15 – 24 °C / 59 – 75 °F
2 – 20 meters / 6 – 60ft
5mm - 7mm semi-dry
Best time to travel
Year round - May to July for Sardine Run
Recommended dive sites
Protea Banks, Sodwana Bay, Aliwal Shoal, Mosselbaai
Above water activities
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Scuba diving in South Africa is not for the faint hearted. Most dive sites are only accessible by RIB (Rubber Inflatable Boats) and just getting into the boat through breaking surf is a blast that readies you for a true dive adventure.
The Northern and Southern Pinnacles are very interesting dive sites in a region known as Protea Banks, a unique reef system along the Kwa-Zulu Natal coast, which offers diving experiences second to none. The pelagic life is the main attraction with schools of Yellow Tail, Kingfish, Tuna and Barracuda attracting a variety of top predators. The reef is especially known for its large Zambezi (Bull Shark) populations and some of the best shark diving South Africa travel has to offer is found here.
Dive and get up-close with Great Whites, Tiger Sharks, Bull Sharks, Hammerhead Sharks, Oceanic Blacktip Sharks, Ragged Tooth Sharks, Dusky Sharks, Guitar Sharks, Grey Reef Sharks, White-tip Reef Sharks & Whale Sharks as well as Dolphins. Protea Banks has been rated by many divers from around the world as the best shark dive and is definitely marked as a site for the true adventure seeker.
For a more adventurous dive, there are cage dives available on the tip of South Africa that will introduce you to great white sharks. On South Africa tours one of the best-known locations is Mosselbaai, which is located in the Indian Ocean. The climate in this area is more or less constant all year round, however, the best time to vacation South Africa and see as many great white sharks as possible is from April to July or September to November.
For the ultimate South Africa vacation there is the Sardine Run, the greatest marine spectacle on earth, which occurs between May and July when billions of sardines spawn in the cool waters of the Agulhas Bank and move northward along the east coast of South Africa. Their sheer numbers create a feeding frenzy along the coastline. The run, containing millions of individual sardines, occurs when a current of cold water heads north from the Agulhas Bank up to Mozambique where it then leaves the coastline and goes further east into the Indian Ocean.
Sardines group together when they are threatened. This instinctual behavior is a defense mechanism, as lone individuals are more likely to be eaten than large groups. The sardines shoal closely together minimizing their chances of being taken by predators. Visible even by satellite, these famous sardine shoals travel in seething masses stretching for up to 15 kilometers in length, 3 kilometers wide and nearly 30 meters deep. Because of the cold currents along this stretch of coastline and their appetite for plankton, these fish converge close to the shoreline and to the surface which of course is a spectacle in itself, but add to this, hundreds of predators arriving en mass to partake in a feeding frenzy, and you get a wildlife extravaganza rivaling the Great Migration of the wildebeest across the African savanna. With perfect viewing for snorkelers and scuba divers, bottlenose and common dolphins (up to 20,000) join in the excitement and employ a hunting strategy that works the shoals into what is referred to as a "bait-ball". By working together the dolphins herd the sardines into a tight ball and push them towards the surface.
The dolphins, birds (the Cape gannet, cormorants, terns and gulls), sharks, whales and game fish (Bluefish, King Mackerel, various Kingfish species, Garrick, Geelbek and Eastern Little Tuna) all gorge themselves on sardine's-a-plenty, putting on a show that will undoubtedly live on in memory for a lifetime.
Breathtakingly diverse in landscape and visitor experiences, South Africa holidays are unforgettable. An inland safari, the Cape, the Garden Route or Kruger National Park for example, any trip to Africa rewards a longer-than-usual stay, giving you a chance to combine the amazing diving South Africa has to offer with other unforgettable experiences.
Timing your South Africa vacation packages so that they coincide with animal migrations as well as the best diving season is a complicated affair; check with us. Contact us for more info, options and possibilities.
VISA Citizens traveling to South Africa must have 30 days valid on their passport from the date of return and have two consecutive blank pages; a left and right page. Passengers traveling with passports that do not comply with these requirements will be refused entry. Visas are not required by most Western countries citizens for travel in South Africa. 90 days tourist entry is granted on arrival. Check with your embassy or consulate.
LANGUAGE The official languages are Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Siswati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga.
TIME GMT +2
CURRENCY The official currency is the South African Rand (ZAR), denoted by the symbol R.
Euros, GBP and US$ are readily exchanged at local banks and Bureaux de Changes. Take your money in a combination of cash and travelers cheques and take an ATM card. Most major international credit cards such as MasterCard and Visa are accepted in large shops and restaurants.
CLIMATE South Africa enjoys a pleasant climate, with warm sunny days most of the year. The seasons of the southern hemisphere are opposite to those in the northern hemisphere so South African summers run from November to February. South Africa enjoys one of the world's highest average daily hours of sunshine. June & July are during the 'dry' season.
VACCINES No vaccines are essential. Vaccinations against tuberculosis and hepatitis B are sometimes recommended. Check with your embassy or consulate, as well as with a knowledgeable doctor, for detailed information on current health issues. Medical facilities are good in urban areas but can be limited elsewhere. Doctors and hospitals often require immediate cash payment. Private medical insurance is recommended.
ELECTRICITY 220-230 volts AC, 50Hz. South African three-pin plugs are generally used.
AIRPORT TAX There is no airport departure tax.