Top Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in South Africa

Ready to check out the best sites in South Africa for scuba diving, snorkeling, shore diving, free diving or other ocean activities? Zentacle has 31 dive sites, snorkel spots, beaches, and more. Discover hand-curated maps, along with reviews and photos from nature lovers like you. No matter what you're looking for, you can find a diverse range of the best ocean activities in South Africa to suit your needs.
South Africa dive site map
Bass lake

#1 - Bass lake

South Africa, Gauteng

beginner
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this dive site is mainly for new divers but offers a wide variety of activities other than the diving such as: 4x4 trails, quad bicking and many more. there is an option of over nighting. there is a small tuck shop aswell. there are a number of diffrent things to see under water such as an old bus, a car an aero-plane and a few more interisting things. bass lake is sittuated forty minutes from Johannesburg towards Verrinaging. it is an altitude dive in water filled quarry.
2 Mile Reef

#2 - 2 Mile Reef

South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Sodwana Bay

beginner
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The reef is about 1.7 km long and up to 900 m wide. It is one of the most popular reefs to dive at, since it is only a few minutes away from the launch area. Many different corals, reef and mid-water fish can be found here, with eels and other creatures hiding in the many caves and holes. Two Mile Reef is where most new divers in South Africa do their qualifying dive.
Thesen's Jetty

#3 - Thesen's Jetty

South Africa, Western Cape, Knysna

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After wading through the garbage, the beautiful delicate sea horses under the jetty make this dive well worth while. Knysna is situated along the Garden Route, almost half way between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. It is famous for the Knysna Lagoon, home to the sea horses in this area.
Gansbaai

#4 - Gansbaai

Western Cape, South Africa

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Gansbaai is known for its dense population of whales and great white sharks. Divers from all over the world visit Gansbaai for a unique opportunity of diving with great white sharks.
Sodwana Bay

#5 - Sodwana Bay

St Lucia, South Africa

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Situated within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Sodwana Bay is the only tropical scuba diving site in South Africa. The reefs at Sodwana are the southern-most coral reefs in Africa and offer a wide diversity of attractions.
Long Beach

#6 - Long Beach

South Africa, Western Cape

beginner
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This is possibly the most popular site with regard to dive training as most centres conduct their OW training dives here. The easy access and calm waters make it ideal. You also have a wreck, named the "BATA", about 50 metres from shore which is home to quite a few specias of fish including the elusive Double sash Butterflyfish. Many Pufadder shysharks frequent this site as well as some large rays. As you enter Simons Town you turn left and follow a road to a small parking area. There are facilities such as bathrooms and shower. prior to diving here permission needs to be obtained from the SA Navy as they periodically conduct exercises in area. Long Beach is also known as BATA Wreck.
Storms River Mouth

#7 - Storms River Mouth

Eastern Cape, South Africa

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The beauty of the Storms River mouth extends further than picturesque scenery. Situated in the Tsitsikamma National Park, the dive site offers gorgeous reefs, big fish and some of the most attractive diving in South Africa.
Protea Banks

