Recreational Diving – Information
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.
All the dives conducted at Sodwana Bay are drift dives. A predominant current flows from north to south and is noticeable most of the time, although some days a reverse current may be noticed. Depending on the strength of the current, more than one dive site may be covered. The Dive Masters that lead the dives will choose the best dive site and route on the day, according to the conditions to ensure a great dive (The proposed dive sites are planned the evening before, but may be subject to change if weather conditions warrant).
If you’re booking your first dive of the holiday, please bring your certification card or log book with you to the Dive Planning meeting. If you’re interested in becoming a diver or furthering your dive education we’ll introduce you to an instructor. Book your dives at the desk, meet your Dive Master for the next day and find out more about the dive sites.
- Dive Planning – Provisional dive bookings can be made from 6am to 1pm daily by contacting the Beach Controller on 0790712612, and/or by attending the Dive Planning meeting the evening before you wish to dive from 6.30pm to 7.30pm. It is here that dive times and dive sites will be confirmed for the following day’s diving. Making a provisional booking is advised especially during the high season when we are extremely busy. All provisional bookings are subject to change so please make an effort to attend the Dive Planning, or take a look at the board to confirm your times if you do miss the meeting.
- Dive Equipment – This can be arranged at dive planning, hired and paid at our reception and collected at the gear room on the morning of the dive. The Gear Room is open from 6am daily and a member of staff will be on duty to assist you with your sizes, weight requirements etc. Dive equipment will be signed out under your name and it is your responsibility to ensure its safekeeping during your stay. All equipment is individually numbered for easy identification – please take note of your number/s. You are liable for replacement gear at current rates.
- Dive Permits – It is government legislation to purchase a permit for diving. This can be bought at the reception (depending on availability – they are only valid for one month). Alternatively you can purchase an annual licence at your local post office (they do sell monthly permits as well).
- Kitting Up – Divers must kit up and check their equipment during the 30 minute period before their launch. A selection of cylinders with DIN and Yoke fittings will be on the beach at the Coral Divers gazebo, ready for your use. Both air and nitrox cylinders are available for hire. The Beach Controller co-ordinates the launches and dives of the day and will inform you of the procedures to follow. Your Dive Master is also there to assist you and will brief the group with regards to diving with Coral Divers before setting out.
- Boats – Coral Divers uses 7.2 meter (21 foot) semi-rigid inflatable’s with twin outboard motors. They carry a maximum of 11 divers including the Dive Master, and have sufficient space for cameras and video equipment. Divers are to kit up in their wetsuits and assemble their gear before the boat launches. The equipment will then be secured into the boat by our beach crew, and the boat is then pushed off the sand into the water by the tractor and assisted by the divers. From here, the skipper navigates his way through the bay to the dive site. When the divers surface, the boat will pick them up and once all are on board, they return to shore.
- Emergencies – Medical oxygen is available on all the boats and under the Coral Divers gazebo for emergencies. Our staff are fully trained in the administration of Oxygen and First Aid and any emergencies will be handled by the Beach Manager.
- Equipment Assistance – Freelance Beach Assistants can be hired at our gazebo on the beach, to carry and wash your equipment. They are experienced in kitting up, reliable and trustworthy. The Beach Assistants will advise you the hire rate on arrival at the beach. You are not under obligation to make use of their services, but should you do so, please do ensure that you have the cash on hand and the correct change to pay them.
- Dive Excesses – These are supplement charges for the accessing of further reefs (i.e. 5, 7, 8 and 9 Mile Reefs) over and above the 2 Mile Reef price. These excesses are charged per person per dive.
5 Mile Reef dive sites are R25.00 above the 2 Mile Reef price.
7 Mile Reef dive sites are R40.00 above the 2 Mile Reef price.
8 Mile Reef dive sites are R45.00 above the 2 Mile Reef price.
9 Mile Reef dive sites are R50.00 above the 2 Mile Reef price.
- Dive Credits – A credit will be given for the remaining dives to individuals that were unable to complete their dives during their stay. These credits are non-refundable, non-transferable and valid for 1 year. We have no control over the weather and if we are unable to launch dive credits will be given.