Coast KZN

05 Apr 2021

Diving in paradise

Southern Explorer (South Coast Herald) Picture: Raffaella Schlegel. The coast offers some of the very best dive sites in the world..

The KZN South Coast is undeniably a diver’s paradise. The beautifully clear waters are not only great for surfing and swimming, but hold some of the most magnificent underwater worlds, ready for divers to discover.

Between April and July, visitors will experience peak dive season with many on-site diving organisations happy to welcome everyone, from novice to experienced divers. These cooler months are also when the incredible Sardine Run takes place, bringing with it a kaleidoscopic selection of marine life.

Dive sites on the coast include Lionfish Hole, Manta Point, Subway Reef, North and South Sands, Hammerhead Reef, Cowrie Reef and Deep Landers. However, it’s undoubtedly Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks that are the key dive attractions. Both are Marine Protected Areas with plenty to be explored.

Aliwal Shoal

This famous dive site is named after the three-masted ship Aliwal which almost hit the shoal in 1849. The site is home to two other ships that were less fortunate, the Nebo which sank in 1884, and the Produce which sank in 1974.

Found just 4 km off the Umkomaas coastline, Aliwal Shoal consists of a fossilised sand dune of sponges and hard and soft coral.

A major attraction for the adventurous is ‘Raggie Cave’, where divers swim among numerous ragged-tooth sharks.

Protea Banks

This equally famous site is just 7.5 km off Shelly Beach, and is a leading dive site for shark and gamefish viewing. It consists of a blend of caves, ridges, pinnacles and amphitheatres where divers will find tiger, guitar, bull, copper, maco, hammerhead and oceanic reef sharks plus giant manta, sting and marble rays, as well as king fish, yellowfin tuna and barracuda.