Aliwal Shoal - Umkomaas
Aliwal Shoal is rated as one of the top 10 dive spots in the world, but regular divers say it is second only to the rocky ride over breakers to get there, the marine life of Aliwal Shoal is said to be spectacular. Raggies or ragged tooth sharks are regularly spotted between August and November as they use the area to mate.
Photography by Allen Walker
Every year, between the months of May and July, many millions of silvery sardines travel north from the cold southern oceans off South Africa's Cape Point, hugging the shore as they make their way up along the coastlines of the former Transkei (northern Eastern Cape) and KwaZulu-Natal in what is commonly known as the annual Sardine Run.
The Sardine Run is a spectacle in itself, but add to this, hundreds of predators arriving to partake in a feeding frenzy. Birds, dolphins, sharks, whales and game fish all gorge themselves on sardine's-a-plenty, putting on a show that will undoubtably live on in memory for a lifetime!
Mozambique is one of the finest diving destinations in the world, with remarkably unspoilt coral reefs and an abundant variety of marine life that all levels of divers can enjoy all year round. Sea temperatures vary between 30°C in summer to 21°C in winter and the structure of the reefs offer pinnacles, overhangs, coral arches and much more.
Reef depths vary from 10m to 40m and offer good visibility and fantastic photo opportunities. Not only of the incredible range of coral but of over 6,000 species of fish. The reefs attract a variety of game fish while the coral is home to myriads of brightly coloured smaller fish including schooling banner fish, Moorish idols, butterfly fish, blue striped snappers, barred sweetlips, goldies, and trigger fish.
The reef system of Sodwana Bay is believed to be about 80,000 years old and the sandstone rock base dating back to the late Pleistocene era. These would have been ancient fossilised sand dunes from when the sea level here was about 20m lower than today. Due to this broad sandstone base, the reef profile tends to be flat with low pinnacles, shallow drop offs, swim-throughs and gullies that range in depth from 8m to 100m and are suitable to novice and experienced divers alike. There is something for everyone!
The reef is home to 1200 known species of fish, compared to 1800 on the Great Barrier Reef, yet it is less than 1/10th the area! As well as fish, you will find invertebrates, turtles, rays and sharks on any of the dive sites. Speak to our Dive Masters about what interests you the most, and they will advise the best sites to visit. What is more, is our seasonal sightings of Whalesharks (Dec-Feb), Humpback Whales (June-Oct), Ragged-Tooth Sharks (Dec-Feb), and nesting Sea Turtles (Dec – Feb), are all incredible experiences that see divers returning here year after year.