Travel Guide

Scuba Diving Cape City – an entire information

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South Africa is famend for its magnificence and is a dream vacation spot for any journey junkie. The mountain climbing trails round Cape City are well-known, however many are shocked to be taught that Scuba diving in Cape City is superb. On the subject of diving actions in South Africa the annual sardine run on the East coast of the nation and shark cage diving are greatest identified. Superb experiences for certain, however South Africa has much more to supply to the Scuba diver. With such a various shoreline it is among the world’s most attention-grabbing diving locations. Chilly water diving within the stunning kelp forests of Cape City is a novel experience with colourful sea slugs, playful seals, quite a lot of sharks and fish and a few attention-grabbing wrecks to discover.

Scuba Diving in South Africa

The distinctive South African shoreline, bordered by totally different oceans and currents is residence to an enormous biodiversity. The Atlantic Ocean with the chilly Benguela present and the Indian Ocean with the nice and cozy Mozambique present creates two totally different underwater worlds on the East Coast and West Coast of South Africa. For the perfect Scuba diving with sharks in South Africa descend at Protea Banks in KwaZulu Natal. You’ll swim with Tigersharks, Zambezis, Black Suggestions and generally huge shoals of hammerheads.

Shy Shark Surrounded by Sea Urchins Diving around Cape Town.
Shy Shark Surrounded by Sea Urchins Diving round Cape City.

Essentially the most colourful and greatest tropical diving is within the heat Mozambique present from Sodwana Bay in northern Kwazulu Natal. On Africa’s most southern coral reef you’ll be able to see Whale sharks, Humpback Whales, Ragged-tooth Sharks, Manta Rays, and nesting Sea Turtles in season. 

Driving the Backyard Route additionally gives good diving alternatives; dive with sea horses on the Knysna Heads, go Scuba Diving with Seals at Plettenberg Bay, or go and dive with colleges of recreation fish and ragged-tooth sharks on the colourful reef of the Ray Banks from Port Elizabeth.

Cape City gives implausible chilly water diving; go diving with seals, cow sharks and discover quite a lot of distinctive nudibranchs. Diving within the stunning kelp forests makes diving right here totally different and spectacular. Cape City is wealthy in shark life that may be seen diving right here both scuba diving, doing pelagic shark dives, or cage diving with nice white sharks. See our in-depth article about totally different choices to dive with sharks in Cape City. On this thrilling metropolis you’ll not have a boring second, right here is our suggestion for our favourite things to do in Cape City.

Scuba Diving in Cape City

Diving round Cape City is difficult.  The water is chilly and visibility is just not all the time nice, however on an excellent day taking over the problem is so value it with an enormous number of distinctive marine life; from implausible small critters to a big number of fish and even marine mammals. Seals are sometimes seen on dives and are very playful. Diving or snorkeling with seals is a must-include in your Cape City itinerary. Dolphins and whales are regularly seen from the boat, however assembly them below water is a uncommon incidence.

Scuba divers new to the Cape dive scene are sometimes involved about sharks. This isn’t a severe concern, only a few persons are fortunate/unfortunate sufficient to ever see an excellent white shark scuba diving and assaults by these predators are nearly non-existent. The water is chilly, however this drawback is well solved by diving in a correct wetsuit or a dry swimsuit in excessive circumstances.

Value of Diving in Cape City

Red Roman diving Cape Town
Crimson Roman one of many stunning fish you’ll be able to see diving round Simon’s City.

Diving is attention-grabbing and difficult round Cape City, however simply since you are in a third-world nation it doesn’t imply diving is affordable. Dive costs in Cape City begin round R600 ($45) for a ship dive together with tools. I’ve labored and dived extensively round Asia and the Americas, a full day diving in Indonesia with three dives together with gear at world-class dive websites price about $100, and a single boat dive in Thailand as low cost as $30, less expensive than diving in Cape City.

Value of diving with totally different operators in Cape City may be discovered on the backside of this entry.