#8 - Protea Banks

South Africa

intermediate
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Situated off the shore of Shelly Beach, Protea Banks is one of the world's top shark diving destinations. This unique reef system with exquisite topography along the KwaZulu-Natal coast offers diving experiences second to none. Protea Banks During the summer months the Bull Shark (Zambezi) makes PROTEA BANKS its home. Hammerhead sharks are often seen overhead and not just one or two, we are talking hundreds .... yes hundreds. Guitar Sharks, Dusky and Oceanic Blacktip sharks frequent this reef with a select few getting the privilege of seeing the elusive Tiger Shark in the Tiger sharks season. In the winter months the Ragged-Tooth Sharks congregate on PROTEA BANKS to mate. Aside from sharks PROTEA BANKS, also boasts a vast number of gamefish such as Barracuda, Snappers, Cape Yellowtail, Kingfish, Tropical Amberjack, Bonita, Prodical Son to name but a few. Friendly Potato Bass are often encountered and sometimes we are privileged to see Brindle Bass. A variety of Rays are also a common sighting - Round Ribbontail Rays, Eagle Rays and occasionally Manta's. And with pristine reef, the reef is alive with a wide variety of reef fish. These are unfortunately often overlooked as once the sharks are sighted, the reef is often forgotten ...lol. And then of course with PROTEA BANKS just about anything can happen. We have had rare sightings of Marlin, Sunfish, Humpback Whales, Dolphins, the odd Great White Shark and even a very curious Blue Shark. So if you are looking for adventure and a dive site where just about anything can happen, PROTEA BANKS is the place to be. I have personally been diving PROTEA BANKS for 15 years, and still get excited each and every time I go on a dive!!! and very jealous when I am not on the dive! PROTEA BANKS - SOUTHERN PINNACLES: Depth 26 to 40m Dived mainly in the summer months, this site is home to the notorious Bull Shark (Zambezi) which brings a great deal of notoriety to this world-renowned dive location. Other sharks frequenting PROTEA BANKS include Hammerheads, Oceanic Blacktips, Dusky, Guitar Sharks and a variety of Rays. For a fortunate few there is even the possibility of sighting the Tiger Shark. PROTEA BANKS - NORTHERN PINNACLES: Depth 28 to 38m This site, normally dived in winter months during the Ragged-Tooth mating season, allows divers to view "Raggies" in close proximity on their annual migration route. The area consists of two cave systems in which the "Raggies" congregate. At times it is impossible to see the mouth of the caves as it is completely obscured by masses of sharks! Access to Protea Banks is from Shelly Beach - about 100 km South of Durban.PROTEA BANKS offers an exceptionally exciting specialty SHARK dive. Situated 7,5km off Shelly Beach, on the KwaZulu Natal's South Coast, PROTEA BANKS allows ADVANCED divers the opportunity to experience a shark dive that is completely unique.
Windmill Beach

#9 - Windmill Beach

South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town

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The entry and exit points are both very sheltered, gently sloping sand beaches. This site is almost always sheltered and the entry is probably the easiest on the entire South African coast. Wave action is normally not more than an inch or two and is rarely more than 30cm high. There can be a little surge round the point if there is a big swell. There is a rocky point going out into the sea for about 100m from the middle of a gentle beach. It is a favourite training dive as you can enter from the beach on one side of the rocks, and swim round the point and exit on the other side of the rocks, on the same beach. Plenty of kelp, red and green seaweed, nudibranches, sea cucumbers, urchins, dogfish and pajama sharks can be seen. Just south of Boulders Beach, just below the golf course. Drive out of Simon's Town to the south. Turn left into Bellevue Road and then first right into links road, just past the golf course. Park at the end of the road and walk for about 100m to the beach. Windmill Beach is also known as Windmill.
Shark Alley

#10 - Shark Alley

South Africa, Western Cape, Gansbaai

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Great White Sharks dive in shark cage. South of Gans Bay, close to the seal colony. Between Dyer Island and Geyser Rock. Shark Alley is also known as Ilha da Fera, Island of wild creatures.
Komati Springs

