South Africa Dive Sites - Umkomaas Dive Sites

Image - Umkomaas Dive Sites

South Sands

Shark Like North Sands, this site is home to a great number of rays, skates, sand-sharks and guitar-fish. There are some excellent spots on the outer edge of south sands, particularly the two ledges at 18m and 22m which are seldom dived but are worth exploring.
Location: On the south-eastern side of Aliwal Shoal.
Conditions: As this is on the south side of the reef, it is a good place to start a drift dive in a northerly current.
Average depth: 15m (50ft)
Maximum depth: 18m (60ft)


Raggie Cave and Shark Alley

This section of the reef has a good variety of tropical fish but is best known for housing groups of migratory spotted ragged-tooth sharks in winter. It is in danger of becoming over-dived as careless divers have, in the past, upset the sharks. When sharks are in the cave, they are resting and must not be disturbed. They should be observed from the sides and should never be approached too closely.
Access: By boat launched from Umkomaas River mouth.
Conditions: Take care when surgy.
Average depth: 14m (45ft)
Maximum depth: 16m (48ft)
Location: On the eastern edge of Aliwal Shoal.

Cathedral

This is a spectacular hole in the reef and is home to many large stingrays and moray eels. It is often visited by resting spotted ragged-tooth sharks. When the sharks are in the Cathedral, they are resting and are easily disturbed.
Location: On the eastern (outer) edge of Aliwal Shoal.
Access: By boat launched from Umkomaas River mouth.
Conditions: Should be dived very cautiously when there is surge.
Average depth: 77m (90ft)
Maximum depth: 28(93ft).

Manta Point

There are many shoaling fish here as well as the usual small and colourful tropical fish. There is a good chance of spotting a round ribbontail ray.
Location: North east of Aliwal Shoal.
Access: By launch from Umkomaas River mouth.
Conditions: This site should be avoided or dived very carefully in a strong surge, as there is a blowhole on the northern edge of the reef.
Average Depth: 18m
Maximum depth: 24m

Lionfish Hole

This is a crater in the pinnacle which almost always has a resident Lionfish, hence the name. The invertebrate life and small tropical fish are particularly beautiful.
Location: On the northern side of Aliwal Shoal.
Access: By boat from Umkomaas River mouth.
Conditions: This is a good stop to dive if the visibility is good as there is a variety of small marine life to be observed.
Average depth: 12m.
Maximum depth: 16m.

Tiger Cove

This area has lots of caves and overhangs and was named after the large colony of tiger cowries, which used to live there until they were stolen by souvenir-hungry divers. The inner edge has some pretty ledges at 18m and 22m and a drift dive along here in a northerly current can be very rewarding.
Location: About midway along the western (inner) edge of Aliwal Shoal
Access: By boat from Unkomaas river mouth
Conditions: A good spot to start a northerly drift dive on the inner edge.
Average depth: 14m
Maximum depth: 14m


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