Permits Required for Diving in Cape City

A lot of the dive websites round Cape City are situated in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). These marine protected areas purpose to preserve marine life and promote the conservation and efficient administration of biodiverse marine areas.

To dive in a MPA it’s worthwhile to have a MPA Allow. You should buy this at any native put up workplace at a value of R75, the allow is legitimate for one yr from the day of buy. It’s also possible to purchase a short lived allow at sure dive retailers at a value of R45 which is legitimate for one month.

When diving round Cape City, test if the place you need to dive is situated in a MPA. Be sure to have a allow, massive fines may be issued for those who would not have a allow and kit may be confiscated.

Diving from the Shore in Cape City

Many dive websites are simply accessible from the shore. Since no boat prices are concerned most coaching dives within the space are performed from the shore. This makes diving low cost for those who personal your personal tools and know the world, solely paying for cylinder refills. Renting remains to be less expensive than doing boat dives and plenty of dive retailers have dive leaders obtainable for shore dives.

Dive websites round Cape City are both situated inside False Bay or on the Atlantic aspect, referring to the west coast of the Cape Peninsula.

Transport round Cape City

It’s potential to get by prepare to Simonstown or transfer round by taxi or Uber, however renting a automotive is unquestionably one of the simplest ways to maneuver round in Cape City. Rentacar Cape City compares costs of all essentially the most respected automotive rental businesses. You may lease a automotive beginning at about $20 per day for a medium automotive or as little as $15 per day for a small price range car for those who lease for every week! Choose up your car on the town or on the airport.


There’s some implausible Scuba diving inside false bay. Diving with seals, massive 7 gill cowsharks and a few very attention-grabbing nudibranches. Shore dives are generally performed and the great roads make most websites simple to achieve. Many massive cowsharks are sometimes seen from the shore. There are a selection of world class wrecks to dive within the bay.

Inside False Bay is greatest dived in winter months when the prevailing north-westerly winds flatten and cleans the bay.  In winter visibility is generally between 5 and 10 metres, however I’ve seen as much as 20m. Water temperatures this time of yr is generally round 16C. In summer season the south easter can spoil circumstances lowering visibility to zero and water temperatures can drop to 12C.

Gas flame nudibranch diving in False Bay
A Fuel Flame Nudibranch, one in every of my favourite nudi’s diving round Cape City.

Dive websites on this space are situated in a Marine Protected Space (2004). The closest put up workplace to purchase a allow right here for those who would not have one is Kalkbay.

Shore dives in False Bay

In my scholar days we couldn’t afford boat dives and I did a whole bunch of dives, day and evening, from the shore. As an teacher I’ve educated and confirmed many divers some implausible dives from the shore on this space.

The Clan Stuart

The “SS Clan Stuart” is a 3500 ton British turret steamer that ran aground carrying a cargo of coal after dragging her anchor in a South East gale on 21 November 1914.

clan stuart wreck shore dive Cape Town
The Wreck of the Clan Stuart makes for a pleasant and straightforward shore dive in False Bay.

This wreck is a simple, shallow dive appropriate for all ranges. Nice shore dive, with ample parking and nicely protected against south westerly swell. It’s appropriate for coaching and evening dives, and has fairly a various inhabitants of reef animals and a few attention-grabbing wreckage. The engine block may be seen above the water from the shore. The wreck is roofed in development, many small fish. Nice white sharks have been seen right here a few times.

Avg depth 6m. Max depth 8m


Roughly 4km from the Fish Hoek visitors circle on the Simon’s City Highway, about 100m from the seashore at Mackerel Bay

The A-Body

The A-Body is a really good shore dive, the entry is straightforward, there are some attention-grabbing swim throughs and quite a lot of marine life. The entry level is a flat rocky plateau. You decend on a shallow sandy space from the place you begin your tour by way of the kelp Forrest and previous enormous boulders.

Diving the A-Frame in Simonstown
The A-Body is a extremely popular shore dive in Simons City. On this photograph you’ll be able to clearly see the place the identify comes from.

