General Notes

South Africa is a country blessed with a plethora of natural beauty. The rolling grasslands of the Lowveld host numerous nature reserves, including one of the most renowned conservation areas in the world, the Kruger National Park. The Drakensburg Mountains extend for hundreds of kilometres and contain some of the most serene, if not sublime, scenes on the African continent. The rustic, rural Eastern Cape is still a Romantic landscape where herders lead livestock around a pristine country side to feed on the gifts of Mother Nature. More dramatic, but no less beautiful than the idyllic Eastern Cape, are the Cape Fold Mountains found, primarily, in the Western Cape.

In addition to all of the above, South Africa has 3000 km of shoreline to add to the “must see” list. The nation’s coast runs all the way from the Orange River border with Namibia down to the Western Cape, and then moves in an easterly direction along the Transkei, South Coast and East Coast, and finally borders with Mozambique close to Kosi Bay.

The warm waters of the Mozambican current run down the eastern side of the African continent, and by the time the current reaches South Africa’s South Coast, this tropical/subtropical body of water becomes the Agulhus current. Running past its namesake, Cape Agulhus, it collides with the polar current transporting cold water from Antarctic regions up the west coast of Africa at Cape Point. The general region where the two oceans meet is an area of intense organic activity as, in a broad sense, two macro ecosystems converge giving rise to intense inter-ecosystem activity. This rich variety and complexity of aquatic life makes this area a favourite amongst divers, and tourism geared towards scuba diving is thus a flourishing industry.

Given the fact that the Atlantic Ocean is a cold water body, it is recommended that a dry suit be worn by divers. On the other hand, the Indian Ocean contains warm waters so a wet suit should suffice for scuba activity. Both the Indian and Atlantic Oceans contain great spots for diving owing to the marine life and underwater landscapes. Apart from the sweeping oceans and stretching shoreline, there are coastal reefs, deep caves, sinkholes, dams, and quarries where scuba divers can explore underwater environments.

The relationship between divers and the aquatic environment should be a matter of some debate as it is imperative that scuba divers respect the environment and intervene on it in as slight a way as is possible. Divers should avoid moving crustaceans, interfering with fish species’ activities and with the normal functioning of the marine ecosystem. In other words, marine life should be protected, and the environs should be left in the condition in which it was found. Even small interactions with a balanced ecosystem can affect its functioning, and with so many areas being affected by pollution, the systems that remain should be seen as being precious.

An advantage to living and diving in South Africa is that there is a wide variety of choice when it comes to picking a professionally operated guided diving expedition. These companies frequently offer supervised tours of great spots, which means that you not only get to see some of the best sights the ocean has to offer, but you are also protected from harm by trained professionals being on hand should something go awry. Happy Diving!