#11 - Komati Springs

South Africa, Mpumalanga

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Komati Springs was once a mine, closed in 1972. The mining process left a large hole and a joining cave system, which has subsequently flooded, giving excellent conditions for all forms of diving. In the open water it reaches 53 meters and the caves have been explored to 186 meters. The surface area of the open hole is approximately 110 meters long and 50meters wide. Please see map. Most of the sides are sheer drops so your buoyancy should be good if you want to dive here. Maximum depth is 55m, depending on rainfall and the water table. The open hole is good for recreational diving, while the adjoining caves are great for exploring or cave training. Diving is good all year round. In summer (Oct - Mar) Komati Springs is about 25°C on the surface, and 20°C at about 30 meters. On the bottom it is 17°C. Visibility is about 10 to 15 meters. In winter (Apr - Aug) the temperature is a constant 17 to 18°C from top to bottom. The visibility can be up to 40 meters. The cave system is much larger, and with 8 interconnecting levels, starting from 9 meters to 186 meters. This is unique to Komati Springs, and an explorers dream! It must be emphasized that under no circumstance should divers enter the caverns or caves unless trained to do so. No site map will be provided until you are not cave qualified. This in order to prevent non-cave divers entering the system. There are Bass and Barbel in the hole. Beware that some of the Barbel like to sleep in the cave, and are quite motionless. Should you prod it to see if it is alive, you will both get the fright of your life as the fish will suddenly shoot off. So we suggest you assume it is in fact alive for both your sakes. Gas Fills can be done locally thru dive shop nearby. Nitrox, Trimix and Argon available. Rebreather friendly, so Sodasorb and pure Oxygen also available. Accommodation is in the form of shady campsites, with electrical outlets available in the ablution block. For students on course there are rooms in the Dive Centre, with full kitchen facilities available. Other activities are possible in the area: Swimming, freediving and bird watching (300+ different species of birds) and an abundance of beautiful flora and fauna. Nestling at the foot of the mountains in beautiful Mpumalanga you will find one of South Africa's little gems – Komati Springs! It is situated 915m above sea level, between Badplaas and Barberton in the beautiful countryside of Mpumalanga. Located about 3 hours from Johannesburg, Komati Springs offers a peaceful weekend or day visit away from the hubbub of modern day life. Its close proximity to the Kruger National Park and various other tourist locations makes it an ideal base for those wishing to explore the area. Entrance to the hole is in the form of steps and a ladder at the bottom. There are platforms at 5 and 10 meters with shotlines for your use. Divers should be aware that there are cave entrances, and the best way to avoid entering one, is toy dive with a buoy line. There are no currents or tides.
Wondergat

#12 - Wondergat

South Africa, North-West

beginner
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Wondergat is a 0-star rated scuba dive and snorkel destination in South Africa, North-West which is accessible from shore based on 0 ratings.
Miracle Waters

#13 - Miracle Waters

South Africa, Gauteng

beginner
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Miracle Waters is a 0-star rated scuba dive and snorkel destination in South Africa, Gauteng which is accessible from shore based on 0 ratings.
Antipolis Wreck

#14 - Antipolis Wreck

South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town

beginner
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The Antipolis and Romelia was under tow by the tug, Kiyo Maru 2,when the tow cable snagged on the sea bed resulting in the cables breaking. The Antipolis was blown towards shore by strong winds and rough seas where it ran aground near Oudekraal. This is a tough dive with regards to the entry and the fact that there are steel plating with ragged and sharp edges. The water is also very cold. This site is situated very close to Sandy Cove, Oudekraal and Justins Cave. Park alongside the road opposite the Twelve Apostles Hotel on the yellow line as there is no other parking and you will note everyone parks there. After gearing up it is short walk along a narrow path followed by a tricky climb over large rocks and boulders.
Justins Caves

#15 - Justins Caves

South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town

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Justin's caves is a circular collection of giant boulders which lie on top of one another creating overhangs,tunnels and some small caves.The largest roughly the size of a double garage.The centre of the dive site is relatively shallow about 5 meters but around the back of the rocks it drops down to 17metwrs.The prize of the dive is a little coral filled cavern which have a beautiful display of pink and purple Noble corrals.On a calm day this is a relatively easy dive but with a change of tide and wind the caves can get very surgy.water collects in the centre of the Bowl and flushes out through the caves gullies and tunnels.A thrilling ride for experienced divers but a frightening one for novices. The Atlantic can get a little chilly and on good vis days over 20 meters expect the temperature to be below 10 degrees Celsius. There are quite a few species of Nudibranchs here and large schools of fish.Breeding ground for rock lobster they can be from a couple of centimetres to some enormous grand daddies. Travelling from the city centre along the coast through Camps Bay Towards Hout bay,this Dive site sits slightly to the right in front of the beautiful white Apostles Hotel.This is the only building there. Justins Caves is also known as Justins.
Buffels Bay

#16 - Buffels Bay

South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town

beginner
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Buffels Bay is a 0-star rated scuba dive and snorkel destination in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town which is accessible from shore based on 0 ratings.
Sandy Cove