There are a few deep holes and overhangs creating attention-grabbing swim throughs in which you’ll be able to see many colourful invertebrates. The smaller of the 2 rocks has a pleasant cave to enter stuffed with massive sponges.  The location is nicely fitted to evening dives. Octopus, cuttlefish, massive pink romans, hottentot and shy sharks are generally seen.

nudibranch dive simons town
A Black nudibranch and a Silvertip nudibranch, two nudibranch’s usually seen diving in False Bay.


The location lies roughly 5km from Simon’s City on the Cape Level Highway.

Fort Rock

Fort Rock is  enormous rocks in a small bay space, which is fashioned by massive boulders. The dive begins in a small bay which you exit by way of an enormous Kelp forest. You swim across the rocks and this website has some superb fish life. Crimson Roman, Pyjama sharks, Shy Sharks, Butterfish, Galjoen, Cape Knife Jaw, Financial institution Steenbras and Janbruin (John Brown) of descend measurement are seen on most dives.

Max Depth 15m

Cape Knife Jaw diving Castle Rock simons town
A Cape Knife Jaw and Carel Groot Oog, diving round Fort Rock in Simon’s City.


Driving from Simon’s City Fort Rocks is located simply earlier than the Cape Level Nature Reserve. After the Millers Level flip off you will notice a big outcrop of rocks, Fort Rock. Parking is on the aspect of the Highway, about 15 meters above sea degree, so that you equipment up right here and stroll all the way down to the entry spot.

Pyramid Rock – Cow Shark Dive

That is my favourite dive in Simon’s City and is commonly performed as a ship dive. Comparable fish life to Fort Rock. The spotlight is the Seven Gill Cow Sharks. Typically many of those massive sharks may be seen. They’ve enamel however in 1000’s of dives no person has been bitten.


A pyramid formed rock protruding above the water between Fort Rock and the Simon’s City jetty.

seven gill cow shark simonstown
Diving in Cape city with Seven Gill Cow Sharks at Pyramid Rock.

Boat Dive in False Bay

Partridge Level    – Cape Fur Seal Dive

Scuba diving with the acrobatic Cape Fur Seals is an superior experience in Cape City. The seals are very playful and love to point out off  to divers.

These seals are used to divers and plenty of of them usually come to examine and play. Partridge Level is a inshore rocky reef near Fort Rocks.

The amphitheatre, a shallow part of the reef is an efficient place to observe the Seals. The deeper sections of the reef gives stunning marine life, swim-throughs and huge sea followers.

There are intensive kelp forests within the shallower areas, and a heavy cowl of invertebrates on the rocks.

Max depth 26m

Boat Dive launcing from Millers Point in Simon's Town.
Boat Dive launching from Miller’s Level in Simon’s City.

Whittle Rock

Rock in False Bay elevating from 35m deep to simply 3m beneath the floor. Number of good measurement fish; Crimson Roman, Crimson Stump, Yellow Tail and extra. Widespread spearfishing spot. Nice Whites generally seen. Good nudibranchs’ and different invertebrates.


Boat dive, 9km from Millers Level.    

The SAS Pietermaritzburg      

This ship was previously generally known as HMS Pelorus and led the D-Day invasion of Normandy. It was purchased by the South African Navy and scuttled to kind a man-made reef in 1994. The wreck remains to be intact and is straightforward to entry.  It’s a in style website for introductory wreck dives and evening dives, primarily as a result of average depth and quick distance from the launch website. Max Depth 22m


Boat dive, 1 km from Millers Level.

Abalone diving inside False Bay from the shore.
Abalone diving inside False Bay, this huge mollusk has been poached nearly to extinction because of its excessive value in Asia. Years in the past we used to dive abalone whereas snorkeling and cook dinner this delicacy, farmed abalone can nonetheless be purchased for cooking.

