South Africa Dive Sites - Southwestern Cape Dive Sites

Image - Southwestern Cape Dive Sites

The Eastern Shore of False Bay

This stretch of scenic and rugged coastline on the slopes of the Hottentots Holland mountains between Gordon’s Bay and Rooiels, is best dived in summer after a south-easterly wind. The water temperature usually ranges from 14-16ºC (57-62ºF) but can drop to 11 or 12ºC (52 or 54F). Visibility averages from 6-8m (20-25ft) but can be up to 20m (65ft) on a good day.
The entire area offers excellent scuba diving and snorkelling, best done from a boat as the mountainside is very steep, making shore entries tricky and quite strenuous. There are some good crayfishing and perlemoen spots, the best of which are found at the eastern extreme of the region near Cape Hangklip.

Steenbras Deep

The pinnacle starts at 17m (55ft) and is covered with seafans, big sponges and other invertebrate life. There are plenty of fish to see and due to the conditions is best for experienced divers only.
Access: The best launching spot is Gordon’s Bay Harbour. Travel on 265o for about 11.5km (7miles) and then start searching with an echo-sounder.
Conditions: Because of its depth it can be dived in a moderate swell, but can be very surgy and choppy in a south-westerly wind.
Maximum depth: 30m (100ft).
Location: 34o12,64’S; 18o45,50’E, approximately 6km (4miles) off the mouth of the Steenbras River.

Outer Castle

This is a great dive spot where you may see larger rays, gulley sharks and even yellowtail when they are running. The reef life is very colouful and abundant. There is an air filled cave at the bottom of the rock and divers sometimes surface in it for a chart. This is fun but keep your regulator to hand as the quality of the air is dubious.
Location: To the edge of Castle Rocks
Access: Some of the tougher local divers consider this a shore dive, but it involves a very long swim and you must be careful of ski-boats. It is best done as a boat dive from Miller’s point.
Condition: This site is exposed but is calm at depth or after a north west wind has blown and flattened the sea.
Average depth: 15m.
Maximum depth: 22m.

Whittle Rock

The rock rises to within 3m.of the surface and covers a large area so the best way to dive it is to look for a likely looking pinnacle on the echo sounder or fish finder. The invertebrate life is very colourful and almost unspoilt as the area is not dived too often. It is an exciting dive and quite a few divers have seen a great white cruising part.
Location: On right out in the bay
Access: From Kalk Bay harbour. It is marked by a metal buoy. It is worth noting that there are a number of great white sharks in the area so divers should kit up properly in the boat and descend as soon as they hit the water as it is not wise to hung around on the surface.
Condition: It is usually fairly clear and only has surge if there is a very big ground swell running.
Average depth: Whatever you want.
Maximum depth: 35m.

Batsanta Rock

Batsanta Rock is a large blinder that comes to within approximately 6m of the surface. The rock creates dramatic under water scenery with pinnacles and deep gullies. Fish life is prolific and typical of the False Bay waters, and the rocks are covered with lush and colorful marine growth.
This is an excellent site for a multi level dive as it slopes gently from 30m and there is a large interesting flat surface at 6m. It is also a very popular spear fishing sport, but beware of sharks.
Location: On the southern end of Smitswinjkel bay
Access: By boat launched from Miller’s point or Kalk bay harbor
Average depth: Whatever you want
Maximum depth: 30m.

The Wrecks of Smitswinkel Bay

Five wrecks were scuttled by the navy in the early 1970’s to form an artificial reef which has proved to be a success and now teems with a variety of fish and other marine life. These wrecks are the SAS Transvaal, and the SAS Good Hope, both former navy frigates, Rockeater, a diamond dredger and two fishing trawlers, the Princess Elizabeth and the Oratava.
Location: In the middle of Smitswinkel Bay.
Access: These wrecks are best reached by boat launched from Kalk bay, Miller’s point or Simon’s town. They are situated approximately 4km from Miller’s point
Condition: it is usually calm as the bay is sheltered and the depth dampens the effect of even quite a large swell.
Average depth: 35m.
Maximum depth: 40m.