Activities / Western Cape

Diving in Cape Town

Updated Monday, 18 April 2022

Silently balancing in a state of almost complete weightlessness, the dark water moving around you, it can feel almost meditative. Here, in the quiet depths of the ocean, you are forced to ignore your often hyperactive, chattering mind and just focus on the dive, all your attention focused on absorbing the strange and sometimes alien world around you.

As regular divers know, nothing compares to the raw purity of the untamed sea.

Scuba Diving in Cape Town

The great thing about diving in Cape Town is the variety of dives. For starters you have two oceans to choose from and on any given day if the conditions aren’t great on one side, they’re likely to be perfect on the other. There are simple dives for those who are braving it for the first time as well as more challenging dives for the more seasoned adventure-seeker. So whether you want to dive off of a boat and experience the deeper waters, or make a simple beach entry, the choice is yours and the oceans are quite literally your playground.

Some of the best dives are in Simon’s Town, a quaint harbour town that offers plenty of things to do and see; navy ships, unique little restaurants and the penguins of Boulders beach for those not taking part in the diving. Known as the ‘A Frame area’, there are four dives in close proximity here. All have an easy beach entry and once beneath the waters divers have the pleasure of swimming amongst some beautiful sea life: rays, pipe fish, sole weaving their way through thick kelp forests.

Not far from there are the False Bay reefs. These are best accessed by boat, however if you swim about a kilometer and a half from just about anywhere in Simon’s Town you will intercept this reef. Here you dive amongst the mad and playful world of the seals, darting in different directions, putting on a characterisitcally energetic underwater display. Remember to bring your camera as these dives have plenty of ‘Kodak’ moments for the diver wanting to show off to friends back home.

Learn how to scuba dive at Thonga

For those who want to explore the the mysteries of the Cape Town oceans, there are also a number of wrecks and caves. There are 5 wrecks situated in the False Bay area, all offering unique dive opportunities. On the other side, Oudekraal is a fantastic Atlantic Seaboard dive with an easy beach entry that boasts an array of sea life, the priceless colours of Justin’s caves, and the oldest known South African wreck, dating back to 1670.

For the experienced diver one of the essential dive experiences is the annual ‘Sardine Run’ when shoals of thousands of sardines migrate down South Africa’s east coat. Occuring between May and July, the Sardine Run provides a truly spectular viewing and photographic opportunity and shouldn’t be missed.

There are plenty of PADI scuba diving courses available in Cape Town for all levels, as well as holiday diving packages which take the diver on a whirlwind tour of the dive spots of South Africa, sometimes crossing the border into the dive spots in Mozambique.

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