The Wrecks of Smitswinkel Bay

The Wrecks of Smitswinkel Bay are 5 wrecks that had been scuttled within the 1970’s by the SA Navy to kind a man-made reef. It’s potential to go to all 5 wrecks on a single no-decompression dive , this is called a Smits Swim. That is often organised for individuals who need to have been there and performed that. The 5 wrecks are SAS Transvaal (navy frigate), SAS Good Hope (navy frigate), the Rockeater (diamond dredger), the
Princess Elizabeth (fishing trawler) and the Oratava (fishing trawler)  The dredger and frigates are in an upright place and at this depth may be fairly a ghostly sight.

A very good constitution firm is necessary for this dive, some native divers are usually not even certain which wreck is which. Grant from Blueflash Divers actually is aware of what he’s doing. On the wrecks you’ll be able to see numerous nudibranchs, anemones, sponges, sea-fans and comfortable corals. A very good gentle helps to deliver out a variety of shade. Due to the depth and chilly water you’ll want to plan the dive nicely and cling to limits.

Lodging in Simonstown, False Bay

  • Backpacker Price range – Stoked Backpackers
  • Mid Vary – The Lodge Glencairn is a really handy keep for diving in False Bay. Good rooms, pleasant homeowners and glorious location lower than 100m stroll from Pisces Divers.
  • Deal with Your self – Watercolors Home, set reverse the ocean,  superb views, massive photo voltaic heated pool.


Diving the Atlantic Aspect refers  to the websites on the west coast of the Cape Peninsula. Chilly, clear water introduced by the South East winds makes summer season the perfect time to dive right here. The South east  cleans up the Atlantic aspect and visibility can attain as much as 20m, however then the temperatures can drop to about 10°C.

Kelp forest, seals, crayfish and vibrant comfortable corals are widespread on dives on the Atlantic aspect of Cape Level. Dolphins are sometimes seen from the dive boats and in case you are fortunate you’ll be able to run into the attention-grabbing and large oceanic sunfish.

Detailed listed here are just a few of the preferred dive websites on the Atlantic Seaboard. The boat launches are from Hout Bay harbour. A drive alongside the coast from Hout Bay is among the most scenic drives in Cape City. In case you have time earlier than or after your dive be sure to do it.

Hottentot is the most common fish in the Kelp Forest diving on the Atlantic side of Cape Point.
Hottentot is the commonest fish within the Kelp Forest diving on the Atlantic aspect of Cape Level.

Shore Dives on the Atlantic Aspect of Cape Level

There are some good shore dives to do within the Oudekraal space on the base of Twelve Apostles. Positioned inside an MPA you want a Scuba allow (from a put up workplace) to dive right here. Parking is often not an enormous drawback within the coastal space. Be ready to navigate the rocks to the water, battle by way of the patches of floating kelp, and for fairly a protracted swim to the dive website. When within the space be sure to go to the Cape Level Nationwide Park it’s one of many must-see locations in Cape City.

Justin’s Caves

It is a extremely popular shore dive in summer season when the water is chilly and clear. Giant caverns and swim throughs makes this a enjoyable dive. In all probability the perfect (and hottest) shore dive on the Atlantic aspect. Nudibranchs’, anemones, sponges and plenty of crayfish stay in among the caverns. Many hottentot fish and small, innocent sharks swim within the space. A few years in the past I noticed a nice white shark right here on a shore dive. I’ve by no means heard about this taking place to a different diver.


Parking along side the street on outdoors of bend north of the Twelve Apostles Lodge. There’s an entry/exit level immediately reverse the caves on the backside of a slope coated with rounded boulders. Dive website about 150m off shore.

Sandy Cove

Sandy Cove is a pleasant and straightforward dive, protected against the pumping South Easterly in summer season and in style for coaching. Positioned near the Twelve Apostles Lodge. It’s a steep stroll all the way down to the dive website, however a simple entry. There are some small swim throughs you can squeeze by way of. Numerous marine life, crayfish, some fish primarily Klipfish and Hottentots’ , some Shy Sharks and Pyjama Sharks. In case you swim out you could find some canons that is still from an previous wreck the ‘Het Huis Te Kraaienstein’, this is called the oldest wreck in South Africa.

