Durban is the largest city in KwaZulu-Natal province. It is a major touristic center due to its warm weather and beautiful beaches. There are several dive sites suitable for beginners and advanced divers as well. Durban also has some interesting wreck dive sites.
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 19 °C to 24°C (66 °F to 75°F).
Average visibility: mostly less than 32 feet (10 meters) but sometimes it reaches (30 to 40 meters) when warm, clean water of the Mozambique Current flows in close to the shore.
Best time to dive May, June and July.
Possible to dive all year round.
You can expect to find many kinds of aqua life in Durban's dive sites, due to the great location at the Indian Ocean. The spots offer some excellent diving for different levels of expertise.
Vetch's Pier, a man made marine structure, is home to many tropical fish, large crayfish, scorpion and lionfish as well as eels and octopuses. It is a shallow dive site at a depth of 10 to 23 feet (3 to 7 meters). It's advisable to dive with a buoy because there might be boat traffic around.
Another shallow site, the Limestone reef with an average depth of 10 feet to 23 feet (3 to 7 meters) and its protected location is specially suited for novices. As the name suggests it consists of limestone. It runs parallel to the coastline and offers lots of small tropical fish. More advanced divers may dive here if they just want a relaxing dive without challenges. It's located close to Vetch's Pier, about 1476 feet (450 meters) from the pier.
The No. 1 Reef or Outer Anchorage is a challenging reef with an average depth of 82 feet (25 meters) for the more advanced divers. It's located off Durban's coast. Its name derives from the times, when the fishermen used to describe this site as the fishing ground no. 1. The reef is characterized by many boulders and long bits of anchor chains going around the pinnacles. Best to visit this dive site is during the winter months. Be aware this is a feeding ground for sharks. Because of the currents, depth and changing visibilities this reef is recommended for experienced divers only.
There is another interesting reef area which is locally referred to as the Blood reef. The blood reef's name goes back to the days of commercial whaling. Here you can do a few interesting dives although it's not really deep. Depths vary from 29 to 59 feet (9 to 18 meters).
The Caves: Collapsed sandstone formations formed caves, gullies and holes which provide a habitat for lots of marine life.
The Pinnacles: Limestone structures which rise up from the reef. These pinnacles as well are rich of fish and coral, but the visibility isn't so good, so you're advised to take your torch. This site is suited for advanced divers.
The Faultline: Located in the South of the Blood reef you can see a natural fault line. This fault formed two large caves, the abundance of sea life is remarkable.
There's some interesting wreck diving in Durban.
The Coopers Lighthouse Wreck is probably one of the most popular wrecks off the Durban coast. It is lying at a depth ranging from 78 to 98 feet (24 to 30 meters) The vessel is sourrounded by mystery as there are no records of its sinking and her real name. So it was named after the lighthouse close to its location. You can spot an enormous amount of marine life like various tropical fish and rays.
The Ovington Court wreck lies about 164 feet (50 meters) off the shore at a depth of 26 feet (8 meters). It was formerly a cargo freighter transporting a load of sugar when it went down in 1940.
Another wreck, the T-Barge was sunk as an artificial reef in 1990 to a depth ranging from 56 to 88 feet (17 to 27 meters). Turtles, batfish, bait fish, pineapple fish, puffer fish and lion fish are only some of the interesting species you can spot at this wreck.