When you plan a shark diving trip, you want to make sure you get an experience that you will never forget. The South African coast is one of the best places in the world to go shark diving. Exactly where to go diving on the 2500km+ coastline can be intimidating.
We’ve been diving the South African coast for years. Here’s what we consider the three best places to go diving during your visit to South Africa.
Shark diving Aliwal Shoal
There is a reason why we set up shop in Umkomaas: Because we wanted to be able to get to the best shark diving spot in South Africa every single day.
This is a reef system found around 5 kilometers off the coast of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. The reef is the remains of an ancient dune. It supports fauna of tropical, subtropical and warm temperate reefs. The biodiversity of the Aliwal Shoal can be compared to similar latitude reefs found off the coast of Australia.
Sharks of Aliwal Shoal
Aliwal Shoal has been proclaimed a Marine Protected Area and as such is a global favourite for anyone who wants to dive with sharks. The shoal is particularly well known for their Grey Nurse Sharks (locally known as “Ragged Tooth Sharks / Raggies”). These gather on Aliwal Shoal between July and November to mate.
Depending on the season, there are various sharks to be seen on and around the reef system. Hammerhead sharks can be seen between October and March. November to May brings Tiger and Bull sharks, December to May white tip reef sharks, March to October giant guitar sharks and May to September dusky sharks.
Another big attraction is the Annual Sardine Run. The Sardine Run occurs between May and July every year when billions of sardines spawn in the waters of the Agulhas Bank before moving north along the east coast of South Africa. Sardines gather in massive shoals, some longer than 7 kilometers, 1.5 kilometers wide and 30 meters deep. These shoals are so huge they can easily be spotted from an airplane.
Various predators feed off the bait balls, including vast numbers of sharks. Bronze whaler sharks, Dusky sharks, Oceanic Blacktip Sharks and Zambezi Sharks all take the this as a feeding opportunity. As a result of this the Sardine Run is one of the best shark diving locations in South Africa. Along with the sharks, you will also see a wide range of other marine life, including dolphins, whales and game fish. Among these are Garrick, Geelbek, Sail Fish and Tuna, Brydes Whale and Hump Back Whales and even a few bird species.
Cape Town Seven Gill / Cow Shark Dive
Off the coast of Cape Town is various shark diving locations. Diving with Seven Gill Sharks is a popular attraction because of the docile and calm nature of these sharks. They often will swim past you within arm’s length.
Female cow sharks can be up to 2.2 meters in length, while the males grow to 15. meters in length. Not huge, but not exactly small sharks, especially considering they are born at a length of between 40–45 cm. They are called seven gill sharks because of the 7 gill slits they have.
Seven Gill Sharks are found in ocean waters around the globe. They have been recorded at depths of 570 meters. They are opportunistic hunters that will feed on other sharks, rays, cetaceans, pinnipeds, bony fish and carrion, to mention a few.
Great White Sharks
There are other sharks to see in the waters surrounding Cape Town. Being in Cape Town you can also go see other natural wonders like Seal Island, a large seal colony on an island 5.7 kilometers from the coast of False Bay, South Africa. Seal Island and the surrounding area is a feeding area for the famous great white shark.
You’ll also have the opportunity to see one of the seven wonders of the world: Table mountain.
Shark Diving South Africa
Diving with sharks is always an unforgettable experience, but the beauty of shark diving South Africa is that you get to dive with more than one species of shark, and dive in two different marine habitats. From the sub-tropical average of 24° on the Aliwal Shoal, to the colder temperatures in the waters surrounding Cape Town.
Shark diving South Africa is a great way to experience sharks and South Africa as a country. Starting at Blue Ocean Dive Resort and ending in Cape Town will give you the shark diving experience of a lifetime.