Cape town is a city of contrast and adventure, surrounded by unrivaled natural beauty and with a dramatic backdrop of the distinctive Table Mountain. As the second largest city in South Africa, after Johannesburg, Cape Town is a magnet for travelers, serving both as a gateway to South Africa as well as one of the top destinations with plenty of things to do. The adventure of the city continues underwater, where Cape Town diving offers unique opportunities to encounter different species of sharks, including the Cow Shark and the Great White Shark.
Some Cape Town dive sites are best dived in summer, others in winter and a bunch of dive sites can be dived throughout the year, offering divers an opportunity to dive in Cape Town anytime. Some dives are dependent on the season though, like the shark cage diving, which is most spectacular in South African winter, between May and October, but the sharks can be sighted year-round. Shark cage dive trips are weather dependent and can get cancelled due to wind or swells, therefore divers should allocate multiple days to plan their cage dive.
Water temperatures at the Atlantic coast are between 10 and 13 degrees Celsius, slightly colder than the water temperatures in False Bay of around 12 to 18 degrees. Diving the Atlantic waters can be treacherous, with currents and surges, and conditions are generally best during the South African summer, between the months of October and February, with visibility ranging from 10-20 meters. A dry suit is often recommended for these cold waters. False bay is well protected by the Cape Peninsula and is best dived between March and September.
As one of the main cities of South Africa, Cape Town has an international airport with excellent connections to any part of the world. Car hire is easy and the best way to get around the city and the Cape Peninsula. Safety can be an issue when traveling in South Africa, but with the right precautions and sensibility this doesn’t have to be a problem.
Justin’s cave is a popular dive site in the Atlantic side of the Cape Peninsula. The site consists of huge granite boulders that create swim-throughs, walls, gaps and overhangs, and there is an old anchor that is worth exploring. Between the rocks divers can find sea urchins, starfish, mussels, sponges and sea cucumbers. The colors at this dive site can be spectacular, especially with good visibility- it’s best dived in the summer.
Castle Rock is a beautiful unspoiled dive site, situated in a marine reserve on the east coast of the Cape Point Peninsula, with quite an abundance of marine life. The site is covered in sponges, sea fans, kelp forest, sea urgins and anemones with plenty of fish life that call this place home. Search between the rocks and corals for octopus, nudibranchs, and brittle stars, and look out in the blue for the occasional shy shark. Dive site Pyramid rock, close to Castle Rock, is a popular kelp forest dive site. The main attraction here is the chance to see the spotted sevengill cow shark, gully shark and shy shark. But even without a shark sighting, this is an excellent Cape Town dive site, with lots of rocks to explore, swim throughs and tons of soft corals.
The Smitswinkel Bay wrecks, a highlight in Cape Town wreck diving, are a group of five ship wrecks in good condition that now form an artificial reef. The wrecks are located relatively deep, between 22 and 36 meters and it’s recommended to take a dive light to see the colorful growth on the wreck better and explore holes and dark corners. This site is located on the eastside of the Cape Point Peninsula, south of the Castle Rock dive sites.
Steenbras Deep, a Gordons Bay dive site close to Cape Town, is a fantastic dive site that can be dived year round and offers something exciting to see every time. Covered in giant sea fans, sponges and anemones, this site has an abundance of fish life, including the Red Roman, hottentot, shy shark and pyama shark. Divers should have a look out for rare nudibranchs species like the purple lady.
Shark cage diving in Cape Town happens in False Bay. Although the sharks can be seen all year, cage diving is most spectacular between May and September, when divers can see the great white at Seal Island, including the famous jump.
Cape town diving happens on both the Atlantic coast and in False Bay east of the Cape Peninsula. There are plenty of dive centers to choose from that offer full dive training possibilities and trips to the best Cape Town dive sites, including diving with sharks. There are dive centers in the city, but venturing out to the Cape Peninsula or further east along False Bay will bring you up and close to the action.
Pisces Diving is located in Simon’s Town, on the east coast of the Cape Peninsula, with easy access to some splendid dive sites like Castle Rock, or diving with the pre-historic looking cow sharks. They offer a full palette of services, including PADI dive courses, boat charters, tank fills, equipment repair and maintenance.
For shark cage diving in Cape Town, Apex Shark Expeditions is the place to go. Their Great White expeditions run twice daily in season and their trips are big on shark conservation. Besides diving with the great white, Apex offers special expeditions like the Sardine Run and Sharks of South Africa.
Scuba Shack Cape Town is another Cape Peninsula dive center with a genuine enthusiasm and love for scuba diving. They organize local shore dives, snorkeling with seals, and dives with the cow sharks. Their PADI courses run from total beginner to instructor level.
More central in Cape Town and located on the Atlantic coast is Into The Blue Scuba Dive Center. They offer a full range of PADI dive courses, as well as diving local Cape Town dive sites, dives on either side of the Cape Peninsula and special dive trips to dive with the sharks.
At the other side of False Bay, a short drive from Cape Town and in the mountain side residential area of Gordons Bay, Indigo Diving offers SSI training courses, dive trips, a well-stocked store and an extensive knowledge of local diving and marine life.
My only regret about diving with Prodive is not being able to stay long enough to dive with them more! The boat crew was fantastic and really went out of their way to help us have the best experience possible, which included staying out on the water much longer than we were suppose to because there were whales, dolphins, and orcas!
I couldn't have asked for a better experience than what Aliwal Dive Centre provided during three days of tiger shark dives and reef dives on the Aliwal Shoal. Their staff is great and their dive lodge on the property makes it convenient and comfortable to dive and stay with them. I can't wait to go back and dive with them again!
Justin’s cave is a popular dive site in the Atlantic side of the Cape Peninsula. The site consists of huge granite boulders that create swim-throughs, walls, gaps and overhangs, and there is an old an...
Cape town diving happens on both the Atlantic coast and in False Bay east of the Cape Peninsula. There are plenty of dive centers to choose from that offer full dive training possibilities and trips t...
The sevengill shark, also known as the cow shark, is one of the most primitive species of shark, and has a noticeably prehistoric look to it. Although spending most of its time unseen by divers in deep waters, there are certain seasons and places where divers can reliably find them at recreational diver depths.
Made famous by Discovery Channel's Shark Week, diving with tiger sharks at South Africa’s Aliwal Shoal is the ultimate adventure for any shark junkie. An adrenaline rush like no other, this drift dive regularly attracts oceanic black tips, dusky sharks, bull sharks, and of course, the tiger shark with no cage.
The pyjama shark, also known as the striped catshark, looks cute enough to cuddle. Found off the coast of South Africa, these small sharks are a near-threatened species that most people don't even know exist.