Scuba Diving in Sodwana Bay

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Scuba Diving Locations - Scuba Diving in South Africa
Wednesday, 21 January 2009 23:10

Sodwana Bay is located in South Africa and is an ideal diving location if you are interested in a large variety of marine life and ocean topography options.  The bay itself is located in a protected marine reserve that is known as the Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park, so you are going to be sure of seeing a lot of well preserved reef areas as well as abundant marine life.  Plus, the visibility is outstanding in the area, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to see everything that you want to see while you are scubas diving.


South Africa Diving - Sodwana Bay

South Africa Diving - Sodwana Bay


You do not have to worry about whether or not you will be able to dive, as this location is perfect for both novice and experienced divers.  You will be able to dive in any location with the hopes of discovering newfound underwater treasures and seeing some of the best reefs around.  Another amazing thing that you will have the chance to experience when you are scuba diving in Sodwana Bay is the possible sighting of a whale or a whale shark.  Many people go to this area of South Africa specifically for the hope they will be able to witness this.


Best Time to Dive Sodwana Bay

The waters can go down to 19°C from July to October, so most people who are interested in swimming in the more tropical climates, often opt to go in February and March when the waters are generally around 24°C.  However, if you go during the slightly cooler months, you have the chance to have a better scuba diving experience as it is not likely that there will be as many tourists crowding the waters.  


Notable Dive Locations in Sodwana Bay

A diving location that is perfect for less experienced divers is a small reef that goes by the name Anton’s Reef (although it is also sometimes called Two Mile Reef).  One of the reasons that this area is so popular is that it is a shallower reef and it has exceptional visibility of more than fifteen metres.  This combination works to help demonstrate the wonderful coral and marine life that are found in the region.  You can really get a feel for this underwater environment when you explore the submerged overhanging areas which are home to interesting schools of tropical fish.  

Nine Mile Reef is an area in Sodwana Bay that often attracts a lot of the more serious divers.  One good thing about this reef is that it is not as easily accessible as many of the other diving regions, so it does not get the large groups of divers that a lot of the other areas attract.  With fewer people around to cause underwater congestion problems, it has helped to preserve the integrity of the dive site and is also a lot easier to move around and get a good look at the exciting topography of the region.  There are large drop offs, gorgeous pinnacles, and even large coral tree growth to explore and look through.  It has also been said that this region houses the largest collection of differing marine life in Sodwana Bay, so it is highly unlikely that you will run out of things to see and explore.  

If you are looking to explore an interesting and fragile ecosystem, then you should check out Five Mile Reef.  This area is home to a flat landscape that is covered in a wide variety of coral, many of which are considered to be exceptionally delicate; however, it has managed to remain intact so you don’t have to worry about seeing large portions of damaged or dying coral when you dive.   The large schools of tropical fish that swim in and around the coral also provide for some interesting underwater exploration opportunities.  Many of the divers who have visited this region have said that diving at Five Mile Reef in Sodwana Bay is like working their way through an aquarium because of the combination of the pristine waters and the fish and coral.

If you are more interested in exploring a range of underwater topography options, then the Seven Mile Reef is the perfect choice for you.  This area has been praised for its interesting pinnacles with their mushroom tops and the wonderful drop offs that offer spectacular scenes.  Just like Five Mile Reef, there are also quite a few delicate coral formations that are in pristine condition and are perfect for exploring.  The wealth of marine life in the area can give you a wide range of viewing options, and you might even be able to see a few manta rays, bottle-nosed dolphins, and turtles.  


Types of Marine Life in Sodwana Bay

There is a great diversity of marine life that can be seen up and down the coastal region of South Africa.  Here are just some of those types of life you might encounter in your diving location: ragged tooth sharks, humpback whales, turtles, mantas, eels, Zambezi sharks, coral, sponges, hammerhead sharks, rays, grouper, tuna, southern right whales, sardines, whale sharks, tiger sharks, and a wide range of tropical and reef fish as well as schools of pelagic fish.


Sodwana Bay Diving Fact Sheet:

Average Air Temperature:              25°C – 29°C

Average Water Temperature:         19°C – 24°C

Recommended Exposure Protection:  Depending on what time of year you plan on diving you will need a 3 mm – 7 mm suit.

Average Visibility:  Around 15-20 metres.

Coldest Times:           July to October

Hottest Times:            February to March

Best Times to Dive:  Many people try to dive in the warmer months of February and March when the water is around 24°C.  However, there is a lot to be said for cold water dives, and if you don’t mind wearing a full wetsuit then you can dive in the colder months and you don’t have to worry about as many tourists.   

Worst Times to Dive:  There really isn’t a bad time to dive.


Sodwana Bay Diving Video