantly found
offshore but occasionally venture inshore to the archipelago), as well as the elusive dugong.

● Introduction chapter highlighting:


◗ Overview of South Africa and Mozambique

shaen adey
©
◗ Basic training and equipment

SOUTH AFRICA & MOZAMBIQUE


◗ Dive culture and responsible diving
OF
18 1 2 Mouille Point Table Bay
ay 3 MILNERTON Tygerdal 4 19
Green Point NOTE: Wingfield Church Hill
BEAC
H GOODWOOD Estate
N Green Point Shark and kelp dives in the Two Oceans Aquariumxxxxxxxxxxxx
Two Oceans Aquarium If you really want to get up close and personal with sharks, turtles and
0 4 km Three Anchor Bay Townsend R102

◗ Treatment of injured divers and recompression chamber policy


HIGH big gamefish there’s nothing to beat a dive in the I&J Predator Exhibit
Estate VOORTREKKER

CH
Graaff's Pool LEVEL in the Two Oceans Aquarium. After a short briefing you drop into the

IN
BEA
Foreshore

MA
0 2 miles E two-million-litre glass-fronted tank as the big-eyed children and other
Sea Point RIN visitors to the aquarium gawp at your bravery. This has to be the easiest PAROW

Y
MA

RLE
dive in the Cape – where else can you dive with sharks with just a
M16

DE
Saunders Discover Scuba qualification? There’s no surge, the visibility is great,

AD
AVONWOOD
A Rocks Fresnaye
CAPE TOWN
the water is (relatively) warm and there’s a wonderful selection of
predatory fish all around you. Cheeky turtles come up to check you
ALBERT
Coral N
Tamboerskloof

OF
Bantry Bay out, and after the initial adrenalin rush you soon find yourself comfortable

DE LA REY
KLO
Zonnebloem Salt
Gardens DE WAAL
VICTO
RIA
River
with and intrigued by the ragged-tooth sharks.
Advanced divers also have the option of feeding the fish and checking
SOUTH AFRICA Clifton Clifton out the marine life in the surging kelp forest tank. The 800-litre tank
Beach is home to galjoen (the national fish) as well as gully sharks, white
Gardens Vredehoek

- 98ft
Overhangs M3 stumpnose, black and white musselcracker, also rock lobsters and

t
CAPE TOWN

- 66f
perlemoen – and if you’re really lucky you might even spot a rockhopper

- 49ft
BAY
30m

20m
Camps Bay or African penguin which has been released into the kelp forest for a

◗ Caring for the marine environment

VE
Air

UT
swim. Although it doesn’t have quite the same kudos as diving in the

DRI
15m
Cave Glen Beach

HO
TAFE predator tank, it’s a fascinating insight into the marine life of the Cape

BAY
Camps Bay
LBER West Coast.

TO
Pinnacle

PS
Oudekraal G

CAM
Bakoven Bay TO GORDON’S BAY
ATLANTIC OCEAN CAPE
 Max 19m Bakoven TOWN
INT.
Table Mountain Bellville
 Average 10m Newlands Table Bay AIRPORT
National Park Reservoir
CAPE Stellenbosch R44
Newlands TOWN
Koeël Bay
Forest Somerset West

RIA
B Hout Bay

TO
M63
Star Percy’s Hole

VIC
N
False Bay

◗ Dangerous marine organisms


Walls Lui Bay Twelve Apostles Hotel Kirstenbosch Gordon's
Coral National Simon's Bay
Gardens  Botanical Garden Town AREA OF THIS INSET

15m - 49ft
M6

20m - 66ft
- 98ft
Swim-through SITE 2 Bishopscourt
Pringle
Bay

30m
Cape Point
Overhang M3
Narrow Gap The Point

ES
Pinnacle Cecilia State Forest Klaassensbosch

OD
ls

RH
Rooie

BAY
Low Granite Outcrops
and Sand Patches Llandudno Bay

UT
HO
Sunset
 Max 32m Rocks Steenbras Rock Rooiels

TO
M63

VICTORIA
 Average 20m Llandudno
CONSTANTIA

◗ Emergency contact details


Disa
Sandy Bay
T BAY M41
Roman Rock
Oude Schip Helgarda HOU
False Bay
Estate HOUT BAY Sillery
C Duiker

MAIN
Star Walls R44

VICTO

LADI
R
Point

VE
SITE 1 

I
AT R

ES MILE
RIA

EM

15m - 66ft
50m - 164ft

20m - 98ft
Lui Bay

30m
CH


100m - 328ft
NS

- 49ft
Coral Gardens AA

SIMON
SP
CH
TO CLIFTON
Hout Bay ls

AP M
Harbour Buffe
M6

VAN DER
AN
0 2 km

◗ Marine protected areas

'S
Table Mountain

PE
0 2 km

AK
Duiker TOKAI
Hout Bay National Park

STEL
0 1 mile Island
Llandudno Bay
Tokai 0 1 mile
Sunset
ATLANTIC OCEAN Rocks Pringle Bay
TO KLEINMOND
Silvermine

VICTORIA
M3
Llandudno Pringle Bay
M6
Nature Reserve

TO NOORDHOEK
Sandy Bay Westlake MILITARY M32
Oude Schip SPINE
M42 STEENBERG Marina See legend on page 190
THIS AREA IN DETAIL Silvermine da Gama
KEY

oevlei
Dam
Duiker Point
D Zandvlei Bird
Star Walls   Smits Wrecks TOP SITE

BO
Sanctuary

Zeek


YES
Chapman's Point

● Each chapter features:


Hout Bay CHAPMAN'S PEAK Lakeside Batsata Maze OTHER SITE
R310
Ratelklip Muizenberg BOAT ENTRY & ROUTE
Noordhoek
Silvermine L Sunrise Beach SHORE ENTRY

15m 66ft
20m 98ft
ROYA East Beach
Hout San Michel Nature Reserve

30m
Lagoon (Tidal) DIVE AREA

- 49ft
Bay West Beach

-
Duiker Chapman's Bay False Bay

ES
Island LIGHTHOUSE

BOY
Neptune's Corner

50m

NO
Tafelberg Reef
OR REEF
Noordhoek Beach DH Danger Beach

- 164
O IN
Lagoon Sun
Kalk
MA 20-21 Two Oceans Aquarium PLACE OF INTEREST

ft

EK
Klein Slangkop Point (Tidal) Valley Clovelly Bay St James

◗ Clear and detailed maps of all the dive sites with:


◗ Positions of all sites indicated and cross referenced in the text 22 cape peninsula and false bay cape peninsula and false bay 23

Top sites corals, dreadlocks hydroids, multihued climb over boulders from the Oudekraal alleys of the kelp forest
anemones and sponges make the site parking lot south of the Twelve Apostles surrounding the rock
Diving in Cape Town is very different from vivid with colour. It’s nudibranch wallpaper Hotel, or after a 14km boat ride from Hout and will approach divers

◗ Enlargements showing routes, key points, sites and wrecks


the more usual tropical dive destinations, for the most part: Mandela’s nudibranchs, Bay Harbour or Oceana Power Boat Club. quite closely. They are
but its pleasures are many and varied. For candy nudibranchs, gas flames, silvertips It’s best to dive this site after a southeast temperate water coastal
more detailed information about Cape and black nudibranchs can all be seen wind in summer when the water will be animals which eat fishes
Peninsula and False Bay dive sites, go to: in profusion here, as can the rare dark- clear but cold. Check swell conditions and crustaceans and are
http://wikitravel.org/en/Diving_the_Cape_ toothed cowrie. Klipfish peer out from before setting off. known to pack-hunt seals.
Peninsula_and_False_Bay crevices, along with redfingers and From the shore, it’s a short snorkel They give birth to 60–104
janbruins, and safety stops are usually through kelp and a sunshot descent pups per litter at a birth
Star Walls ± site 1 enlivened by visiting seals. through flickering crowds of hottentot size of about 50cm. It’s