The Antipolis

One other dive website situated near the Twelve Apostles Lodge contained in the Karbonkelberg Marine Protected Space. The Antipolis ran aground at Oudekraal in 1977 and was later lower all the way down to water degree. The wreck was a metal ship, the wreckage is especially massive pipes, damaged hull plates and huge valves overgrown with algae with all kinds of shell fish, star fish and a few crayfish conceal across the wreck. Many shy sharks and jelly fish will also be seen within the space The encircling reef is especially granite outcrops and boulders.

The swim out to the wreck is greater than 50m, the common depth right here is round 7m reaching a max depth of 15m at this dive website. Visibility is often 5-10 meters however can exceed 20 meters.

Diving in the Kelp Forest near Cape Town.
Diving within the Kelp Forest close to Cape City.

Boat Dives on the Atlantic Aspect of Cape Level

Boat dives launch from Hout Bay and there are spectacular wrecks and good reefs, blinders and pinnacles to dive right here on the Western Seaboard of the Cape Peninsula.

The Maori

The Maori is a superb wreck dive on the Atlantic aspect of Cape City mendacity at a depth from 13m to a most depth of 21m. Jacques Cousteau labelled it the perfect preserved wreck of it’s classic when he dived right here. This 5317 ton cargo ship went down carrying explosives, pipes and crockery from London to New Zealand in 1909. Factors of curiosity on the wreck embody the steam engines, the railway traces for cargo and plenty extra. Stranded on a rocky reef with an total size of 122 m


Boat dive, situated about 7.5 km from Hout Bay Harbour. Shut inshore in the midst of the bay between Duiker Level and Oude Schip, however not simply accessible from the shore as there are not any roads on this space.

The Aster

The Aster was a 27 m lengthy Motor Fishing Vessel registered in South Africa as a lobster fishing vessel. The ship was was scuttled in Hout Bay close to the wreck of the MV Katzu Maru on 9 August 1997 to kind a dive website. The place was nicely chosen and the wreck is nicely protected against the south easterly wind. The ship was ready to be a diver-friendly synthetic reef by making massive openings into the construction. Most compartments have some type of opening to the surface. It’s a good wreck for coaching wreck penetration. The vessel is upright on the underside and is starting to interrupt up. It is a deep dive with a most depth of 28m and a mean depth of about 20m. There are many feather stars, sponges and mussels on the wreck, maintain a watch out for large crayfish. Visibility more likely to be about 10m, however I’ve dived right here in over 20m visibility, however it was a really chilly day with water temperatures beneath 10C!

MV Katsu Maru

The Katsu Maru was Japanese trawler, it struck an unidentified object at sea in August 1978. It flooded and sank whereas it was being towed to Hout Bay. The wreck lies on its starboard aspect on the sand backside. It’s a good wreck to dive in good visibility. You can’t actually penetrate this one with out particular coaching. The highest of the hull lies at a depth of about 16m and the utmost depth is 28m.

Vulcan Rock

Vulcan rock is a big pinnacle about about 2km to sea from Hout Bay. It’s a stunning colourful dive, the granite reef is roofed in laborious and comfortable chilly coral. At low tide the top breaks the floor, the reef drops to a most depth of 40m. There are some swim throughs deeper on the reef. Vulcan rock is a biodiverse reef internet hosting quite a lot of nudibranchs, crayfish, hottentot, galjoen and also you generally discover seals across the reef.

Star partitions

That is the tallest and longest wall dive within the Cape City space. An enormous steady granite wall with a vertical drop of about 25m and the reef has a south face of about 100 m. Various and colourful comfortable corals and invertebrates cowl the wall.

Lodging Hout Bay

Dive Operators

Alpha Dive Centre

Alpha Dive Centre is a superb Dive Heart. Positioned in Strand, however dives in every single place in False Bay. I did my coaching with Alpha. Ettienne, the proprietor, is a superb man with 20 years+ of experience. Good dive masters for shore dives, does boat dives with Blue Flash, a superb constitution firm. Pop in for a cup of espresso and discus any diving concepts you may need.

