diving aliwal shoal, south africa

Aliwal shoal dive guide

Aliwal Shoal diving

Aliwal Shoal is a beautiful ancient sand dune, located about 5km off KwaZulu-Natal province. It was named after the three-masted vessel Aliwal wrecked in 1849. It is a popular diving destination for its wide variety of sea life, tropical reefs and shipwrecks. You can see a beautiful combination of sponges, soft and hard corals at its dive sites and explore the shipwrecks located here. There is a great chance to watch grey nurse sharks between the months of August and November; as it is their mating season you can find plenty of them in sites like Cave and Shark Alley.

Always dive according to your level of training.
Never enter the water without checking with the local dive center for safety, additional information, level required for each dive site and without being accompanied by a professional.
All the information provided is purely informative for our readers and shouldn't be used as is to plan your immersion.

Average Water surface temperature: From 21°C to 27°C (69 °F to 80°F).
Average visibility: 98 feet (30 meters) but it can be lowered by the rain.
Possible to dive all year round.

The ragged-tooth sharks (or grey nurse shark) are known to live in tropical warm waters and in shallow coastal waters, this is why Aliwal Shoal is considered the best habitat for them. Ragged-tooth sharks live in shallow waters from the surf zone down to 196 feet (60 meters). Best places to find them are Cave and Shark Alley in a depth of about 65 feet (20 meters). You will encounter them during the months of August to October. February and March is best time to see tiger sharks at Eel Skin. This is a beautiful dive location at a depth of 55 feet (17 meters). Also it is home to other sharks like blacktips and hammerheads. The caverns and caves of Eel Skin provide a habitat for various marine life.

Aliwal Shoal is not only famous for the different shark species, but also for its wide variety of other marine life. Octopus, cuttlefish, scorpion fish, lionfish, cowfish, nudibranchs and eels are seen at its dive sites like Inside Edge in a depth of 72 feet (22 meters) and North Eastern Pinnacles at a depth of 45 feet (14 meters). Bottlenose dolphins, humpback whales and turtles are frequently spotted at Aliwal Shoal's dive sites. North Sands is the bottlenose dolphin's favourite place, you may encounter them there. During the months of June and July it is humpback whales migration season. They come to warmer waters for mating. They return again and you will get to see the newborn calves during the months of September and October. Turtles are present all year long. Many species are found here, like loggerhead, hawksbill and green. Sometimes you can spot a leatherback.

Aliwal Shoal provides wreck dive sites as well. Most of the vessels were victims of Aliwal Shoal's shallow pinnacles.
The SS Nebo that sank in 1884 is now lying in 88 feet (27 meters) and rises up to 55 feet (17 meters). Although it is a small site you are advised to avoid doing this dive during strong current.
Another wreck site is the MV Produce; it is one of the popular dive sites in Aliwal Shoal. The wreck lies on its right side in 104 feet (32 meters) depth and rises up to about 45 feet (14 meters).

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