Located on the east coast of South Africa, the KwaZulu-Natal coast is all about beaches, fishing and golf. Stretching from Amanzimtoti to Port Edward, well-developed resort towns dot this lush coastline catering to every need from diving to dining, with top-notch golf courses often forming the basis of holidays to the area. This popular coastal strip offers visitors an endless summer with a variety of activities including excellent swimming, snorkelling, hiking, birdwatching, dolphin spotting, and viewing the annual sardine run.
The main city in the region is Durban; however, the three main stops along this coastline for divers are St Lucia, Umkomaas and Margate. There are plenty of exciting spots along the way, with some fantastic national parks to explore. Where you stop along this coastline is dependent on your trip itinerary.
Warm temperate climate. There is a chance of rainfall all year round. The average year-round temperature along the coastline is 20°C with inner mountainous areas sometimes experiencing snow during the dry season.
Wet Summer Season: October to April, expect warmer and wetter conditions.
Dry Winter Season: May to September, usually milder and drier.
The optimum time for wildlife here is between July to September, and peak tourist season runs from December to February.
Kwazulu-Natal is notorious for pelagic action! Some of the oceans largest marine species can be found along this stretch of coast year-round, and it is the setting of the annual sardine run, one of nature’s most spectacular events.
Water conditions can vary day by day. Diving is conducted on semi-rigid ribs, launching either via river mouths or straight off the beach. These launches involve breaking through the rolling surf and incoming waves, so it can get bumpy. All divers joining this dive tour must hold an Advanced Open Water certification (or equivalent) as a minimum and be confident and comfortable in the water. All dives are conducted within no-decompression limits to a maximum of 30m and are standard air dives. All divers must understand that Dive Adventures cannot guarantee any ocean sightings, and there will be no financial reimbursement for dives where highlights are not seen.
19-21°C, 7mm+ wetsuit
Part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and home to South Africa's largest marine park. It is the location of nesting grounds for leatherback and loggerhead turtles and is renowned for its population of dolphins. The reefs are home to a tremendous amount of life, with a mix of temperate and tropical species. Expect excellent visibility, relaxed diving and relatively calm conditions.
The World Famous Aliwal Shoal 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 runs south along the east coast of Africa brings warm water and a vast diversity of tropical sea life along with it. Raggies Cave is one of the most popular dive sites on Aliwal Shoal, as it is the best place to see Ragged Tooth Sharks during shark season.
Protea Banks has been rated as one of the best shark dives in the world by many divers. While hanging in the blue, you might be lucky enough to have Tiger, Bull, Hammerhead and Oceanic Black-Tip sharks come in to investigate - this is a breathtaking, once in a lifetime experience. Please note that this is a baited shark dive and takes place out in the open ocean. From October to May, various large marine animals can be encountered here. Groups of up to several hundred Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks are also seen shoaling at this time.
Encircled by the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park, St Lucia is South Africa's first UNESCO World Heritage Site. St Lucia lies on the magnificent St Lucia Estuary, which is one of the largest in Africa stretching over 85 kilometres. You will find abundant wildlife, pristine natural beauty, and a wide range of activities including excellent mountain biking, hiking, bird watching and deep-sea fishing, thrilling night drive safaris, hippo and crocodile cruises.
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