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Aliwal Shoal Dive Site

South Africa

Umkomaas, Kwazulu-natal, South Africa

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Dive Site Last Edited by:

Brandi Mueller

PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC) Staff Instructor


Advice for diving Aliwal Shoal in South Africa

The Aliwal Shoal is the remains of an ancient sand dune 5km off the coast of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Dive operations out of Umkomaas take divers to this rocky reef which is famous for its interesting bottom topography that includes caves, caverns, gullies, and swim-throughs.

Although technically in the Indian Ocean, the close proximity to the Atlantic has created a mixing ground for many fish species including both tropical and subtropical species. This makes for great dives where there are fish you wouldn’t usually see in the same location.

Two ships have met their demise on the shoal and now are great wreck dives. The “Nebo” sank in 1884 likely having possibly hit an uncharted pinnacle. The ship is lying upside down at 28 meters. The “Produce” sank in 1974 after running the hull into the Northern Pinnacles and sits between 12 and 35 meters.

The shoal is known for sharks. “Raggies,” or ragged tooth sharks congregate here from August to November to mate. These docile sharks are harmless even if their teeth look ferocious. Tiger shark diving is also popular and local dive shops offer baited, cageless, tiger shark drift dives. Black tip sharks are numerous on theses dives and occasionally Bull sharks, also called Zambezi sharks, sometimes make an appearance. Great whites can also be seen while diving the shoal. During the winter months migrating whales can be seen.

Dive operations use small inflatables or “rubber duck” boats to transport divers to the shoal which provide an exciting entry and exit to the ocean from the river. Divers put their feet in straps at the floor of the boat and hold on tight as experienced boat captains weave through heavy surf.

Although warmer than western South Africa, waters can still be on the cool side ranging from 16-24C (60-75F). Thick wetsuits, gloves, and hoods are recommended. Diving is usually done in the mornings when the winds are calmer as the winds pick up later in the day. There can also be lots of swell and strong currents at times.

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Dive Site Map

Revision History

Brandi Mueller

0 0

Advice on Diving in South Africa

...magnificent predator. Another spectacular option of South Africa shark diving is diving the sardine run. This natural yearly phenomenon happens in June and July. Dive boats go out every morning, locating the sardines, which form a bait ball, literally surrounded by predators like sharks, seals, dolphins, game fish, and birds. Cape town is located in an area of abundant natural beauty, which extends underwater. Wrecks, kelp forests, temperate reefs and rare shark species are amongst Cape Town diving highlight. Both the Atlantic coast and the bay east of the Cape offer several excellent dive ...

Read more


Read "Part 2: Dive Sites, Marine Life & Environment in South Africa"

Read "Part 3: Dive Shops, Airports & Logistics of Diving in South Africa"
Dive Logs

Nils

Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Location: Aliwal Shoal
Rating:


view log
Name Distance

Umkomaas

South Africa

13.05 km

Amanzimtoti

South Africa

26.97 km

Kampala

Uganda

3408.56 km

Kakamega

Kenya

3425.27 km

Jinja

Uganda

3425.41 km

Eldoret

Kenya

3458.51 km

Kitale

Kenya

3509.68 km
Name Distance

DUR | Durban International

South Africa, Durban

36.68 km

VIR | Virginia

South Africa, Durban

60.81 km

MGH | Margate

South Africa, Margate

80.53 km

PZB | Pietermaritzburg Oribi

South Africa, Pietermaritzburg

84.67 km

RIR | Riverside Fla-Bob

United States, Riverside

107.59 km

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