Reef Informatiom

Sodwana Bay reefs have the most southern coral reef formations in Africa and they occur on the continental shelf, which is approximately 4km wide in this area.
  Our coral reefs grow on a sandstone base structure that is unique to true coral reef structures. Due to the sandstone base structure, our reefs tend to be flat with low pinnacles, shallow drop offs, gullies and range in depth from 6m to 100m and are relatively young at 4000 years old.

What makes Sodwana great, is that the reefs play home to 1200 species of fish, compared to 1800 in the Great Barrier Reef, yet over 1-10th the area!  You can see almost everything if you dive here often enough.  As well as fish, you will find all sorts of invertebrates, turtles, rays and sharks on any of the dive sites.  The opportunities are limitless.  Speak to our guides about what interests you the most and we can advise the best sites to visit.  Meanwhile, you may discover passion for spotting another critter.

What’s more, is our seasonal sightings of  Whalesharks (Dec-Feb), Humpback Whales (June-Oct), Raggie-tooth Sharks (Dec-Feb), and nesting Sea Turtles (Dec – Feb).

All the dives conducted at Sodwana Bay are drift dives. A predominant current that flows from north to south is noticeable. Depending on the strength of this current, more than one dive site may be covered. Occasionally a reverse current develops. The Divemasters that lead the dives will choose the best dive sites according to the conditions to ensure a comfortable dive.

 

Wayne’s World

Ave: 14m, Max: 16m

A slightly deeper dive, and relatively flat, this site can be ideal for a drift dive or rougher conditions. Suffice to say, a large variety of soft coral can be found, with amazing color on this dive. Look out for the turtle cave, where one is often found sleeping.

Simon’s Cave

Ave: 13m, Max: 18m

Keep a lookout for the shy Royal angelfish hiding in the small gullies and under overhangs. If the current and surge allow there is a swim through about 5m long, where Whitetip reef sharks are known to rest. This reef has large colonies of anemones, and Racoon butterflyfish often school here. The hard and soft corals make it colourful and varied.

Pinnacles

Ave: 10m, Max: 12m

Named for a group of pinnacles that are fun to swim through, you will find an array of fish like the Zebra seabream. Paperfish have been seen on the edges of the small sand patches dotted along this route. A feature on this route is known as the Old Woman Pinnacle, which rises up to 5m.

4 Buoy

Ave: 9m, Max: 12m

All around the sand patch you will find groups of fish hiding under overhangs and in swim-throughs. Pass under the big overhang to a cleaning station and a Honeycomb moray eel. Carry on through gullies with 3m ledges. Small crevices, windows, and overhangs play home to nocturnal fish such as Soldierfish, Squirrelfish, and Porcupinefish.

Arches

Ave: 9m, Max: 13m

This site consists of ledges with boulders that form arches in a variety of shapes and sizes. One arch in particular, at the beginning, is large and quite spectacular. While going through you will see a large school of Pencilled surgeonfish. Between the large overhangs schools of Bluebanded snappers, Trumpetfish and the occasional Black beauty snapper are spotted.

Coral Gardens

Ave: 10m, Max: 13m

Coral Gardens is known for the variety of hard and soft corals that carpet the reef. Its flat topography makes it ideal for drift diving in a strong current. Combine it with Grand Central for a beautiful dive. Brightly coloured nudibranchs are plentiful and sighted easily by observant divers.

Deep Sponge

Ave: 28m, Max: 32m

Deep Sponge lies parallel with 2 Mile but 500m further out to sea. A lovely deep dive that offers divers massive vase shaped sponges and interesting marine life. Game fish are common over and around this area. A good option when a strong surge is present on 2 Mile, however, only open to advanced divers.

Caves & Overhangs

Ave: 10m, Max: 16m

Caves and Overhangs offer incredible coral formations consisting mostly of Plate and Staghorn corals, which together with the rocky substrate form numerous small caves and swim-throughs. The fish life is abundant, and almost anything can be seen which makes this site a very dynamic and colourful dive.

Antons

Ave: 13m, Max: 16m

Antons’ large profile makes it popular with divers. Nutrients are carried and pushed onto the reef by a predominantly north-south current, where large schools of fish hang. Slingers, Christies and Humpback snappers enjoy the feast. Don’t miss the Slender baardman on the northern sand patch. Large organisms like Turtles and Manta rays are also found feeding around the reef.

Chain

Ave: 15m, Max: 17m

This reef attributes its name to a ships anchor chain that lies across it. The chain has become part of the reef and is now difficult to spot. This reef has beautiful topography and is not dived often; therefore the corals are still in very good condition. Chain has a vast number of Carpet anemones, while the elusive Razor wrasse and Ribbon eels have been spotted on occasions.

Stringer

Ave: 11m, Max: 13m

It consists of two close rocky outcrops, surrounded by sand. Large game fish frequent this area, which doubles as a nursery for juvenile fish. You are likely to come across large and small critters such as Frogfish, Anemonefish, Ghost pipefish, Rays, Moray eels and all three types of Sea turtles. Look closely for Paperfish and juvenile Emperor angelfish. Mantas often pass by.