◗ Access points to dive sites featured


The trick with diving this site is not to and kelp stipes to the brilliantly coloured an amazing experience to
Advanced
overstay bottom time: there is so much to reefs and rock cathedrals below. Fragile watch them gently glide
Boat launch see it’s easy to forget how deep you are. bryozoans and fan hydroids jostle for through the water.
fi Maximum depth – 32m space among acid yellow sponges, blue The southern end of
‹€ Average depth – 20m Coral Gardens ± site 2 and orange anemones, as well as crowds the complex consists of
Á Map reference – page 18 C1 of the pink noble coral after which the site jumbled granite boulders

geoff spiby
Open water
is named. Cowled nudibranchs sweep with caves, swim-throughs
Shore or boat and gullies, all heavily
Star Walls is a stunning their pale hoods through the water in

◗ Location within the region

©
dive to the south of fi Maximum depth – 19m search of edible prey. Basket stars and encrusted with invertebrate
Maori Bay, about a ten- ‹€ Average depth – 10m klipfish stud the walls, while cuttlefish life. Expect to see Cape urchins, huge above:
broad-nosed
minute ride from Hout Á Map reference – page 18 B2 and octopus manage to evade the notice anemones, rock crabs, feather stars and sevengill
cowshark
Bay Harbour. It is relatively of all but the sharp-eyed. Caves, some red-chested sea cucumbers, along with (notorynchus
cepedianus) –
exposed, so is only Coral Gardens is distinguished by superb containing air pockets, are treasure houses many species of nudibranchs. Cuttlefish pyramid rock
diveable on low-swell days, topography and extraordinary biodiversity. of the more fragile and elusive animals. float over the sand and octopus can
usually in summer. After It is an extensive dive site of jumbled Bring a torch. be spotted, given away by the piles of
a good southeast blow, granite boulders, caves and overhangs on This site can be dived by open-water discarded mussel shells outside their lairs.

◗ Underwater depths indicated with colour-coding


when the upwelled water the Atlantic side of the Cape Peninsula. It divers, but the density of the reef life and This site is best dived in winter, when
is clean, visibility can be can be dived from the shore after a short its fragility require that divers have good False Bay is flat, and is usually a fishy
well over 20m. buoyancy control so as not to damage any dive. Romans, hottentot, strepies, juvenile
The wall starts at reef animals. red steenbras and janbruin can all be
8m and drops almost seen, as well as pyjama catsharks and
vertically down to 32m. It Castle Rocks/Pyramid Rock puffadder shysharks. Klipfish, triplefins
is the highest and longest ± site 3 and blennies lurk on the reefs. You might

geoff spiby
known wall, extending for see spotted gully sharks in the overhangs,
Open water
about 100m east-west, and whales in winter.

◗ Information boxes on other marine adventures or activities in the region


Shore or boat

©
with another 50m on
above: star the southeast face. The top of the wall is fi Maximum depth – 18m Partridge Point ± site 4
walls
right: coral covered with kelp and redbait pods, the ‹€ Average depth – 10m
gardens Open water
walls themselves are thickly encrusted Á Map reference – page 21 F3
with invertebrate life, and overhangs and Boat launch
vertical cracks provide microhabitats for This is a large dive site, just south fi Maximum depth – 26m
more fragile creatures. The bottom of the of Miller’s Point, and what you see ‹€ Average depth – 15m
wall ends in sand and scattered boulders. depends on where in the dive site you Á Map reference – page 21 G3

◗ All dives are described in detail with:


The invertebrate life is varied and go. Pyramid Rock is at the northern end

geoff spiby
often well camouflaged, like the shaggy of the complex and is mainly dived for This is a large dive site to the north of
sponge crabs, sumo crabs and cuttlefish. the cowsharks. These elegant animals, Smitswinkel Bay, best dived in winter after

©
Basket stars, grey fan hydroids, pink noble which can grow as big as 3.5m, circle the a northwest wind. The northern end of

◗ First-hand account of the dive and what the experience is likely to be


◗ Concise info boxes featuring: 56 south coast – aliwal shoal, landers and protea banks

Protea Banks Northern


Pinnacles ± site 8
as 200 have been seen on one dive – so
there are strict codes of conduct. The dive
season it’s still an impressive dive on which
you’ll probably see potato bass and, if you’re
lucky, pineapple fish – a small, yellow, spiny
south coast – aliwal shoal, landers and protea banks 57

starts at a large, open-topped cave which is


Advanced
usually full of raggies. Then you swim past critter with a dazzling smile and a skin pattern
Boat launch a tunnel – or through it if it is shark-free that resembles that of a pineapple. The site

– Difficulty rating
fi Maximum depth – 40m – past coral gardens to a second open- is normally dived on a north-south current,
‹€ Average depth – 33m topped cave with lots of chambers where starting at the south part of North Sands where
the raggies like to rest and where, during you’ll often see dolphins.
Á Map reference – page 50 H2
late spring and early summer, you’ll often Inside Edge ± site 11
Best dived in the winter months (June to see large shoals of hammerhead sharks Open water

barry coleman
November) when the raggies congregate overhead. Remember also that sharks are Boat launch
on the reef to mate, this rates as one not the sole attraction. I was so obsessed fi Maximum depth – 22m
of the most exciting shark dives in the with the likelihood of shark interaction on ‹€ Average depth – 15m

©
Á Map reference – page 49 D4

– Type of access (Shore or boat)


world. A deep reef some 7.5km out my first dive there that it was only when
in the open ocean, this is a site for I’d snapped 20 images of the first shark I On the inner, sheltered side of the Shoal, this caves make for interesting exploration, and above: nebo
wreck
experienced, disciplined divers with a spotted that I realised it had black patches site consists of a stepped series of ledges and photogenic specimens include cute little toby
taste for adventure. The briefing gets the on its side and was in fact a massive overhangs in which you’ll find scorpionfish, puffers and boxfish.
heart beating. It’s not just the remoteness, potato bass! Enjoy the sharks, but try also stonefish, lionfish, octopus, boxfish and Protea Banks Southern Pinnacles ± site 13
below: protea
banks current and other dangers of diving this to look around and appreciate the reef. whitemouth (guinea fowl) moray eels as well Advanced
bottom:
umzimai wall site; you are looking for sharks – as many as a variety of nudibranchs. Check the sandy Boat launch
Other dive sites patches for rays – and in summer you might fi Maximum depth – 40m
even see tiger sharks in mid-water off the ‹€ Average depth – 30m

– Maximum and average depths


The Nebo ± site 9 southern section of the reef. Á Map reference – page 51 F4
Advanced Umzimai Wall ± site 12 It was the Zambezi sharks (bull sharks) that
Boat launch Advanced initially put Protea Banks on the world dive
fi Maximum depth – 26m Boat launch site map, and the high chance of sighting
‹€ Average depth – 18m fi Maximum depth – 39m these fearsome-looking predators on the reef
Á Map reference – page 49 C4 ‹€ Average depth – 23m between October and May attracts divers
Wrecked in 1884, the Nebo lies off the Á Map reference – page 49 D4 from all over the world. Blacktip sharks are
barry coleman

landward (northwestern) edge of the Shoal. A 20m high wall adorned with corals and alive seen year-round while scalloped and great

– Reference to locate the dive site on the map


The wreck, which lies in two parts, is home with tropical fish is the highlight of this little- hammerhead sharks make an appearance at
to turtles and an abundance of pelagic and dived site in the southern section of Landers the end of the season, making this a top site
reef fish, including the rare harlequin goldie, Reef. Swim-throughs, big gullies, ledges and for shark lovers.
©

but visibility is not usually as good as on the


Produce. Area Specifics
Chunnel ± site 10 Best time to go This is a year-round destination but dive conditions are best during the dry season from May to
Open water September (the winter months).

