Diving the South African Coastlines
By Juanique Pretorius
Mysterious legends from the southern tip of Africa tell of undersea creatures who have the ability to evoke unimaginable reverence within man, and that only those who have seen them can do justice to the tales. Here, in the land where two oceans meet, it is said that pre-historic beasts guard the deep, while the maritime big five namely the sharks, whales, dolphins, penguins and turtles keep an eye on the rest.
Warm Indian treasures.
The primitive Coelacanth, until recently thought to be extinct, was spotted deep off-shore from Sodwana Bay on the East coast in 2003. This popular dive spot forms part of the World Heritage classified Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park. Water temperatures never fall below 20Ā° C due to the perennial summer and schools of pelagic fish, potato bass, turtles, southern right and humpback whales, whale sharks and dolphins abound.
At Protea Banks, 10 minutes from Shelley Beach advanced divers are afforded the rare opportunity experience safe and secure ā€˜cagelessā€™ shark diving with Carcharodon carcharias (Great Whites) in rather unique conditions. The sharks seen here are naturally present in the area and not lured in by bait.
During the summer months, Protea Banks hosts the Bull Shark (Zambezi) as well as abundance of game fish and Hammerheads from the Sphyrnidae family. In winter the area becomes a mating ground for Ragged Tooth Sharks (Carcharias taurus).
The Cape aquatic
At Justinā€™s caves just past Boulders Beach in Simonstown the water averages a good ten degrees warmer than its chilly Atlantic counterpart. Advanced candidates are often ferried out on dingys to do their deep dive qualification further along at Millers Point.
The Peninsula, on the other hand, offers magnificent wreck dives such as The Antipolis, near Oudekraal. Both Justinā€™s Caves and Strawberry Rock - the launch point for the surface swim to the Antipolis - sport vibrant coral, seals, starfish and octopus.
Dyer Island is the Western Capeā€™s shark diving capital. Roughly one and a half hours outside Cape Town near Gansbaai, colonies of juicy seals entice Great Whites to feed. These giants keep the seal colonies in check, playing their key role in maintaining natures delicate balance.
Meridian Dive and Aqua Planet Dive Centre will guide you around the waters of Kwa Zulu Natal and Protea Hotel Umghlanga, Protea Hotel Edward Durban, Protea Hotel Karridene Beach or at Seaside Cottage self catering and Beside Still Waters Guest House in La Lucia will look after your accommodation requirements.
In Cape Town, Pro Divers will facilitate your adventures and airport transfers can be arranged by pick up car hire to any of the following perfectly situated guest houses or hotels nearby; Protea Hotel Cape Castle, the Protea Hotel President and the place on the bay as well as Moon Bay Guest House five minutes from Simons Town in Fishhoek.
If you plan to visit South Africa on a diving holiday, be sure to click onto CityGuideSA.com for tailor-made travel advice. We will gladly assist you in making seamless travel arrangements to any other Southern African destination.
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