Certification and Experience
In order to join one of the Nomad Dive tours you will need to have an Advanced Open Water (or equivalent) dive certification. This is required in order to dive to up to 30m as well as to ensure that you are comfortable sharing the water with large pelagic species.
All of our Nomad Dive tours are accompanied by an experienced dive professional with either an Instructor (or above) certification.
We do not have a specific dive number requirement for our tours. However we would suggest that you have done sufficient dives to ensure your comfort and competence when joined in the water by larger pelagic species.
We are unable to complete certification levels during our tours. However if you are an experienced Open Water diver and would like to discuss completing your Adventure Deep certification to allow for 30m dives please contact us and we may be able to assist.
Children holding a Junior Advanced Open Water certification are welcome to join this tour. However please note that they may need to sit out on some dives that have depths greater than they are permitted to.
General Tour Questions
Nomad Tours generally involve fairly early mornings in order to make the most out of animal viewing and dive conditions.
Non divers are most welcome to join on our tours. There are many activities included in our tours that are land based. Diving days are structured for morning dives, meaning that non divers will be reunited with divers by lunch time. During dive times we offer optional activities for non divers.
General Diving Information
Liveaboard diving holidays are not offered in South Africa. This is due to the often rough indian ocean in this part of the world. Our tours are land based.
Diving is available year round in South Africa with seasons offering different highlights:
Summer: warmer waters (between 23-27° on shark tours and 12-18° in Cape Town), hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks, bright sunny days
Winter: cooler waters (between 18-23° on shark tours and Sardine Run and 7-12° in Cape Town), Great White predation and breaching, Southern Right and Humpback whale migration and Sardine Run
Each tour is different however on average we offer 10 dives during our diving tours.
Dive sites range in depth between 16-30m.
Summer: warmer waters between 23-27° on shark tours and 12-18° in Cape Town.
Winter: cooler waters between 18-23° on shark tours and Sardine Run and 7-12° in Cape Town.
Visibility ranges between 10 and 30m depending on sea conditions and weather.
There may be currents on dives, however all dives are drift and therefore you will not need to fight against the current on any of our dives. We do hope for some current on all dives as this brings in the pelagics.
If you are a certified Nitrox diver and have brought your card along with you, we are able to arrange for all dives to be undertaken on Nitrox. Please let us know at the time of booking so that we can ensure this is arranged for you.
If you are a rebreather diver and would like to bring your unit with you on the tour please contact us at the time of booking to ensure the availability of any scrubber agents that you may require.
South African Sea Rescue monitors all dive launch areas. If conditions are deemed to be unsuitable for diving and/or boat launching then dives may be cancelled.
In the event that our dives are cancelled due to weather conditions Nomad has a number of alternative activities available to divers.
Boats and Dive Structure
Dive boats in South Africa are usually semi-rigid inflatable dinghies with high power engines. This allows for swell and speed to dive sites. In Cape Town dives are usually conducted from larger fibreglass powerboats.
Dinghies usually range between 8-12m in length and can seat up to 10 divers. Powerboats used in Cape Town can accommodate more people.
Dive groups are kept to a maximum of 10 people per boat/group. If you are on a tour with more passengers, multiple boats will be launched with individual dives guides and crew.
Diving in South Africa is usually conducted during the calmer mornings. Dives may be scheduled from 7am onwards.
Nomad Dive practises all dives within safe limits. All dives will be no decompression dives and suitable surface intervals will be scheduled to allow for sufficient off-gassing between dives.
Surface intervals will be scheduled between all dives to allow for suitable off-gassing and the best possible bottom times.
Most dive boats will carry drinking water for divers. However we recommend that all divers take plenty of water with them and remain hydrated at all times.
the Indian Ocean can get bumpy in this area of the world and as such we recommend that any individual who is prone to sea sickness takes an appropriate medication.
All Nomad Dive tour prices are quoted on the basis that you will be bringing your own equipment on tour with you. If you do not have your own, or do not want to travel with your own equipment, you will be able to rent a full set for your tour. Please refer to our pricing for the equipment rental cost on each tour.
