KwaZulu-Natal Diving

KwaZulu-Natal Province has everything you could possibly wish for from a dive destination. With miles and miles of stunning coastline and several resort towns like Sodwana Bay, all divers will be satisfied with their stay here. The chance to encounter pelagics like humpback whales and witness the world famous sardine run are just the icing on the cake. 


As South Africa’s third largest city, Durban has a lot to offer, including beneath the waves. Surrounded on all sides by world class diving destinations, it more than manages to hold its own. Wrecks, reefs and abundant shark diving all mean that this is a diving holiday not to be missed. 


Umkomaas is a quiet coastal town in the KwaZulu-Natal Region of South Africa and it is famous for its diving. Aliwal Shoal located off its shores has some of the most diverse marine life in the world. It has plenty to keep all levels of divers happy, including lots of sharks, reef life and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see Africa’s famous Sardine Run. 


Diving in KwaZulu-Natal

KwaZulu-Natal province is the most north-easterly province of South Africa and enjoys warm, tropical temperatures - both in and out of the water. The region’s biggest city is Durban and it boasts several towns which are renowned for their diving - these include Sodwana Bay and Umkomaas. 

The marine biodiversity here is some of the highest in the world with over 1,200 species of fish found in these waters. The region has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites - the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park. 

The ocean life here has huge variety - from tiny macro species to migrating humpback whales and whale sharks, there is something for everyone. Critically endangered species like loggerhead and leatherback turtles are frequent visitors and manta rays are not uncommonly found. 

One of the most famous marine phenomenons in the world is the African Sardine Run. The annual migration of millions of fish up the eastern African coast draws in huge numbers of predators who whip the fish into tight bait balls. This is a bucket list dive for most divers and hanging in the blue watching the feeding frenzy is unforgettable. 

The most popular areas for diving are Aliwal Shoal, Durban, Umkomaas and Sodwana Bay. Within these locations, you can find any dive you desire. There are large pelagic encounters to enjoy as well as drift dives, muck dives and wreck dives.

Best places to dive

Aliwal Shoal - This rocky reef is 3- 5km off the coast on Umkomaas. The reef has lots of sites which all differ in their composition. These include Chunnel, Raggies’ Cave, Cathedral, Amphitheatre, Castle and Tiger Ledge. The coral reef here is bright and beautiful, with copious fish. Ragged tooth sharks can be seen schooling here from July to November. Other shark sightings include great whites, tigers, white tips and whale sharks. 

Sodwana Bay has miles and miles of reefs which all offer something different. There are lots of big game fish, as well as reef fish, macro photography opportunities and chances for pelagic encounters with whale sharks, mantas and even humpbacks. Night dives here can be stunning in the clear water. 

Protea Banks is famous for its shark diving. It has pinnacles at both the northern and southern ends as well as caves to explore. This is frequently a drift dive. Commonly sighted sharks are bulls, hammerheads, blacktips, dusky, grey, nurse, sand, tiger and ragged-tooth. 

Kosi Bay is the untouched area for diving in KwaZulu-Natal. The reefs are mostly uncharted and have cleaning stations and opportunities to swim with whale sharks from October to March. 

The Produce Wreck is located near Umkomaas and now lies between 18 and 28m. You can see the two sections of the ship and the propellor - all well preserved. The Nebo Wreck sunk in 1884 and it now mostly broken up, but it still offered good exploration opportunities for divers, who can also appreciate the huge marine biomass found here in the form of barracuda, tuna, sharks and salmon. 

Other places to dive in South Africa