#17 - Sandy Cove

South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town

beginner
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On the north side of the point at north Oudekraal.
Hot Spot

#18 - Hot Spot

South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Sodwana Bay

intermediate
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A 1m to 1.5m ledge in the sea bed, home to many lion fish. Also large gamefish. Can have a strong current, in which case a negative entry may be advisable with experienced divers who are comfortable with the practice, as the main wall is a relatively small spot to find, especially after the 30m descent. Great unusual species to be seen. Also beware the lack of profile results in a deep average depth, nitrox may be worth while to extend MDT. Incidentally this reef was discovered on breath hold.
Dolloses

#19 - Dolloses

South Africa, Western Cape, Mosselbaai

beginner
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Shore entry dive along the harbour wall. Beautiful small sharks appear readily at the scent on squid/chokka bait. Species include pajama sharks, leopard sharks, shy sharks. Take a hoodie for the cold, and preferably open heel fins, not only for the cold but also for grip on the slippery shore entry.
Star walls

#20 - Star walls

South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town

intermediate
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This is a deep dive and is the longest and tallest wall dive in the area. The wall starts at a maximum depth of 32m and comes up to about 8m. The wall is covered in a variety of sponges, corals, ascidians and invertebrates. Nudibranchs, crabs and small fish makes for good macro photography. During summer months visibility can be quite good, up to 20m, but the water temperature will as cold as 10 C. Access to this site is by boat only, launching from Hout Bay harbour. Most charter companies will dive this site during summer when conditions are best.
Elandsbaai Reefs

#21 - Elandsbaai Reefs

South Africa, Western Cape

beginner
(0)
Elandsbaai Reefs is a 0-star rated scuba dive and snorkel destination in South Africa, Western Cape which is accessible from shore based on 0 ratings.
The Maori Wreck

#22 - The Maori Wreck

South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town

intermediate
(0)
The Maori (British cargo ship) wrecked on 05th August 1909 in fog after colliding with a rock. Kelp and crayfish are in abundance and the wreck is in fairly good condition. Railway lines still lie in her aft. China and porcelain have been found on the wreck. The wreck is accessed from Hout Bay. Hout Bay is reached along the Penninsula Drive, departing Cape Town towards Sea Point, Stand and passing Llandudno.
Two Oceans Aquarium

#23 - Two Oceans Aquarium

South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town

beginner
(0)
Great experiance... a lot of useful informations. Aquarium with just one non dangerous shark More from the aquarium website: http://www.aquarium.co.za Cape Town Aquarium
Strawberry Rocks

#24 - Strawberry Rocks

South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town

beginner
(0)
This is an interesting dive site and should only taken on by divers who are up to a lengthy surface swim. It is best to dive here when the south easter blows and always keep this in mind as if a south wester blows it could make the surface swim back a difficult task.As with the other dive sites here you will experience very cold water so be prepared. The beauty here is still the kelp forests and I am sure it will be enjoyed by all and you are also more than likely to encounter a seal or more as they love basking in the sun and can often be seen on the large rock. Park in the exact same area as when diving at Justins or sandy Cove. Entry points are also the same although the swim there is a bit further.
Clan Stuart Wreck

#25 - Clan Stuart Wreck

South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town

beginner
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The Clan Stuart was a Brittish Terret steamer that ran aground on the 21st of November 1914 and although attempts were made to re-float her over a period of 4 months it was unsuccessful. Today you can still see the engine block breaking the surface which makes it very easy to spot from the road. Depth here is between 7 and 9 meters and you can see many large rays and puffadder shy sharks, not to mention various fish species. This is also a beautiful night dive but do ensure to have enough lighting as you need to cross the train tracks to get to the point of entry.Furthermore it is also well protected against the south westerly swell and in my opinion i have enjoyed the best dives here during autumn and winter. Visibility varies between 2 to 8 meters depending on weather conditions, but some have had the privilege of enjoying even better visibility, but this is rare.The risk factor is minimal, but larger sharks have been spotted here. Some boats also venture quite close at times so ensure a buoy be visible to indicate divers in the water. A permit is required to dive here which can be obtained from any post office. This site is situated on the way to Long Beach and is an easy accessible shore dive with enough parking. A short walk across the train tracks and you are at the point of entry. Sometimes swell can be tricky so take care when entering. Once in the water the wreck is about 50 meters from shore.
Seal Island