◗ Area specifics on best time to visit, water temperatures, dive conditions


Boat launch Water Range from 16°C in winter to around 25°C in summer.
fi Maximum depth – 17m temperatures
‹€ Average depth – 12m Dive conditions The South Coast generally enjoys good visibility – ranging from 5m to 40m. Launching, in rigid
Á Map reference – page 49 D4 inflatable boats, is from Umkomaas (for Aliwal Shoal – either from the river mouth or from the
An awesome dive with loads of overhangs, beach depending on tide and conditions), from Rocky Bay (Landers Reef) or from Shelley Beach
Chunnel, directly inshore from Raggies Cave, is (Protea Banks). Accessing these sites sometimes involves an exciting ride through the surf.
an easy, shallow dive with a channel through Recommended A 5mm wet suit is more than adequate in summer – add a hood/chicken vest, booties and gloves
barry coleman

which sharks cruise in season. Upwelling of gear or go for a semi-dry or dry suit in the chillier winter months.
plankton in the area means that there’s also

and recommended gear


a good chance of sighting manta rays, and
©

reef fish are there in numbers. Outside shark

◗ Beautiful dive images to give you an indication of the dive site features
174 marine species identification guide marine species identification guide 175

and underwater views Urchins


Urchins are the most spiny of all the echinoderms, are armoured in a tough shell or test, and are usually spherical. The
mouth is usually on the underside of the animal, with the anus uppermost. Tubefeet in five rows on the underside are
used for locomotion, while tiny pincers on stalks defend the animals from predators or settling organisms.
Algoa cone (Conus algoensis) å
size: Up to 5cm.
description: A yellow cone-shaped snail. Shell with a rounded shoulder,
southwood

‘steps’ between whorls and a narrow opening. Shell colour ranges from
pot-hole urchin (Stomopneustes variolaris) å yellow to brown, variably marked in streaks and blotches.
natural history: Found down to 50m. Predatory: mantle modified to
size: 10cm.
© peter

form a harpoon which injects a neurotoxin.

● Includes a separate Marine Species Identification Guide


description: A spherical urchin with sturdy tapering spines. Body dark;
spiby

similar species: The textile cone (Conus textile) has a pale shell
spines pale, mounted on ball and socket joints. patterned with orange patches, outlined in brown. The geography cone
© geoff

natural history: Found on shallow tropical reefs. Feeds on seaweeds (Conus geographus) has ridges running down the shell, which is pale
and algae. Stout spines can erode corals. and covered with reddish-brown patterning. Both are poisonous to
Cape urchin (Parechinus angulosus) ç humans and can be fatal.

size: 6cm. Nudibranchs


description: Spherical body covered with dense spines which can be Nudibranchs are the most numerous of the sea slugs. They are shell-less molluscs which are often vividly
purple, green or red. patterned and coloured to warn off predators. Many are toxic, most from acquiring toxins from prey species. Their
spiby

natural history: Common on rocky shores and reefs down to 98m. sensory tentacles are called rhinophores. They are hermaphrodites which leave their eggs ribbons on reefs to

◗ Marine species are identified by:


© geoff

Grazes on kelp and other algae. Preyed on by West Coast rock lobsters. hatch into larvae.
May be seen using shells as a sunshade.
variable neon slug (Nembrotha kubaryana) ç
Molluscs
size: Up to 12cm.
The molluscs include chitons (armadillo snails), snails and slugs, cephalopods such as octopus and squid, and
description: A large, black-bodied nudibranch, variably patterned.
bivalves like mussels and clams. They are soft-bodied. Some, like bivalves, snails and chitons, have hard protective
spiby

Usually striped or dotted in green with vivid orange rhinophores and


shells. The slugs are often beautifully and vividly coloured to advertise their protective toxicity. Cephalopods
mouth border; foot also orange outlined. Some with orange spots.
© geoff

usually protect themselves through camouflage, being able to change both their skin colour and texture.
natural history: Feeds on colonial sea squirts, absorbing their
Marine snails defensive chemicals and re-using them.

◗ Over 175 colour photographs to help you identify species


These animals all have a hard, protective spiral shell, produced by the mantle, and a distinct head with tentacles and a Spanish dancer (Hexabranchus sanguineus) é
pair of eyes. They have a large foot for locomotion and their mouths have a rasping tongue for feeding. The sexes are
size: May reach 40cm.
usually separate and fertilisation is usually external. Eggs are either laid on a surface or left to float in the plankton.
description: A very large nudibranch which may be orange, red or
taylor

tiger cowrie (Cypraea tigris) é brown, with red mottling. Large gill rosette surrounds anus. Rhinophores
and gills orange.
size: 10cm.
© andrew

natural history: Found down to 40m. Feeds on sponges, worms, sea


description: A large, beautiful cowrie, plump pale shell variably
squirts and marine snails. Swims by undulating body margin. Often seen
marked with dark to tawny splotches and blobs. The mantle has many
with a commensal shrimp, Periclimenes imperator.
protrusions, probably to aid with camouflage.
spiby

natural history: Found from 5–40m, nocturnal. Feeds on soft corals, four-coloured chromodorid (Chromodoris africana) è

◗ Size, common and scientific names


© geoff

anemones, sponges, starfish and urchins. Juveniles eat algae and


size: Up to 7.5cm.
detritus. Females sit on eggs until the larvae hatch.
description: A black, smooth-bodied nudibranch, with two pale blue
zsilavecz

egg cowrie (Ovula ovum) è lines running down the back, which has a white rim and an orange
margin. Gills and rhinophores yellow to orange.
size: Up to 8cm.
natural history: Feeds on sponges.
© guido

description: A plump, white-shelled snail with a velvety black mantle,


spotted with white or yellow; mantle usually completely covers the shell.
spiby

natural history: Found from 12–20m. Feeds on soft corals and


© geoff

sponges. Eggs laid in cases on reefs; the female may guard them before

◗ Brief description and natural history


hatching.

A map cowrie Beautifully demonstrating the reason for


(Leporicypraea mappa), its name, a spanish dancer swims é
its protective mantle half
covering its shell ê
taylor
spiby

© andrew
© geoff

◗ 31 location maps showing distribution of each species


Cover photograph by Geoff Spiby

I S B N 978-1-77026-228-7 157 detailed dive site descriptions


Endorsed by Mozambique Tourism (INATUR)
The National Tourism Institute (INATUR) is a government organization and
it is responsible for the promotion of the development of tourism through
50 pages of detailed topside & underwater maps
marketing, technical and financial assistance to local operators, ensures
the standard of quality of tourism accommodation, training and provision
of assistance on undertakings of tourism interest. Main object is to make
Over 150 marine species identified | Over 300 colour photographs
Mozambique a world class destination. 9 781770 262287
ATLAS OF

DIVE SITES
OF SOUTH AFRICA & MOZAMBIQUE
contents
introduction 2
chapter 1 cape peninsula and false bay 16
chapter 2 s outhern cape coast – gansbaai and
the garden route 26
chapter 3 port elizabeth, port alfred and east london 36
chapter 4 s outh coast – aliwal shoal, landers and
protea banks 46
chapter 5 durban and the north coast 58
chapter 6 sodwana bay 68
chapter 7 northern maputaland – mabibi and kosi bay 80
chapter 8 southern mozambique 90
chapter 9 the manta coast 102
chapter 10 vilanculos and the bazaruto archipelago 116
chapter 11 n
 ampula – nacala bay, baixo do pinda,
memba bay and ilha de mozambique 126
chapter 12 n
 orthern mozambique – pemba and the
quirimbas archipelago 138
chapter 13 inland dive sites 148
marine species identification guide 154
contacts 187
5 Durban and the North Coast
cooper’s light wreck | fontao wreck | outer anchorage or number one reef
t-barge | blood reef | vetch’s pier | limestone | griqualand | anchor hill | containers

