I was lucky enough to be part of this Nomad Dive Safaris recently, and the things I saw during those three weeks remain some of the highlights of the many dive trips I have taken.
Starting off on land, we had incredible eagle eyed guides in Kruger NP who showed us not only 4 of the big 5 (we missed out on a leopard, but got terrifyingly close to lions), but also, possibly more incredibly, the small 5. We then moved on to Hlane NP in Swaziland where, opting for the early morning walking safari (highly recommended!) we got to witness the hilarious forgetfulness of the warthogs first hand before getting very close and personal with a group of rhinos. On foot!
Then it was time to get wet! Back into South Africa, we swung in to Sodwana Bay and enjoyed some of our first bull shark sightings over some pretty reef, South African style – remote and beautiful. Watching a seven-metre manta dance before swimming alongside a whale shark has to be one of the most beautiful ways to spend a morning. Add to that some pretty special macros, including both orange and purple orang-utan crabs and you have yourself a pretty happy group of divers! How do you beat that? Well the pod of dolphins we small with on the way back to shore was certainly a contender!
The best however was still to come. Using Durban as a base we dived both Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks, doing many dives at each and opting for the extra “baited” shark dives at each location as well. To this day, some of the most thrilling diving I’ve done. Surrounded by a host of more than forty oceanic black tip sharks and bull sharks too many to count, we hovered in mid-water 5m deep and watched, eyes wide, as they darted amongst us grabbing snacks out of the water, completely at ease with having so many other “large predators with legs” crowding the bait bucket. Being fortunate enough to observe apex predators in as natural an environment as you dare is certainly an experience not to be forgotten.
Fabulous and exciting diving, wonderful safari animals, and a great vibe throughout. Our guides were top notch and the logistics and planning were seamless. Would I recommend it to a friend? You bet I would!