A guide to the best scuba diving spots in South Africa

Scuba diving isn't like anything else; it offers you a window into a completely different world - one that's tranquil, beautiful and, at times, dangerous. Equally, scuba diving in South Africa is different from diving in other destinations, largely because of the fact that its coastline touches two very different oceans - the Atlantic and the Indian.

Today, we're going to give you a glimpse of some of the best places to go scuba diving in the nation. The good news is that there's a strong PADI presence here and there are plenty of sites suitable for beginners as well as seasoned scuba divers, so there's scope to enjoy this activity no matter what level you're at. If you want advice on sorting out the basics of your holiday, like where to stay or what tours to take, check out what's on offer at Wanderforth.

Cape Town
Let's start by looking at one of the most popular tourist spots in South Africa, Cape Town. This city is something of a must-visit and probably more famous for its cultural attractions (as well as the spectacular Table Mountain) than its coastline, but that doesn't mean you can't find amazing dive sites here.

One of the joys of diving in Cape Town is that you can actually dive at the southernmost tip of the African continent. Meanwhile, creatures you can look forward to seeing in Cape Town's waters include broadnose sevengill sharks and Cape fur seals, while there are also some impressive wrecks and reefs.

False Bay
You can head out to False Bay during your stay in Cape Town. Around 30 km long, this bay has warmer seas than the Atlantic coast side of the peninsula, which generally makes for comfortable conditions.

What's nice about False Bay is the variety - you can't really pigeonhole it into any one type of dive. For instance, the Gordon's Bay and Simon's Town sites are home to spectacular, brightly coloured sea fans, while Smitswinkel Bay has a reputation for its amazing wreck dives.

While the dive sites here are really varied, you can broadly expect rockier terrain on the west and sandier bottoms in the east. Across both are kelp forests, which have better visibility and are home to creatures like the charmingly-named pyjama shark.

Not far from Cape Town is Gansbaai, which is the place to come to if you have your heart set on an adrenaline-pumping dive. You see, at Gansbaai you can have a close-up encounter with a great white shark by going cage diving.

Depending on the company you dive with, you could travel to the Geyser and Dyer islands from Gansbaai's Kleinbaai Harbour to see these powerful creatures. As a quick tip, said harbour is just a 45-minute drive from Hermanus, which is the country's whale-watching capital. If you have time, it's well worth popping over there to spot these amazing giants.

Sodwana Bay
Last up we have Sodwana Bay, which is among the best-known dive sites in South Africa. Home to one of the world's most southerly reef systems, this bay has more than 1,000 fish species and a wide variety of corals - a combination that makes dives here utterly spectacular.

You can expect visibility of around 20 ft, while dives vary in depth from about 10 m to 30 m and deeper.

As you can see diving in South Africa can be fabulous, particularly if you are a diver.  Now I just need to save up and convince the rest of the family to head there next!

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