Scuba divers in Durban are spoilt for choice. The most popular dive sites in South Africa
are within easy reach – Aliwal Shoal located off uMkomaas is nearby and the ever-popular
Sodwana Bay is a few hours’ drive away. It’s tough to compete against the best and, because
of the unpredictable diving conditions, scuba diving off Durban is very often overlooked by the
large local diving community. Nevertheless, the diving is easily accessible by a safe boat launch
from Vetch’s Pier and there are a number of interesting reefs and wrecks off Durban and the
North Coast that will appeal to the novice, advanced and technical diver, as well as a good
social scene – don’t forget to drop by the Durban Undersea Club for breakfast after the dive.
There are also some stunning artificial reefs for which the Oceanic Research Institute needs
to receive credit. These reefs add a greater diversity of marine life and bring with them higher
productivity. The Durban Bight region is largely devoid of reefs, and the artificial reefs were
colonised by invertebrates, seaweeds and over 84 species of fish within the first year of sinking.
karl beath/ioa
©
60 1 2

TO uMHLANGA
 Max 27m
Fontao Wreck  Average 18m

SOUTH
AFRICA
N
CAPE TOWN

NOTE:
Diving and snorkelling in uShaka Marine World
If diving in the open ocean doesn’t appeal, fear not – you can have one
of the best submarine interactions of your life in the crystal clear, 4m
deep Avis Snorkel Lagoon and Open Ocean tanks of uShaka Marine
TO uMHLANGA
World. Calypso Diving and Adventure Centre offer everything from a
two-hour Discover Scuba Diving experience for complete beginners (in
the Lagoon where you can mingle with all sorts of curious reef fish) to
N2

instructor courses. There are roughly 1 500 species in the Lagoon, Fontao Wreck
including beautiful coachmen, emperor angelfish and even sharks. But
don’t let the word shark intimidate you on this one – the only sharks
B you’ll find in the Lagoon are harmless smooth houndsharks only a metre
long! And if you’re taken with the sport and want to progress to the
next stage – a full open-water scuba diving qualification – they’ll deduct
the cost of the ‘try dive’ from the course fee and start you on your
training. Qualified open-water divers have the choice of diving in the Glen Ashley 0 4 km
Lagoon or the Open Ocean tank, home to a variety of gamefish including
pompano and kingfish, and cheeky white-spotted eagle rays that love
0 2 miles
coming up to nibble your mask or arms. Twice a week divers have the
opportunity to experience a night dive in the floodlit Lagoon. This is
quite a privilege as night diving is quite eerie and only offered by most
dive operators under specific (i.e. good, calm) conditions on easy shallow
dive sites in the sea. Give it a go – it’s a very, very different experience
to diving in the day.
The good news for adrenalin junkies wanting to eyeball sharks is that
you don’t even need a scuba qualification. Three times a day, at 10:30,
 T-Barge
13:00 and 16:00, the brave can sign up for the Xpanda Shark Dive led Kranskloof
by guides from uShaka and, from the safety of an acrylic cage, get up
close and personal with Zambezi and ragged-tooth sharks. Snorkels and
NR
masks are provided so you need only bring your swimming gear to enjoy
the unique privilege of interacting with the sleek apex predators.XXXXXX
Sounds too scary? Perhaps you’d rather not be in the predator tank?
Anchor Hill
C
Then sign up for a session in the Avis Snorkel Lagoon where you can
enjoy the colourful fish life and watch the sharks swimming around the
predator tank through the underwater panels. Buoyancy vests, masks
Containers
and snorkels are provided so even if you’re a poor swimmer you can
relax and enjoy this amazing window onto the underwater world.
Or how about a walk on the ‘wet’ side? Again no dive qualifications
Outer Anchorage
are required for the Ocean Walker experience in the Open Ocean tank
– you simply don a helmet that feeds air from the surface and stroll (Number One Reef)
15m - 49ft

around checking out the rays, sand sharks, dorado, tuna and other
fascinating sea creatures.
uShaka Marine World really is one of Southern Africa’s most exciting
marine playgrounds. In addition to all the diving experiences there’s Sea Battery Beach
INDIAN OCEAN
6 6ft

World and the fascinating, well-presented underground aquarium to


explore, dolphin and seal shows, a water park, wonderful restaurants,
20m -

numerous food outlets, a retail park and a host of beach and other
North Beach
ft

adventures that will entertain both kids and big kids for hours!XXXXXX
- 98
30m

DURBAN South Beach


ft
64
-1

Limestone
m
50

KEY
uShaka
Marine World Vetch’s Pier The Bluff
D  Smits Wrecks TOP SITE

Batsata Maze OTHER SITE


BOAT ENTRY & ROUTE
THIS AREA IN DETAIL
SHORE ENTRY See legend on page 190
DIVE AREA
LIGHTHOUSE DURBAN
Queensburgh
REEF
Two Oceans Aquarium PLACE OF INTEREST

Escombe
3 4 61
Tongaat Beach
NOTE:
Snorkelling trips out to sea
Calypso Dive and Adventure Centre also offer daily
adventure boat tours from uShaka Marine World
N2 to check out the shark nets, the old whaling station
and, weather permitting, to snorkel on the reefs
and wrecks along the way. Dolphins, whales and
sea birds are often sighted, and you might even
KING SHAKA catch a glimpse of the biggest fish in the sea, the
INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT whaleshark.xxxxxxxx

La Mercy N
Verulam

uMdloti

TO uMHLANGA
M4 T-Barge
ast
Co
Mount
in

Steel
lph

Edgecombe Structure
Do

Concrete Base
M41 N

 Max 25m
 Average 20m
uMhlanga

 Fontao Wreck SITE 2 INDIAN OCEAN

0 10 km

0 5 miles
Glen Ashley

Outer Anchorage
 T-Barge SITE 4
(Number One Reef)
TO uMHLANGA

Amphitheatre

 Drop-off
Outer Anchorage
(Number One Reef) SITE 3
20m

Cave
- 6 6ft

 Max 32m
The Bluff
 Average 25m
62-63
62 1 2
60-61
Kenneth Stainbank NR

DURBAN
Yellowwood Park

E N2 M4

SOUTH
AFRICA
CAPE TOWN uMlazi

iSipingo

iSipingo Beach
F

KwaMakhutha
uMbogintwini
Adams Mission
N2

R603

aManzimtoti

G
Warner Beach
Kingsburgh

Illovo
KEY

 Smits Wrecks TOP SITE

Illovo Beach  Batsata Maze OTHER SITE


BOAT ENTRY & ROUTE
SHORE ENTRY
DIVE AREA
uMgababa LIGHTHOUSE
H REEF
Two Oceans Aquarium PLACE OF INTEREST

N2
N
0 10 km

0 5 miles

uMkomaas
3 4 63

 Blood Reef SITE 5 TO THE BLUFF

Blood Reef

t
49f

6 6ft

ft
-

- 98
15m

-
20m
30m
Blood Reef
DURBAN

t
64f
-1
50m
 Cooper’s Light Wreck SITE 1
N
 Max 18m
 Average 16m

Cooper’s Light Wreck


ft
- 49

ft

8ft
- 66

-9
15m

m
20m
Treasure Beach

30
Mooring Bollards

ft
64
-1
m
Boilers

50
Harpoon Gun
N
 Max 32m
 Average 25m
INDIAN OCEAN

Kenneth Stainbank NR

Yellowwood Park Blood Reef
DURBAN
THIS AREA IN DETAIL
N2 M4
Ml
azi


Cooper’s Light Wreck

t
6f
9ft

iSipingo -6
-4

t
0m 8f
m

2 -9
15

ft

m
64

30
-1
m

iSipingo Beach
50

t
28f

See legend on page 190


-3

INDIAN OCEAN
m

uMbogintwini
100

N2
6ft
- 65
20m

0 5 km
Nyoni Rocks
aManzimtoti 0 2 miles

Warner Beach
Griqualand
64 durban and the north coast

Top sites Over the years there has been much


speculation as to her true name and the
Cooper’s Light Wreck reason she was sunk off Durban. The
 site 1 wreck is a steamship of between 1 000
and 1 500 tons and made of iron. At a
Advanced length of 77m with a beam of 10.5m she
Boat entry is not a small vessel. An interesting feature
 Maximum depth – 32m on the wreck is that she has an implosion
 Average depth – 25m hole on one of her boilers, indicating
that she could have been scuttled. This
 Map reference – page 63 E3
was common practice years ago when
vessels reached their sell-by date. It is
Cooper’s Light Wreck is rather an enigma. most likely that she was scuttled after
The identity of the wreck is still unknown, one of the World Wars as ships that were
as is the date she sank. She lies 4km off commandeered by the navy were often
not returned to their pre-war owners.
There are as many as 20 iron and steel
wrecks lying in the waters off Durban.
Cooper’s Light Wreck is rich in fish
life – juvenile angelfish and butterflyfish,
scorpionfish, paperfish, lionfish, eels
and coral-banded shrimps are all
here in abundance. And watch out
for the uncommon harlequin goldie
peter pinnock

(Pseudanthias connneli) which is endemic


to the coastline of KwaZulu-Natal and is
easily spotted on all the steel wrecks along
©

the coast.