Nomad Dive tours are priced on the basis that you will be bringing your own equipment. There will be sufficient space on-board the vehicle for your equipment. Please be aware of weight restrictions for any flights that you may be undertaking on your tour.
If you do not have your own, or do not want to travel with your own equipment, you will be able to rent a full set for your tour. Please refer to our pricing for the equipment rental cost on each tour.
Equipment rental in South Africa will not include a computer. This is a personal item that you will need to bring with you.
We suggest a minimum of a full 5mm wetsuit on our dive tours. If you are prone to the cold then please consider a 7mm or the use of additional rash vests.
Dive operators offer a selection of 5mm long wetsuits for rental purposes. If you would like a thicker wetsuit you will need to bring one with you.
Absolutely, in fact you would be crazy not to. The photography opportunities on the Nomad Dive tours are fantastic. However please ensure that you have adequate protection for your camera on boat rides and note that Nomad Dive will not be responsible for these items.
You may wish to bring a macro lens for land-based photography and the occasional reef dive. However we would suggest that you not worry too much about this lens for your dives, these are large pelagic species dives.
Your wide angle lens will come in handy on these dives in order to capture sharks and other large species. This will probably be your most used lens.
What will we see
South Africa offers incredible diving due to its variety of shark species. These include:
Hammerheads (Greater and Scalloped)
Oceanic Black Tips
Ragged Tooth Sharks
White Tip Reef
Black Tip Reef
7 Gilled Cow Shark
Oceanic White Tip
South African waters are filled with pelagic and larger ocean species and these are often encountered on our dives. To name them all would be time consuming, however notably:
Whip Tail Rays
Whale Sharks are regular visitors to the Indian Ocean and we do often encounter these. We will not guarantee a sighting but you may very well get lucky.
Dolphins are a common sight, both above and below the water. If we are able to get close enough we will try to arrange for divers to enter the water to swim with them. Keep your eyes open under water as we often encounter dolphins during our dives.
There are several MPA areas in South Africa where marine species are protected. Nomad Dive supports these MPA areas and a full diving permit is included in your tour price.
We will guarantee you shark sightings on any of our Nomad Dive tours. We cannot guarantee which species you will see, however there will most certainly be sharks around.
The hammerhead season runs from September – March each year. During this time these sharks can be seen in numbers of over 1000 at a time. Outside of these time periods we do still often encounter hammerheads, however this is less predictable.
Tiger Shark season tends to run from late January through until May.
The bull sharks are permanent residents in the waters around South Africa and can be seen at any time.
Nomad Dive offers optional baited shark dives. Baited dives occur when fish oils and carcasses are used to create a “bait corridor” or trail that encourages sharks into the area. These sharks are however not fed and must continue to feed themselves as they do in the natural wild.
The Sardine Run takes place between the start of June and end of July each year. We cannot guarantee that you will see this, however we do the best we can to schedule tours over the very best possible time period.
The Sardine Run is usually run as a mixture of snorkelling and diving. The decision as to whether to dive or snorkel any particular bait ball will depend on its size and speed. Often the best possible chance of seeing the action is via snorkelling on the surface.
All Nomad Dive Sardine Run tours are supported from the air. This is to ensure the best possible chance of sighting a bait ball in the area. The pilot and boat captain will be in constant radio contact.
All Nomad Dive tours have been scheduled to allow ample time between dives and flights.
Nomad Dive requires all participants to hold an insurance policy that covers them for diving. Please ensure that your policy allows for multiple dives daily, does not restrict the number of dives allowed during your holiday, and covers you to a depth of 30m.
Nomad Dive has never had a serious dive related incident. The shark diving in South Africa is run in a controlled manner and incidents are extremely rare.
A guide, carrying a permanent safety marker buoy, accompanies all of our dives. This allows for the boat to follow divers from the surface and remain in close contact with the group.
There are multiple hyperbaric chambers in South Africa and these can be accessed in a reasonable time period.