ESTIMATED COSTS FOR 2015:

Price per Person Sharing: From R 32 950.00
Non Diver price – R 27 900.00
Single Supplement – R 1 300.00
Conservation Contribution – R 500.00

SADSS1607    Start: 11-Jan-16    End: 24-Jan-16
SADSS1608    Start: 01-Feb-16   End: 14-Feb-16
SADSS1609    Start: 23-Feb-16   End: 07-Mar-16

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Day 1 Johannesburg – Blyde River Canyon

Leaving the city of Johannesburg behind, we travel along the Panorama Route, one of South Africa’s most scenic drives, where we will visit the Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window and Bourke’s Luck Potholes. Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world and the view is dominated by the Three Rondavels, huge rocky outcrops at the end of the canyon.  Later your guide will give a full briefing on the tour.
Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Included Highlights: Panorama route: Blyde river canyon, God’s window, Bourke’s luck potholes.

Day 2 Kruger National Park

Visit the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, where injured or lost animals are rehabilitated so they can be released back in to the wild. After a full tour of the Moholoholo facility we travel toward the world famous Kruger National Park area.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Included highlights: Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation tour, afternoon game drive in Nomad truck.

Day 3 Kruger National Park

The day will be spent in open 4×4 vehicles in order to truly appreciate the Kruger.  Your 4×4 vehicles will be driven by specialist Kruger guides and by using these smaller vehicles we have a better chance of viewing the wildlife.  The whole morning will be spent driving, at mid day we will stop at one of the well appointed camps where lunch can be purchased, before the afternoon game drive that will bring us back to the our camp.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Included highlights: Kruger NP game drive in 4×4 vehicles

Day 4 Hlane Royal National Park Swaziland

Today we head south again and cross the border into Swaziland, entering the Hlane Royal National Park, a huge nature reserve, home to lion, elephant and white rhino. We will camp near a water hole where game can be seen coming to water and have an option to be entertained around the fire that evening by traditional dancers. If time allows we will partake in the afternoon Hlane open vehicle game drive and there is option to do a morning game drive the next day.
Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Swaziland
The Kingdom of Swaziland (Umbuso weSwatini), sometimes called Ngwane, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa,
bordered to the north, south and west by South Africa, and to the east by Mozambique. This nation, as well as its people,
are named after the 19th century king Mswati II. Swaziland is a small country, no more than 200 km north to south and 130
km east to west. The western half is mountainous, descending to a lowveld region to the east. The escarpment of the
Lebombo Mountains dominates the eastern border with Mozambique and South Africa. The area that Swaziland now covers has been continuously inhabited since prehistory. Today, the population is primarily ethnic Swazis whose language is siSwati, though English is spoken as a second language. The Swazi people descend from the southern Bantu who migrated from Central Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries. The Anglo Boer war saw Britain make Swaziland a protectorate under its direct control. Swaziland gained independence in 1968. Swaziland has its own currency, although South African rand is widely accepted.

Hlane Royal National Park
The word Hlane means wilderness and before being proclaimed a protected area it formed the private hunting grounds of the Swazi royalty. Hlane is Swaziland’s largest protected area and home to the largest herds of game in the Kingdom. Coving 30 000 hectares of Swazi bushveld, it is safe to walk in this National Park as the dangerous game are fenced in an enclosure inside the park. Hlane is home to lion, elephant and white rhino, with an abundant and diverse bird life, including the highest density of nesting white backed vultures in Africa. A network of self-drive game-viewing roads criss-cross the park’s flat terrain, weaving between the 1000 year old hardwood vegetation and shallow pans which attract great herds of animals during the dry winter months. Guided walking safaris, mountain biking and game drives in Hlane’s open Land Rovers are also available.

Day 5 Hlane – Sodwana Bay

After an early morning optional game drive we leave Hlane, cross the border back into South Africa and enter iSimangaliso Wetland Park. We arrive in Sodwana in the late afternoon and check into our bungalows at Triton Dive Lodge. That evening we will meet our dive guides and have a briefing of the upcoming diving.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6/7 Sodwana Bay Diving.

The following two days will be spent diving a selection of the Sodwana Bay dive sites.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Included Highlights: 4 Recreational dives in Sodwana

Diving Sodwana Bay
Sodwana Bay is a small town on the northeast coast of South Africa, south of the Tropic of Capricorn. It hosts one of the most southerly and beautiful hard and soft coral reefs in the world.  The dive sites are situated in the Marine Protected Area within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage site.

Key Dive Sites
2 MILE: This is the largest reef at Sodwana Bay. This reef is approximately 1.9 km long and 900m wide and because of its size hosts up to 30 different dive sites.2-Mile has the most extensive beds of beautiful coral of all types. All the different sharks are occasionally seen here, with White-tipped and Grey Reef sharks seen most often. One of the highlights and many customers’ favorite dive site is Anton’s Reef at the most southern tip of 2-Mile. has sheer walls which create vortex in the slight current which attracts shoals of schooling fish, such as snappers, flame goat fish, coachmen and also king fish. A spectacular dive and a photographers dream.