Fontao Wreck  site 2


Open water
Boat entry
 Maximum depth – 27m
 Average depth – 18m
 Map reference – page 61 C3

The Fontao was a Mozambican prawn


trawler sunk by the Oceanographic Research
peter pinnock

Institute on 8 August 1991 to create


an artificial reef. The wreck lies 3km off
Umhlanga in 15–27m of water. The trawler
©

is 34m long, 8m wide and 13m high. She


top: cooper’s Treasure Beach on the Bluff and is named sits upright on a sandy bottom. Over the
light wreck
– three-spot after the lighthouse there. Lying at a years the wheelhouse has broken off and
angelfish
above: depth of 25–32m, she is Durban’s most now lies alongside the wreck on the sand.
number one interesting wreck in the recreational scuba There are a few opportunities to
– bluespotted
ribbontail ray diving range. penetrate the wreck but they are limited
durban and the north coast 65

to small confined spaces. The Fontao is a noise from their engines and propellers is
magnet for huge schools of baitfish that quite intimidating.
swarm around the wreck. Sometimes the
wreck can be obscured by giant schools of T-Barge  site 4
maasbanker, mackerel and shad. Pelagic
Advanced
fish can be spotted feeding on the baitfish
Boat entry
and in winter it is possible to spot daga
salmon. Exotic pineapple fish are found  Maximum depth – 25m
under the hull in protected crevices.  Average depth – 20m
Remember to take a torch to find them.  Map reference – page 61 C3
Batfish, moray eels, scorpionfish and
coachmen have also colonised the wreck. The T-Barge is a coral-encrusted artificial
reef. It is a decommissioned floating crane
Outer Anchorage or Number that was sunk by the Oceanographic
One Reef  site 3 Research Institute on 19 December below: t-barge
1990. The concrete structure is 30m × – harlequin
Advanced goldie
20m × 3m, comprising 48 compartments bottom:
Boat entry number one –
of 3m × 3m × 3m. The barge itself is hermit crab
 Maximum depth – 32m
 Average depth – 25m
 Map reference – page 61 D3

This reef was given its interesting name


years ago by a fisherman who considered
it as being the ‘number one’ reef to fish
on. It is within the depth range of sport
divers and today is enjoyed by both
divers and ski-boat fishermen. The reef is
part of an extensive reef system located
peter pinnock

approximately 5km offshore. Most of the


diving on Number One is done south
of the buoy that is used by shipping to
©

indicate the entrance into Durban Harbour.


It is a rugged reef featuring many drop-
offs, potholes, caves and an amphitheatre.
Because of its distance from the shore,
schools of pelagic tuna and kingfish are
often spotted. If you’re in luck you may
also encounter some of the blacktip
and copper sharks that frequent the
reef. Resident animals include frogfish,
angelfish, moray eels and rockcod, and
there are interesting marine artefacts like
anchors and anchor chains strewn over
peter pinnock

the reef.
The reef is close to the shipping
lane so stay near the buoy line and be
prepared for ships passing close by – the
©
66 durban and the north coast

made of concrete and there is a gantry-


like superstructure of steel located at the
T-junction.
The T-Barge is a haven for baitfish
that swarm above the structure. You will
submerge through schools of mackerel,
carenteen and pinkies. Understandably
this reef is also a popular fishing spot. It is
situated 3km off Virginia Airport. Artificial
reefs attract juvenile reef fish and the
T-Barge is no different. A careful search
of the structure will reveal lionfish, hermit
crabs, moray eels, paperfish, cleaner shrimp
and batfish, while the reclusive brindle bass
can also be spotted on the wreck.

peter pinnock
Blood Reef  site 5
Open water

©
Boat or shore entry
sandstone bedrock that has been eroded
 Maximum depth – 18m over the years to form a series of ledges
 Average depth – 16m and caves. Take a torch to explore the dark
 Map reference – page 63 E3 nooks and crannies in the caves where
you will find moray eels, hermit crabs,
An interesting name for a reef, and crayfish, scorpionfish and nudibranchs.
perhaps a little daunting. This scattered The reef above the caves is encrusted
reef is found just over 500m behind the with a colourful array of red and pink
backline off the Bluff directly opposite the thistle corals.
old whaling station that ceased operating
in 1975. It was one of the largest land- Other dive sites
based whaling stations in the world and
during its time it harvested whales in the Vetch’s Pier  site 6
area between Cape Vidal to the north Open water
top: blood
Shore entry
reef –  Maximum depth – 6m
blackcheek
moray  Average depth – 3m
right: blood
reef – raggy  Map reference – page 60 D2
scorpionfish
An easy shore dive from the Durban Undersea
peter pinnock

Club for the scuba diver or snorkeller. At low


tide the reef is visible from the surface.
Limestone  site 7
©

Open water
and Port St Johns in the south. The reef Shore entry
is named after the large amount of blood  Maximum depth – 8m
and offal that discoloured the water while  Average depth – 6m
the whales were being processed.  Map reference – page 60 D2
This is one of Durban’s best-known A natural underwater reef that runs in a
dive sites. The shallow reef structure is northeasterly direction from the tip of Vetch’s
durban and the north coast 67

Pier and is home to numerous crayfish and


moray eels.
Griqualand  site 8
Technical
Boat entry
 Maximum depth – 51m
 Average depth – 45m
 Map reference – page 63 H4
The coastal steamer that went down off
Warner Beach in 1970 provides a playground
for techies. Kitchen cutlery can still be found
in the holds.
Anchor Hill  site 9
Advanced
Boat Entry peter pinnock
 Maximum depth – 38m left: fonteo –
 Average depth – 32m yellow-edged
moray
 Map reference – page 60 C2 below: t-barge
– camel
©

An advanced dive on dramatic boulder shrimp


formations. Look out for the three anchors
leading onto the reef.
Containers  site 10
Advanced
Boat Entry
 Maximum depth – 21m
 Average depth – 18m
 Map reference – page 60 C2
A selection of containers that have been
peter pinnock

washed off ships in heavy weather make for


an interesting dive. Artefacts like chain saws
and brush-cutters can be identified amongst
©

the marine growth.

