Underwater paradise – the best diving in southern Africa

By Matt Tewhatu

Underwater paradise - the best diving in southern AfricaFrom vast plains to turquoise coloured waters and deserted, palm-tree lined beaches, southern Africa really offers it all to visitors on their tailor-made holiday. And while the region provides a lot for prospective visitors on land, it provides just as much for them off it.

It’s no secret that it’s location means that the southern tip is frequented by Great Whites but what else does the region offer in terms of aquatic adventures? Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of the best underwater spots in the region.

Mnemba Island, Tanzania

Located approximately 3km off the coast of Zanzibar, this private island is only accessible if visitors stay at the &Beyond luxury resort. And while it may be exclusive, it’s exclusivity means that it’s surroundings are basically untouched. The blue water and the calm sees allow for endless diving and snorkeling opportunities.

Cape Town, South Africa

Undoubtedly one of the most popular spots to get underwater. But don’t be fooled, the kind of activities here aren’t for the faint-hearted. Known as a popular location for Great White Sharks, the kind of deep sea diving offered in this part of the world is a little different to the ordinary. Put your diving equipment on, jump into a cage and get face to face with one of the most feared animals on the planet.


Barra, Mozambique

Attracting international recognition, Mozambique’s Manta Coast offers some of the most impressive diving spots in the world. The warm waters attract a variety of larger fish including Manta Ray, whaleshark, moray eels and giant lobster. The coral serves as a playground at myriads of small fish including schooling banner fish, Domino’s, Lion Fish, Octopus, Barred Sweetlips, Goldies, and Trigger Fish.

Zanzibar, Tanzania

What is unique about this area in particular is the significant number of underwater wrecks on what used to be the trade spice route to Asia. Combine this and the fact that the water is as blue as you’ve ever seen it and beaches that are as untouched as they were 100 years ago, visitors have an ideal diving spot. The area offers over 30 diving spots with a variety of abundant, vibrant, colourful corals and marine life.


The Great Sardine Run, South Africa 

It may not receive as much attention as the likes of the beaches in Tanzania and the shark diving in Cape Town but the migration of enormous shoals of the fish, millions strong and kilometres long up South Africa’s eastern coastline towards Mozambique is something really worth witnessing. One of the best places in the country to witness the migration is KwaZulu-Natal’s south coasts which is where visitors will find the diving town of Umkomaas. Once under water, divers will see that the fish aren’t alone as they are tracked by thousands of sharks, dolphins and game fish like tuna and bluefish.