Hopscotch

Ave: 22m, Max: 25m

A series of small scattered ledges provide interesting topography where the elusive Ribbon Eel and Frogfish can be spotted. Schooling Coachman and many shoals of Goldies add colour to this site. Bommies and Turbinate coral can be enjoyed as you look for the tiny critters that make this an interesting dive.

Bikini

Ave: 18m, Max: 22m

Bikini is a macro photographer’s playground. Try spotting the Ghost and Scribbled pipefish, Garden eels, or juvenile Boxies. This delicate reef is an important cleaning station, packed with Durban dancers, Banded boxers, and other cleaner shrimps. This attracts many adult and juvenile Moray eels. Don’t miss one of the bigger visitors such as Sharks, Turtles, Rays, and Mantas,

Mellow Yellow

Ave: 16m, Max: 18m

On the southern end of Bikini, it’s named after the large shoals of yellow fish found there. It is a narrow reef with gullies, overhangs, and small ledges, where Paperfish and various cleaner shrimp can be spotted. Juvenile Palette surgeonfish and Twobar humbugs hug the large table coral. Octopus and Mantis shrimp are other special additions to the site.

Roonies

Ave: 27m, Max: 32m

Found out to sea of 2 Mile, Roonies is 30m dropping to 35m. Diving at this depth, time is obviously limited but everything is condensed into a small area. Get stuck into looking for the rare, but territorial Long Nose hawkfish, or try your luck at finding the resident Seahorse.  Its not uncommon to bump into some of our Billfish and Sharks whilst de-gassing after a great dive!

Quarter Mile

Ave: 9m, Max: 14m

Just off Jesser Point, Quarter Mile offers a colourful shallow dive. Stingrays, Turtles, and Giant guitarfish are common sightings here.  In summer (December – February), the female Ragged-tooth sharks congregate here to gestate. This gives divers an exciting experience with these docile animals.

Hotspot

Ave: 25m, Max: 32m

This ledge provides a great patrol area for big game fish in search of prey. Various crustaceans can be found along the bottom. See what is using the Black Tree coral as shelter. Lionfish, Sharks, Potato bass, and various Rays (e.g. Eagle rays, Manta rays) may accompany you on your dive.

Pothole

Ave: 9m, Max: 14m

The 4m diameter pothole contains a variety of interesting marine life. Carefully enter to explore the 3m ledge, and low overhangs surrounding you. You may spot the Bar-tail moray and crustaceans. While waiting your turn, look round the outside edge of the pothole, keeping your eyes open for Sharks, and Rays.

Ribbon

Ave: 16m, Max: 19m

It consists of two small reef systems similar to Stringer, and attributes its name to the uncommon Ribbon eel found here. A special feature is the red coloured Magnificent Anemone. Devil Firefish and large Scorpionfish are sighted regularly. Large predator fish such as Barracuda, Kingfish and a variety of Sharks make an appearance.

Lettuce

Ave: 25m, Max: 31m

Named after the abundant lettuce coral on the reef. This deep dive is spectacular for finding some unique fish like the Tiger Angelfish.  Hanging above the Lettuce coral formations are various types of Damselfish.  The close proximity to the Canyon makes it a good opportunity to see Zambezi sharks.

Gotham

Ave: 40m, Max: 42m

Aptly named after Gotham City (Batmans Turf), due to the schooling Batfish which often hang above the reef. Visitors to this reef require a Deep Speciality certification. Lots can be seen on Gotham, making a great dive for those who enjoy deeper waters!

Snapper’s College

Ave: 22m, Max: 25m

This newly discovered reef is named after the large amount of Snappers schooling there. Blue Banded, Dory, Humpback snappers are but a few found amongst the big shoals. Diving along a small ledge, look out for: Paperfish, Moray eels, Cleaner shrimp and juvenile Boxfish.

7 Mile

Ave: 16m, Max: 22m

With the number of fish species, spectacular drop offs and coral formations, 7 mile is not to be missed, and is listed as one of the world’s top dive sites. What makes this reef so popular is its variety, including Blacktip reef sharks, schools of pelagic fish, huge Moray eels and plenty of Turtles.

Ramsey’s

Ave: 14m, Max: 18m

It’s a great opportunity for open water qualified divers to explore a reef further than 2 mile. Ramsey’s is home to lots of juvenile fish – the juvenile Emperor angelfish is a great example.  One dive route follows the ledge that runs inshore varying from 1-4 m high. Numerous Devil fire fish, Moray eels (e.g. Starry Moray), Tube anemones, and Pipefish make this a fantastic and unique dive.

9 Mile

Ave: 18m, Max: 22m

The highlight here is the huge Green Tree coral. It stands about two and a half meters high, and is surrounded by hundreds of Goldie’s. It forms a unique feature amongst all the reefs in Sodwana Bay. This is a great multilevel dive, with a spectacular system of swim-throughs, overhangs, and caves.