Area Specifics
Best time to go Durban enjoys summer rainfall. During these months masses of soil can be washed into the sea
when the rivers flood, making the water dirty and visibility very poor. The best time to dive the
Durban region is during the balmy autumn months of May–July. The best conditions for diving are
after a strong westerly wind – this normally brings in clear water. The predominant northeasterly
normally brings with it a ground swell and reduced visibility.
Water Range from 16°C to as high as 27°C when the warm Mozambique current flows close to shore in
temperatures summer.
Recommended A 3mm wet suit will suffice in summer but winter temperatures demand at least a 5mm wet suit.
gear
ATLAS OF

ATLAS OF DIVE SITES OF SOUTH AFRICA & MOZAMBIQUE


by Fiona McIntosh Vilanculos and the
10

with Marine Species Identification Guide by Georgina Jones Bazaruto Archipelago

DIVE SITES
the corner | ray alley | brindle bass ridge | allan’s realm | amphitheatre
camel hump | twelve mile reef | turtle ridge | manta ray reef | rainbow runner
aquarium | greek temple | ponta dundo | five mile reef

The pristine reefs of the Bazaruto National Park offer superb diving, both from Vilanculos on
the mainland and from the exclusive island lodges. One of the largest marine parks in Africa
and protected since 1971, the 1400km2 park consists of five islands: Bazaruto (the largest),

Introducing the Atlas of Dive Sites of South Africa & Mozambique


Benguerra, Magaruque, Santa Carolina (or Paradise Island) and tiny, uninhabited Bangue.
They’re real Robinson Crusoe-style deserted island escapes with high dunes covered in
colourful sprawling creepers, fresh water, crocodile-infested lakes, swaying palm trees and
sandy beaches littered with pansy shells and lapped by clear, intense blue water. As you cruise
around, turtles swim over to check you out and humpback and spinner dolphins frolic in the
swell. And divers and snorkellers who put their heads into the water are treated to an amazing

● Detailed coverage of top dive sites for each diving region


display of colourful corals, diverse tropical fish and big pelagics such as manta rays. The waters
of the archipelago are home to all five marine turtle species of the western Indian Ocean,
several dolphin species (including striped and Fraser’s dolphin that are predominantly found
offshore but occasionally venture inshore to the archipelago), as well as the elusive dugong.

● Introduction chapter highlighting:


◗ Overview of South Africa and Mozambique

shaen adey
©
◗ Basic training and equipment

SOUTH AFRICA & MOZAMBIQUE


◗ Dive culture and responsible diving
OF
18 1 2 Mouille Point Table Bay
ay 3 MILNERTON Tygerdal 4 19
Green Point NOTE: Wingfield Church Hill
BEAC
H GOODWOOD Estate
N Green Point Shark and kelp dives in the Two Oceans Aquariumxxxxxxxxxxxx
Two Oceans Aquarium If you really want to get up close and personal with sharks, turtles and
0 4 km Three Anchor Bay Townsend R102

◗ Treatment of injured divers and recompression chamber policy


HIGH big gamefish there’s nothing to beat a dive in the I&J Predator Exhibit
Estate VOORTREKKER

CH
Graaff's Pool LEVEL in the Two Oceans Aquarium. After a short briefing you drop into the

IN
BEA
Foreshore

MA
0 2 miles E two-million-litre glass-fronted tank as the big-eyed children and other
Sea Point RIN visitors to the aquarium gawp at your bravery. This has to be the easiest PAROW

Y
MA

RLE
dive in the Cape – where else can you dive with sharks with just a
M16

DE
Saunders Discover Scuba qualification? There’s no surge, the visibility is great,

AD
AVONWOOD
A Rocks Fresnaye
CAPE TOWN
the water is (relatively) warm and there’s a wonderful selection of
predatory fish all around you. Cheeky turtles come up to check you
ALBERT
Coral N
Tamboerskloof

OF
Bantry Bay out, and after the initial adrenalin rush you soon find yourself comfortable

DE LA REY
KLO
Zonnebloem Salt
Gardens DE WAAL
VICTO
RIA
River
with and intrigued by the ragged-tooth sharks.
Advanced divers also have the option of feeding the fish and checking
SOUTH AFRICA Clifton Clifton out the marine life in the surging kelp forest tank. The 800-litre tank
Beach is home to galjoen (the national fish) as well as gully sharks, white
Gardens Vredehoek

- 98ft
Overhangs M3 stumpnose, black and white musselcracker, also rock lobsters and

t
CAPE TOWN

- 66f
perlemoen – and if you’re really lucky you might even spot a rockhopper

- 49ft
BAY
30m

20m
Camps Bay or African penguin which has been released into the kelp forest for a

◗ Caring for the marine environment

VE
Air

UT
swim. Although it doesn’t have quite the same kudos as diving in the

DRI
15m
Cave Glen Beach

HO
TAFE predator tank, it’s a fascinating insight into the marine life of the Cape

BAY
Camps Bay
LBER West Coast.

TO
Pinnacle

PS
Oudekraal G

CAM
Bakoven Bay TO GORDON’S BAY
ATLANTIC OCEAN CAPE
 Max 19m Bakoven TOWN
INT.
Table Mountain Bellville
 Average 10m Newlands Table Bay AIRPORT
National Park Reservoir
CAPE Stellenbosch R44
Newlands TOWN
Koeël Bay
Forest Somerset West

RIA
B Hout Bay

TO
M63
Star Percy’s Hole

VIC
N
False Bay

◗ Dangerous marine organisms


Walls Lui Bay Twelve Apostles Hotel Kirstenbosch Gordon's
Coral National Simon's Bay
Gardens  Botanical Garden Town AREA OF THIS INSET

15m - 49ft
M6

20m - 66ft
- 98ft
Swim-through SITE 2 Bishopscourt
Pringle
Bay

30m
Cape Point
Overhang M3
Narrow Gap The Point

ES
Pinnacle Cecilia State Forest Klaassensbosch

OD
ls

RH
Rooie

BAY
Low Granite Outcrops
and Sand Patches Llandudno Bay

UT
HO
Sunset
 Max 32m Rocks Steenbras Rock Rooiels

TO
M63

VICTORIA
 Average 20m Llandudno
CONSTANTIA

◗ Emergency contact details


Disa
Sandy Bay
T BAY M41
Roman Rock
Oude Schip Helgarda HOU
False Bay
Estate HOUT BAY Sillery
C Duiker

MAIN
Star Walls R44

VICTO

LADI
R
Point

VE
SITE 1 

I
AT R

ES MILE
RIA

EM

15m - 66ft
50m - 164ft

20m - 98ft
Lui Bay

30m
CH


100m - 328ft
NS

- 49ft
Coral Gardens AA

SIMON
SP
CH
TO CLIFTON
Hout Bay ls

AP M
Harbour Buffe
M6

VAN DER
AN
0 2 km

◗ Marine protected areas

'S
Table Mountain

PE
0 2 km

AK
Duiker TOKAI
Hout Bay National Park

STEL
0 1 mile Island
Llandudno Bay
Tokai 0 1 mile
Sunset
ATLANTIC OCEAN Rocks Pringle Bay
TO KLEINMOND
Silvermine

VICTORIA
M3
Llandudno Pringle Bay
M6
Nature Reserve

TO NOORDHOEK
Sandy Bay Westlake MILITARY M32
Oude Schip SPINE
M42 STEENBERG Marina See legend on page 190
THIS AREA IN DETAIL Silvermine da Gama
KEY

oevlei
Dam
Duiker Point
D Zandvlei Bird
Star Walls   Smits Wrecks TOP SITE

BO
Sanctuary

Zeek


YES
Chapman's Point

● Each chapter features:


Hout Bay CHAPMAN'S PEAK Lakeside Batsata Maze OTHER SITE
R310
Ratelklip Muizenberg BOAT ENTRY & ROUTE
Noordhoek
Silvermine L Sunrise Beach SHORE ENTRY

15m 66ft
20m 98ft
ROYA East Beach
Hout San Michel Nature Reserve

30m
Lagoon (Tidal) DIVE AREA

- 49ft
Bay West Beach

-
Duiker Chapman's Bay False Bay

ES
Island LIGHTHOUSE

BOY
Neptune's Corner

50m

NO
Tafelberg Reef
OR REEF
Noordhoek Beach DH Danger Beach

- 164
O IN
Lagoon Sun
Kalk
MA 20-21 Two Oceans Aquarium PLACE OF INTEREST

ft

EK
Klein Slangkop Point (Tidal) Valley Clovelly Bay St James

◗ Clear and detailed maps of all the dive sites with:


◗ Positions of all sites indicated and cross referenced in the text 22 cape peninsula and false bay cape peninsula and false bay 23