7 MILE: We normally drop in on Northern Wall, where there are beautiful structures of sand stone with corals and sponges growing all over. Huge shoals of Blue banded Snappers and Goatfish are there to greet us. This area is a favorite hunting ground of the Trumpet Fish, and all his different hunting techniques are observed. A slow drift along the edge of the wall leads onto the Amphitheatre. Gorgeous Plate and Table Corals dominate the reefscape. Small fellows like the Golden Moray, are occasionally observed hiding there. Continuing with the slow drift we then arrive at Lionfish Cave, named after the Devil Firefish (or Lionfish) that often hide inside there. Occasionally a turtle will be found sleeping in this cave as well. At this stage we often say farewell to those divers who’s air has not lasted, and continue our drift through to Mushroom Rocks, which are huge sandstone structures rising from the bottom of 22 m to 15 m. These rocks get the name because of their shape. They have beautiful corals, particularly the soft corals, and are surrounded by Goldies and other small fish.

Day 8 Protea Banks

We head through Durban, South Africa’s largest port and a popular surf destination. It is also home to the famous dolphin coast and some of the world’s best Apex Predator shark diving. An hour and a half south of Durban is the small beachside resort of Shelley Beach, launch point for the infamous Protea Banks, our diving destination for the next 4 days.
Meals: Lunch, Dinner

Durban is the metropolitan area comprising of Durban, Pinetown, Inanda and Umlazi, with close to two million people living here. The first European settlers were mostly survivors of shipwrecks. One of these survivors, Rodrigo Tristaa, survived a wreck in 1552 of the Portuguese galleon Saint John, and was the first to make his home here. Vasco Da Gama had applied the name Natal (nativity) to this stretch of coast (first seen on Christmas day 1497). The entrance to the bay was known as Rio de Natal (river of the nativity). The Zulu nation’s formation provided wealth for a trade market in this area. The merchants set up a harbour where the base of rade with Zulus could be formed. A population of 26 hard-living traders and ivory hunters thus created Durban. It was named on 23 June 1835, after the governor of the Cape, Sir Benjamin D’Urban.

Day 9/10/11 Protea Banks Diving

Over the next three days we will have 5 dives on the Protea Banks Reef where we hope to see some of the worlds largest marine predators. Diving both North and South Pinnacles we will have the chance to collect Sand Tiger Shark teeth and explore caves, swim-throughs and tunnels. An optional Tiger and Bull Shark baited dive at Protea Banks will be offered during our stay. This dive takes place in open water, hanging in the blue whilst possible Tiger, Bull, Hammerhead and Oceanic Black-Tip sharks come in to investigate the scent trail around us. A full safety briefing and training session is included and this is a breathtaking experience.

Here we will receive a conservational talk, regarding the sharks in the area, the threats to them and the work that our donation will be helping towards.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Included Highlights: 5 Recreational dives on Protea Banks

Diving Protea Banks
Protea Banks has been rated by many divers from around the world as the best shark dive. Many divers are scared of sharks due to horror stories and myths created by the movie world, but their fears are totally unfounded. Sharks are intelligent animals, do not recognise us as a food source and generally tend to be shy and respectful towards the divers

Key Dive Sites
NORTHERN PINNACLES: The reef has two large cave systems which are used by the Ragged Tooth Sharks as resting zones on their annual migration and congregation route. On a good day, the diver can encounter up to 200 sharks in an area smaller than half a rugby field. Starting at the large cave we look in from the top to observe the ‘Raggies’ interacting peacefully with each other, often in numbers so large the bottom can hardly be seen! Afterwards we can pass through a tunnel that we can swim through (if it is not occupied by sharks). At the end of the tunnel lies the second cave. This cave is also open on top and features several chambers, each one with a wide opening at the top ceiling. If there are no Raggies in the caves, it is fun to explore around in the chambers, looking for sharks’ teeth. This is the only souvenir we allow the diver to remove from the reef. As spring goes into summer, large shoals of Hammerhead Sharks frequent this part of the reef.

SOUTHERN PINNACLES: This area is home to the Zambezi Shark (Bull Shark) that Protea Banks initially became famous for. From Oct to May, some very large specimens can be encountered here. Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks are also seen shoaling at this time; they can come past in groups of up to several hundred. Hunting packs of Great Hammerheads investigate any strange noises. We start the dive at the Southern Cave full of game and reef fish and head towards Kingfish Gully, an overhanging rock that is home to large shoals of Kingfish, Yellowtail, Kaakap, Sea Pike Tunny and Potato Bass. The current then takes us to a large sandy patch called Sand Shark Gully. It lies at exactly 40m depth and is home of the Giant Guitar Shark, at times these can be seen lined up like planes at an airport.

