diving sodwana bay, south africa

Sodwana Bay dive guide

Sodwana Bay diving

Sodwana Bay is located in KwaZulu Natal on the East coast of South Africa. It is one of the very special diving destinations in the Indian Ocean. There are more than 1200 species that can be found at Sodwana Bay dive sites including bottle-nosed dolphins, sharks and whale sharks. It is famous for the migrations of leatherback and loggerhead turtles which come back same time every year to lay their eggs at their traditional place. Sodwana Bay's reefs run parallel to the shore with some beautiful combination of hard and soft coral, pinnacles, walls and caves. The warm weather and calm, clear waters makes it a perfect place for scuba diving.

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 Annual temperature: From 21°C to 28°C (69 °F to 82°F).
Average Water surface temperature: From 20 °C to 28°C (68 °F to 82°F).
Average visibility: 32 to 131 feet (10 to 40 meters) depending on the tied.
Best time to dive between April and September.
Possible to dive all year round.

Sodwana Bay is part of iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a conservation area is since 1999 South Africa's first World Heritage Site. The reserve presents huge populations of fish and aqua life as well as pristine corals. More than 1200 species inhabit its dive sites such as moray eels, blue spotted ribbon tail rays, trigger fish, potato bass and dolphins as well as large schools of pelagic fish. You can see different kinds of turtles depending on the time of year. Most likely it's possible to watch humpback whales during their annual migration from June to November. This area is one of the preferred sites for the pregnant grey nurse sharks, locally known as ragged-tooth sharks, from November to March.

Sodwana Bay has beautiful reefs that run parallel to the coastline about 500m offshore. The diving here is mostly concentrated in four regions which are 2 mile, 5 mile, 7 mile and 9 mile. The names of the dive sites are related to their distance from the launching place on Jesser Point. The dive sites are varied in depths going from just a few feet to 130 feet (40 meters) and more which gives a chance to divers of all levels to enjoy diving here. The visibility here is always good, rarely below 32 feet (10 meters) and sometimes even more than 130 feet (40 meters)!!! The lowest visibility is in the winter months because of the high concentration of plankton. Although it's possible to dive in Sodwana all year, if possible target to be there between April and September when the conditions are best.

A wonderful combination of hard and soft coral formations, huge coral trees, caves and overhangs can be seen at the Nine Mile Reef in a depth ranging from 20 to 68 feet (6 to 21 meters).
The large Two Mile Reef offers several dive sites. It is an interesting reef with beautiful scenery created by coral heads, gullies and overhangs populated by huge schools of tropical fish. The depth ranges from 39 to 114 feet (12 to 35 meters).
The Seven Mile Reef is popular and boasts a great diversity of marine life, like turtles and rays, and there are regular sightings of bottle-nosed dolphins fooling around its drop-offs and mushroom shaped pinnacles. The depths range from 46 to 82 feet (14 to 25 meters)
The Five Mile Reef offers a remarkable diversity of hard coral surrounded by colorful tropical fish. The max. depth is 69 feet (21 meters).
Ribbon reef lies a few hundred meters away from Five Mile reef, it consists of two small reef systems. It was named after the Ribbon eel that is found around its edges. Devil firefish are seen regularly at this site as well as some large creatures like barracuda, king fish and a different sharks. It is a site that underwater photographers will appreciate.
Stringer reef is considered a nursery reef for large fish. Its walls are covered with colorful sponges and you can watch shrimps and cleaner wrasses cleaning their "customers". Rock cods, plenty of sea goldies and clown fish are spotted too.

Night dives are excellent in this bay due to the calm sea conditions, you may watch the coral expanding their polyps to feed at night. It is advised to book your trip well in advance during the season to avoid disappointment as they are in very high demand.

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