Top sites corals, dreadlocks hydroids, multihued climb over boulders from the Oudekraal alleys of the kelp forest
anemones and sponges make the site parking lot south of the Twelve Apostles surrounding the rock
Diving in Cape Town is very different from vivid with colour. It’s nudibranch wallpaper Hotel, or after a 14km boat ride from Hout and will approach divers

◗ Enlargements showing routes, key points, sites and wrecks


the more usual tropical dive destinations, for the most part: Mandela’s nudibranchs, Bay Harbour or Oceana Power Boat Club. quite closely. They are
but its pleasures are many and varied. For candy nudibranchs, gas flames, silvertips It’s best to dive this site after a southeast temperate water coastal
more detailed information about Cape and black nudibranchs can all be seen wind in summer when the water will be animals which eat fishes
Peninsula and False Bay dive sites, go to: in profusion here, as can the rare dark- clear but cold. Check swell conditions and crustaceans and are
http://wikitravel.org/en/Diving_the_Cape_ toothed cowrie. Klipfish peer out from before setting off. known to pack-hunt seals.
Peninsula_and_False_Bay crevices, along with redfingers and From the shore, it’s a short snorkel They give birth to 60–104
janbruins, and safety stops are usually through kelp and a sunshot descent pups per litter at a birth
Star Walls ± site 1 enlivened by visiting seals. through flickering crowds of hottentot size of about 50cm. It’s

◗ Access points to dive sites featured


The trick with diving this site is not to and kelp stipes to the brilliantly coloured an amazing experience to
Advanced
overstay bottom time: there is so much to reefs and rock cathedrals below. Fragile watch them gently glide
Boat launch see it’s easy to forget how deep you are. bryozoans and fan hydroids jostle for through the water.
fi Maximum depth – 32m space among acid yellow sponges, blue The southern end of
‹€ Average depth – 20m Coral Gardens ± site 2 and orange anemones, as well as crowds the complex consists of
Á Map reference – page 18 C1 of the pink noble coral after which the site jumbled granite boulders

geoff spiby
Open water
is named. Cowled nudibranchs sweep with caves, swim-throughs
Shore or boat and gullies, all heavily
Star Walls is a stunning their pale hoods through the water in

◗ Location within the region

©
dive to the south of fi Maximum depth – 19m search of edible prey. Basket stars and encrusted with invertebrate
Maori Bay, about a ten- ‹€ Average depth – 10m klipfish stud the walls, while cuttlefish life. Expect to see Cape urchins, huge above:
broad-nosed
minute ride from Hout Á Map reference – page 18 B2 and octopus manage to evade the notice anemones, rock crabs, feather stars and sevengill
cowshark
Bay Harbour. It is relatively of all but the sharp-eyed. Caves, some red-chested sea cucumbers, along with (notorynchus
cepedianus) –
exposed, so is only Coral Gardens is distinguished by superb containing air pockets, are treasure houses many species of nudibranchs. Cuttlefish pyramid rock
diveable on low-swell days, topography and extraordinary biodiversity. of the more fragile and elusive animals. float over the sand and octopus can
usually in summer. After It is an extensive dive site of jumbled Bring a torch. be spotted, given away by the piles of
a good southeast blow, granite boulders, caves and overhangs on This site can be dived by open-water discarded mussel shells outside their lairs.

◗ Underwater depths indicated with colour-coding


when the upwelled water the Atlantic side of the Cape Peninsula. It divers, but the density of the reef life and This site is best dived in winter, when
is clean, visibility can be can be dived from the shore after a short its fragility require that divers have good False Bay is flat, and is usually a fishy
well over 20m. buoyancy control so as not to damage any dive. Romans, hottentot, strepies, juvenile
The wall starts at reef animals. red steenbras and janbruin can all be
8m and drops almost seen, as well as pyjama catsharks and
vertically down to 32m. It Castle Rocks/Pyramid Rock puffadder shysharks. Klipfish, triplefins
is the highest and longest ± site 3 and blennies lurk on the reefs. You might

geoff spiby
known wall, extending for see spotted gully sharks in the overhangs,
Open water
about 100m east-west, and whales in winter.

◗ Information boxes on other marine adventures or activities in the region


Shore or boat

©
with another 50m on
above: star the southeast face. The top of the wall is fi Maximum depth – 18m Partridge Point ± site 4
walls
right: coral covered with kelp and redbait pods, the ‹€ Average depth – 10m
gardens Open water
walls themselves are thickly encrusted Á Map reference – page 21 F3
with invertebrate life, and overhangs and Boat launch
vertical cracks provide microhabitats for This is a large dive site, just south fi Maximum depth – 26m
more fragile creatures. The bottom of the of Miller’s Point, and what you see ‹€ Average depth – 15m
wall ends in sand and scattered boulders. depends on where in the dive site you Á Map reference – page 21 G3

◗ All dives are described in detail with:


The invertebrate life is varied and go. Pyramid Rock is at the northern end

geoff spiby
often well camouflaged, like the shaggy of the complex and is mainly dived for This is a large dive site to the north of
sponge crabs, sumo crabs and cuttlefish. the cowsharks. These elegant animals, Smitswinkel Bay, best dived in winter after

©
Basket stars, grey fan hydroids, pink noble which can grow as big as 3.5m, circle the a northwest wind. The northern end of

◗ First-hand account of the dive and what the experience is likely to be


◗ Concise info boxes featuring: 56 south coast – aliwal shoal, landers and protea banks

Protea Banks Northern


Pinnacles ± site 8
as 200 have been seen on one dive – so
there are strict codes of conduct. The dive
season it’s still an impressive dive on which
you’ll probably see potato bass and, if you’re
lucky, pineapple fish – a small, yellow, spiny
south coast – aliwal shoal, landers and protea banks 57

starts at a large, open-topped cave which is


Advanced
usually full of raggies. Then you swim past critter with a dazzling smile and a skin pattern
Boat launch a tunnel – or through it if it is shark-free that resembles that of a pineapple. The site

– Difficulty rating
fi Maximum depth – 40m – past coral gardens to a second open- is normally dived on a north-south current,
‹€ Average depth – 33m topped cave with lots of chambers where starting at the south part of North Sands where
the raggies like to rest and where, during you’ll often see dolphins.
Á Map reference – page 50 H2
late spring and early summer, you’ll often Inside Edge ± site 11
Best dived in the winter months (June to see large shoals of hammerhead sharks Open water

barry coleman
November) when the raggies congregate overhead. Remember also that sharks are Boat launch
on the reef to mate, this rates as one not the sole attraction. I was so obsessed fi Maximum depth – 22m
of the most exciting shark dives in the with the likelihood of shark interaction on ‹€ Average depth – 15m

©
Á Map reference – page 49 D4

– Type of access (Shore or boat)


world. A deep reef some 7.5km out my first dive there that it was only when
in the open ocean, this is a site for I’d snapped 20 images of the first shark I On the inner, sheltered side of the Shoal, this caves make for interesting exploration, and above: nebo
wreck
experienced, disciplined divers with a spotted that I realised it had black patches site consists of a stepped series of ledges and photogenic specimens include cute little toby
taste for adventure. The briefing gets the on its side and was in fact a massive overhangs in which you’ll find scorpionfish, puffers and boxfish.
heart beating. It’s not just the remoteness, potato bass! Enjoy the sharks, but try also stonefish, lionfish, octopus, boxfish and Protea Banks Southern Pinnacles ± site 13
below: protea
banks current and other dangers of diving this to look around and appreciate the reef. whitemouth (guinea fowl) moray eels as well Advanced
bottom:
umzimai wall site; you are looking for sharks – as many as a variety of nudibranchs. Check the sandy Boat launch
Other dive sites patches for rays – and in summer you might fi Maximum depth – 40m
even see tiger sharks in mid-water off the ‹€ Average depth – 30m

