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)