Shore Dives

Full Scuba gear rental R480 ($33) per day, R150 ($10) Divemaster charge.

It is a excellent deal for those who lease a set and refill the cylinder for two or three dives!

Boat Dives

Boat charge Simon’s City R380 ($26), so with gear rental (Scuba set) you’re looking at about R860 ($60) for a dive.

PADI Openwater Course – R4600 ($320)

SSI Openwater Course – R4600 ($320)

  • Contains four shore dives, Scuba Gear (will need to have/purchase your personal masks, snorkel, fins)

Pisces Divers

Pisces Divers is a superb dive heart ran by proprietor Mike Nortje. Location is nice on Lengthy Seashore, Simonstown the preferred coaching seashore. Swimming Pool on website. Good Espresso Store within the dive heart.

Shore Dives      

R1300 ($87) – 2 dives

Every day Shorediving package deal with full tools, two guided shore dives, lunch and transport from dive centre to dive websites.

Boat Dives      

Pisces have their very own boat, you’ll pack your stuff on the store in Simonstown. They’ve numerous packages obtainable resembling ‘Wreck and Reef’ and ‘Seal and Kelp’.

R2200 ($147)-2 dives

Guided boat dive package deal consists of full tools on your two dives

PADI Openwater Course – R6800 ($455)

  • Contains 2 boat dives, 2 shore dives, all gear
    • bit extra expensive, however good that your course consists of some boat dives

Blue Flash

Blue Flash proprietor Grant Whitford is a really skilled skipper. Grant runs dive charters and caters for knowledgeable, adventurous divers. A constitution dive prices R450, this doesn’t embody dive gear or a dive chief. Name him for those who want gear or guided dive and he’ll arrange this for you.

Extra Superior Things to Do Round Cape City

If like us you’re keen on the ocean and the mountains, don’t miss the 2 most well-known mountains to hike in Cape City, mountain climbing trails up Desk Mountain, and mountain climbing up Lions Head.

The Mom Metropolis is a dream vacation spot for espresso lovers, with loads of top of the range artisan espresso retailers unfold out by way of town. See our favourite espresso retailers in Cape City.

South Africa is known for wild love, probably the greatest ‘off the overwhelmed observe’ nationwide parks within the Kgalagadi Nationwide Park.

If you can’t make it to Kgalagadi or Kruger you’ll be able to see the Large 5 on a safari at Aquila Recreation Reserve, solely about 2 hours drive from Cape City, get picked up at your lodge in Cape City.

Kitesurfing in Cape City is world-famous, test it out we went for an introduction in Langebaan.

South Africa is residence to some implausible wines, go and take a look at the well-known wine farms in Stellenbosch or go and see the place winemaking began in South Africa on the wine farms of Constantia. Wine tasting and a few attention-grabbing meals and wine pairing in Durbanville can be a implausible day to be taught and luxuriate in.

Dive Insurance coverage

Considering of things that may go flawed an excessive amount of can put a damper in your journey, however there are apparent dangers. Accidents do occur, be ready. Get a on-line quote in seconds. Have your journey, your well being and your gear coated, learn the small print. World Nomads Diving Insurance coverage

Disclosure: Stingy Nomads participate within the Amazon Companies LLC Associates Program and different affiliate applications. We earn promoting charges by promoting and linking to those websites. In case you click on on the hyperlink and buy the merchandise, we are going to obtain an affiliate fee at no additional price for you. Thank You!

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Hey! A bit about us - we’re John & Maria and we're a couple that loves to travel the world and document our adventures! We enjoy writing, blogging, exploring and sharing our adventures. We’re always embarking on new journeys and here you’ll find articles covering many travel destinations, and topics, such as culture, history, art and cuisine. Our goal and mission is to present compelling stories, photography and personal opinions, as well as serve as an online resource for anyone who wishes to plan their own trips and visit the destinations we've been to. We genuinely love meeting new people, mingling with locals, listening to their amazing stories and trying new travel experiences.

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