Discover the top 2 shark diving locations in South Africa

Shark diving is fast becoming the ‘must do’ activity on any adventure junkies bucket list of travel itineraries. Although South Africa is well known for its wildlife and safari vacations, Drakensberg mountains and Mandela, the country has become world renowned for its incredible array of marine life. Included in this is the abundance of shark species. These include the likes of tigersharks, bullsharks, oceanic blacktip sharks, ragged tooth shark, hammerhead sharks and of  course… the notorious Great White.

How sharktastic is this video?

We have been involved with SCUBA diving tours for over 12 years. Most of our guides have been diving since they where 12 years old. We have dived in many of the bets locations in South Africa. Given that Shark diving is the perfect adventure activity where travelers can not only get to observe these incredible animals in their natural environment, but can also make a sustainable contribution to the awareness and preservation of the shark population in South Africa. For this reason we decided to share with you what we beieve is the top 2 shark diving locations in South Africa-Protea Banks and Aliwal Shoal.

Protea Banks Shark Diving

Protea Banks is a reef situated about 8km offshore from Shelly beach on the KwaZulu natal south coast. The average diving depth is between 27m and 40m. The reef itself is 6km long ang 800m wide. Enough space for sharks to thrive on. Only divers with an Advanced certification are permited. Not only is the depth an issue but the diving conditions can get a tad hectic. Strong currents, big ocean swell and limited vizibility all add the challenge of the dive.

Shark Species to be found

On the Northern Pinnacle, you will find a cave inhabited by the Ragged Tooth Sharks. On their annual migration North, it is possible to see over 100 on the reef. The best months are April to June. On the Southern Pinnacle you are sure to find the infamous Bull Shark. Better known as the Zambezi in South Africa. Along with the ‘Zambos’ the likelihood of seeing Tiger Sharks, Blacktips, Duskies and Bronze Whalers is also high. The sharks frequent this location due to abundance of game fish from King Fish, Yellowtail and potato Bass.

Most sharks per square meter in the world

Protea Banks has a massive population of Bull Sharks. The reason has been linked to Tuna. In fact, the reef is one of the richest tuna grounds in the world. Other shark species that frequent the area are the Oceanic Black Tip sharks ( who seem to love swimming around divers like puppies), Guitar sharks and the scalloped Hammerheads. All in all, Protea banks is one of the best sahrk diving locations in South Africa. It boasts the most sharks per square kilometre in the world. Book a shark diving tour and come see for yourself.

Aliwal Shoal

One of the more popular diving reefs in South Africa. The reason would account for its relatively shallower depths compared to Protea reef, the abundance of marine life, magnificent coral and reef formations and the the main attraction……the hundreds of Ragged Tooth Sharks that freqent the location. Aliwal has become recognised as one the top 10 dive spots in he world. the launch site is from the Umkomaas River, about 40km south of Durban on the KwaZulu natal south coast. The reef lies about 5km out to sea.

The more prominent reefs to dive include the likes of Cathedral, Nothern Pinnacles, Castle and ‘Raggies Cave’. If wreck diving is your thing, then book a dive on The Produce which lies just north of Aliwal.

Common Shark Species

Some of the more frequent shark species to the reef include the Ragged Tooth, Black Tip, Tiger Shark and sometimes a few Great Whites Sharks make an appearance. Whale sharks can be found in the summer months from October to February. There is also a lot of bottle nosed dolphins along this part of thr coast. So more than like, your shark diving tour will also turn into a dolphin diving tour. We have never had anyone complaining about that.

World Famous Dive Site

Aliwal Shoal has recentky been recognised as a world famous location to spot Tiger Sharks. Besides the sharks, Aliwal is also home to abundance of other fish and marine species that include turtles, moray eels, potato bass, rays, groupers, sardines and the occasional hump back whale. The site is perfect for novice divers. A perfect oppertunity to get up close and personal with the ‘men in the grey suites’, Jawshua, Big Gums or Tommys.

Is the shark dive baited or caged?

On both Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks, the shark diving is open water. No cages are used. Which of course does mean that you would have to have the neccessary SCUBA certifications for the various diving locations. The dives are however classified as Baited. This means the shark are attrated to the area with adrum filled with fish chum. Usually made up of sardines, tuna or other fish products.

Although a highly controversial topic amongst the SCUBA diving fraternity and shark experts in South Africa, there are many arguments and misconceptions surrounding the use of bait to lure in sharks. Some of the positives of this practice may include the increased time to study shark behaviour or a greater public awareness of sharks from a conservancy  perspective. People will get to learn that sharks are not just man eating machines and are actually quite placid.  Some of the negatives include sharks associating humans with food resulting in a potential attack.

Shark Diving Packages

We can design a bespoke tour package for you. Just make contact with us and one of our experts will glady give advice for your dream vacation


About Author

Adventure enthusiast, Safari expert & overall a happy guy. I love Trekking and Hiking , especially summiting Kilimanjaro. I have a passion for people, animals and the beauty of nature


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