– Maximum and average depths


The Nebo ± site 9 southern section of the reef. Á Map reference – page 51 F4
Advanced Umzimai Wall ± site 12 It was the Zambezi sharks (bull sharks) that
Boat launch Advanced initially put Protea Banks on the world dive
fi Maximum depth – 26m Boat launch site map, and the high chance of sighting
‹€ Average depth – 18m fi Maximum depth – 39m these fearsome-looking predators on the reef
Á Map reference – page 49 C4 ‹€ Average depth – 23m between October and May attracts divers
Wrecked in 1884, the Nebo lies off the Á Map reference – page 49 D4 from all over the world. Blacktip sharks are
barry coleman

landward (northwestern) edge of the Shoal. A 20m high wall adorned with corals and alive seen year-round while scalloped and great

– Reference to locate the dive site on the map


The wreck, which lies in two parts, is home with tropical fish is the highlight of this little- hammerhead sharks make an appearance at
to turtles and an abundance of pelagic and dived site in the southern section of Landers the end of the season, making this a top site
reef fish, including the rare harlequin goldie, Reef. Swim-throughs, big gullies, ledges and for shark lovers.
©

but visibility is not usually as good as on the


Produce. Area Specifics
Chunnel ± site 10 Best time to go This is a year-round destination but dive conditions are best during the dry season from May to
Open water September (the winter months).

◗ Area specifics on best time to visit, water temperatures, dive conditions


Boat launch Water Range from 16°C in winter to around 25°C in summer.
fi Maximum depth – 17m temperatures
‹€ Average depth – 12m Dive conditions The South Coast generally enjoys good visibility – ranging from 5m to 40m. Launching, in rigid
Á Map reference – page 49 D4 inflatable boats, is from Umkomaas (for Aliwal Shoal – either from the river mouth or from the
An awesome dive with loads of overhangs, beach depending on tide and conditions), from Rocky Bay (Landers Reef) or from Shelley Beach
Chunnel, directly inshore from Raggies Cave, is (Protea Banks). Accessing these sites sometimes involves an exciting ride through the surf.
an easy, shallow dive with a channel through Recommended A 5mm wet suit is more than adequate in summer – add a hood/chicken vest, booties and gloves
barry coleman

which sharks cruise in season. Upwelling of gear or go for a semi-dry or dry suit in the chillier winter months.
plankton in the area means that there’s also

and recommended gear


a good chance of sighting manta rays, and
©

reef fish are there in numbers. Outside shark

◗ Beautiful dive images to give you an indication of the dive site features
174 marine species identification guide marine species identification guide 175

and underwater views Urchins


Urchins are the most spiny of all the echinoderms, are armoured in a tough shell or test, and are usually spherical. The
mouth is usually on the underside of the animal, with the anus uppermost. Tubefeet in five rows on the underside are
used for locomotion, while tiny pincers on stalks defend the animals from predators or settling organisms.
Algoa cone (Conus algoensis) å
size: Up to 5cm.
description: A yellow cone-shaped snail. Shell with a rounded shoulder,
southwood

‘steps’ between whorls and a narrow opening. Shell colour ranges from
pot-hole urchin (Stomopneustes variolaris) å yellow to brown, variably marked in streaks and blotches.
natural history: Found down to 50m. Predatory: mantle modified to
size: 10cm.
© peter

form a harpoon which injects a neurotoxin.

● Includes a separate Marine Species Identification Guide


description: A spherical urchin with sturdy tapering spines. Body dark;
spiby

similar species: The textile cone (Conus textile) has a pale shell
spines pale, mounted on ball and socket joints. patterned with orange patches, outlined in brown. The geography cone
© geoff

natural history: Found on shallow tropical reefs. Feeds on seaweeds (Conus geographus) has ridges running down the shell, which is pale
and algae. Stout spines can erode corals. and covered with reddish-brown patterning. Both are poisonous to
Cape urchin (Parechinus angulosus) ç humans and can be fatal.

size: 6cm. Nudibranchs


description: Spherical body covered with dense spines which can be Nudibranchs are the most numerous of the sea slugs. They are shell-less molluscs which are often vividly
purple, green or red. patterned and coloured to warn off predators. Many are toxic, most from acquiring toxins from prey species. Their
spiby

natural history: Common on rocky shores and reefs down to 98m. sensory tentacles are called rhinophores. They are hermaphrodites which leave their eggs ribbons on reefs to

◗ Marine species are identified by:


© geoff

Grazes on kelp and other algae. Preyed on by West Coast rock lobsters. hatch into larvae.
May be seen using shells as a sunshade.
variable neon slug (Nembrotha kubaryana) ç
Molluscs
size: Up to 12cm.
The molluscs include chitons (armadillo snails), snails and slugs, cephalopods such as octopus and squid, and
description: A large, black-bodied nudibranch, variably patterned.
bivalves like mussels and clams. They are soft-bodied. Some, like bivalves, snails and chitons, have hard protective
spiby

Usually striped or dotted in green with vivid orange rhinophores and


shells. The slugs are often beautifully and vividly coloured to advertise their protective toxicity. Cephalopods
mouth border; foot also orange outlined. Some with orange spots.
© geoff

usually protect themselves through camouflage, being able to change both their skin colour and texture.
natural history: Feeds on colonial sea squirts, absorbing their
Marine snails defensive chemicals and re-using them.

◗ Over 175 colour photographs to help you identify species


These animals all have a hard, protective spiral shell, produced by the mantle, and a distinct head with tentacles and a Spanish dancer (Hexabranchus sanguineus) é
pair of eyes. They have a large foot for locomotion and their mouths have a rasping tongue for feeding. The sexes are
size: May reach 40cm.
usually separate and fertilisation is usually external. Eggs are either laid on a surface or left to float in the plankton.
description: A very large nudibranch which may be orange, red or
taylor

tiger cowrie (Cypraea tigris) é brown, with red mottling. Large gill rosette surrounds anus. Rhinophores
and gills orange.
size: 10cm.
© andrew

natural history: Found down to 40m. Feeds on sponges, worms, sea


description: A large, beautiful cowrie, plump pale shell variably
squirts and marine snails. Swims by undulating body margin. Often seen
marked with dark to tawny splotches and blobs. The mantle has many
with a commensal shrimp, Periclimenes imperator.
protrusions, probably to aid with camouflage.
spiby

natural history: Found from 5–40m, nocturnal. Feeds on soft corals, four-coloured chromodorid (Chromodoris africana) è

◗ Size, common and scientific names


© geoff

anemones, sponges, starfish and urchins. Juveniles eat algae and


size: Up to 7.5cm.
detritus. Females sit on eggs until the larvae hatch.
description: A black, smooth-bodied nudibranch, with two pale blue
zsilavecz

egg cowrie (Ovula ovum) è lines running down the back, which has a white rim and an orange
margin. Gills and rhinophores yellow to orange.
size: Up to 8cm.
natural history: Feeds on sponges.
© guido

description: A plump, white-shelled snail with a velvety black mantle,


spotted with white or yellow; mantle usually completely covers the shell.
spiby

natural history: Found from 12–20m. Feeds on soft corals and


© geoff

sponges. Eggs laid in cases on reefs; the female may guard them before

◗ Brief description and natural history


hatching.

A map cowrie Beautifully demonstrating the reason for


(Leporicypraea mappa), its name, a spanish dancer swims é
its protective mantle half
covering its shell ê
taylor
spiby

© andrew
© geoff

◗ 31 location maps showing distribution of each species


Cover photograph by Geoff Spiby

I S B N 978-1-77026-228-7 157 detailed dive site descriptions


Endorsed by Mozambique Tourism (INATUR)
The National Tourism Institute (INATUR) is a government organization and
it is responsible for the promotion of the development of tourism through
50 pages of detailed topside & underwater maps
marketing, technical and financial assistance to local operators, ensures
the standard of quality of tourism accommodation, training and provision
of assistance on undertakings of tourism interest. Main object is to make
Over 150 marine species identified | Over 300 colour photographs
Mozambique a world class destination. 9 781770 262287