#26 - Seal Island

South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town

beginner
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Known place for Shark Cage Diving. A Boat from the Harbour. Seal Island is also known as Shark Cage Experience.
Boulder's Rock

#27 - Boulder's Rock

South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town

beginner
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Boulder's Rock is a 0-star rated scuba dive and snorkel destination in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town which is accessible from shore based on 0 ratings.
Marico Oog

#28 - Marico Oog

South Africa, North-West

beginner
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God must indeed have been in a good mood when He created Marico Oog. Visibility is often in excess of 20 meters and averages at about 10 meters. Although the water is relatively cold, it seldom drops below 18 degrees, even in winter. In summer it can go up to 24 degrees. Lush plant life covers most of the pool. Various species of fish can be found, including various types of bass and kurper. If you are lucky you may even see one of the six fresh water eels. The water is crystal clear but can turn to zero viz if the bottom 1 meter is disturbed. Buoyancy control is a must to enjoy the dive. Because of the small circumference of Die Oog, it is advised that no more than 8 divers are allowed in the pool at any time! Oog is a small but beautiful natural pool situated in the Zeerust/Lichtenburg area. Entry is via a narrow passage cut between the reeds and water entry is via a ladder to ensure minimum contact with the bottom.
Stringer

#29 - Stringer

South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Sodwana Bay

beginner
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Stringer is a bit closer to Jesser Point than the main portion of 2 Mile Reef. It's is home to many different species and is a fantastic place to practice photography. Many Tomato Rock Cod, cleaning stations and paper fish can be found here as well as ghost pipefish. Access to this reef is by boat only through one of the many charters in the area. Boats launch from Jesser Point Stringer is also known as Stringer reef.
Aliwal Shoal

#30 - Aliwal Shoal

South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Hibiscus Coast

beginner
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Aliwal Shoal has become internationally renowned as one of the best scuba diving sites in the world. The shoal, a rocky reef situated 5 kilometres off the KZN coast, is inhabited by many kinds of hard and soft corals and a variety of tropical and subtropical fish species. Aliwal Shoal is situated about 3 km off the coast and 7km from the launch site. A great dive all year round offering different marine species per season. Sharks are all year round. Tiger Sharks, Bull Sharks, Ragged Tooth Sharks, Oceanic Black Tips, White Tip reef sharks, Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks, Greater Hammerhead Sharks and even the occassional Great White. Stunning reefs offer plenty of fish, turtles, rays, eels and too many more species for macro divers. Conditions are diverse, making Aliwal an exciting dive experience. Dive site is being accessed from either Umkomaas or Scottburgh by boat. The Channel drop point (inside edge, south of pinnacle ridge) is at S30 15.381 E30 49.791
A Frame

#31 - A Frame

South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town

beginner
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After entering it is a short swim to the exact position indicated on the map. descend there and a short look around will show you a cave like swimthrough with some awesome sea life including various klipfish and nudibranch. To the right of the indicated area is a large rock which you can follow right around, but do take care of the current on the open ocean side. Here you can see many Cape Knifejaw and the elusive Galjoen which is a sought after fish for anglers. On occasion you may even encounter a playful Cape Clawless Otter or two. Do note that this is within the marine protected area and a permit is required to scuba duve here. Drive through Simons Town along the main road towards Boulders Beach. When you get to the turn off to Boulders on your left carry on for another 1km or so. There is parking available alongside the road where you gear up and then if you look on the map there is a pathway visible leading to the shore. Entry here is tricky and best go with someone who is familiar with this divesite as both entry points are over rocks and not easy to identify. Obviously if you are experienced you could try and enter at any other point you may regard safe, but do check the swell before making your decision.