BAITED TIGER SHARK DIVE: South Africa is one of only three countries in the world offering this kind of diving. Using a baiting technique that closely resembles the shark’s natural feeding habit, African Dive Adventures lets divers as well as snorkelers and non-divers share in the experience. Starting with a special Tiger Shark Dive Briefing and explanation of code of conduct, guests are then taken out to Protea Banks. The bait is dropped in the water at about 6m/18ft depth and we wait until the chum slick has dissipated and a tiger shark has picked up the scent. As soon as the tiger is circling the bucket, the divers enter the water as quietly as possible and swim slowly towards the bait bucket. Divers as well as bucket will be drifting with the current as the tiger sharks swim round and round and right in between the divers. After approximately one hour we will call time out and return to base. (This activity is optional and you need to pay the dive centre directly)

Photographing a Tiger Shark
Photographing a Tiger Shark

Day 12/13 Aliwal Shoal

The following two days we spend diving the equally famous Aliwal Shoal. Renowned for Raggie Tooth Sharks congregating in their hundreds, dolphins and the baited shark dive. Each morning we will travel the hour from our Dive House in Margate to the launch site for Aliwal Shoal. Over the two days we will do 3 recreational dives on the Aliwal Shoal, including the famous “Raggie Cave”. The optional baited shark dive is well worth it, with Oceanic Black-Tip Sharks gathering in large numbers and Tiger Sharks investigating the bait.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (day 12) & (day 13 Dinner out)
Included Highlights: 3 Recreational dives on Aliwal Shoal

Diving Aliwal Shoal
The World Famous Aliwal Shoal was formed thousands of years ago from fossilized sand dunes during the times when sea levels were much lower than they are today. The Agulhas Current that runs south along the east coast of Africa brings with it warm water and a huge diversity of tropical sea life.

Key Dive Sites
CATHEDRAL: A very popular dive for the Ragged Tooth Shark enthusiast. During the “Raggie” season it is possible to see up to 40 of these placid sharks resting within the amphitheatre. A fantastic photo opportunity! During the summer months look out for hammerheads above, and see the stingrays that take up residence when the Raggies depart.

RAGGIES CAVE: The most popular dive site here on Aliwal Shoal. As its name suggests this is the best place to view the Ragged Tooth Sharks during the shark season. Entry into the cave is not permitted when the sharks are here but there is an excellent viewing area at the entrance where divers can safely kneel and watch the sharks’ activities. When the sharks have departed this is a very good place to hunt for sharks’ teeth in the sand. Please note that teeth are the only items that divers are permitted to take from the Shoal. There are many resident potato bass found in the surrounding overhangs as well as many types of moray eel.

HOWARDS CASTLE: This recently discovered and pristine site is not often dived as it requires a longer boat ride and sea conditions need to be calm. There are loads of interesting gullies and overhangs as well as a wide diversity of marine life.

INSIDE EDGE: This section of the reef encompasses the entire inshore edge of the shoal. Although many large species of fish, sharks, dolphins and rays may be found here, it is particularly good for finding smaller things such as octopus, cuttlefish, scorpion fish, firefish, cowfish, nudibranchs and eels. The top of ledge is at about 14 to 16m and open water divers can therefore enjoy this dive site providing they level off.

OUTSIDE EDGE: This is the dive site for viewing the big stuff, and it is always a good idea to keep an eye out at midwater where schools of hammerheads, game fish or the odd tiger shark may be found.

EELSKINS: This dive site is superb example of the fossilized rock formations. Situated near the southwestern tip of the reef there are lots of clusters of reef with plenty of sand gullies and lovely swim-through. Many cowries can be found here and as the gullies offer shelter from the currents you will often find Raggies during the season and lots of shoaling tropical fish.

NORTH EASTERN PINNACLES: A very easy and gentle dive site for open water divers and beginners. Lots of potholes forming sheltered nurseries for small fish. Many anemones and clown fish are to be found here as well as octopus. You may see some large potato bass sheltering from the current.

NORTH SANDS AND SOUTH SANDS: These two large sand patches are an ideal location for students to practice their skills and for divers to descend and pause to adjust buoyancy before exploring the reef. An ideal pace to find sand sharks and often groups of dolphins can be found playing and rubbing themselves on the sand. Truly an amazing sight!
MANTA POINT: Lots of nooks and crannies where crayfish and cleaner shrimp hide. Good area to find rays of all varieties especially Manta Rays during the season.

Day 14 Durban

We travel this morning to the Durban airport where our tour ends upon arrival at the King Shaka International Airport.
Meals: Breakfast

Tour Ends
Your tour will end at King Shaka International Airport. If you wish to stay another night in Durban, please enquire with Nomad reservations about post-tour accommodation.

A Ragged Tooth, or Sand Tiger shark makes itself at home at Aliwal Shoal
A Ragged Tooth, or Sand Tiger shark makes itself at home at Aliwal Shoal

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