Sodwana Bay is said to be South Africa’s premier dive destination and one of the top ten dive sites in the world. We would say it is the best on this planet but we are biased!
What makes Sodwana Bay special?
Sodwana has undoubtedly the best coral reefs in South Africa, These reefs are of the most southerly coral reefs in the world and are fed by warm water sweeping South by the mighty Algulhas Current.
There are no rivers entering the sea for 100km on either side of us, no silt, sediment, nutrients or pollution.
Corals need a firm base to grow on and 2, 5, 7 and 9 mile are all solidified dunes from previous lower sea levels providing a perfect base for coral growth, add to this the fact that there are many canyons close to the shoreline which effectively intercept sand and dump it in the deeper waters instead of washing it onto the reef system. All of these factors create perfect conditions for coral growth.
Sodwana Bay is part of a World heritage Site There’s no other place in the world with a comparable ecological footprint. Within the park which covers 332 000 hectares you can find no less than eight interlinking ecosytems, 25 000 year old coastal dunes, more than 2000 plant species, 100 types of butterfly, five turtle species, the top frog count in the country and 526 bird species. Wild dog, buffalo, oribi, cheetah, black and white rhino, lions and some of the largest Tusker elephants in South Africa can all be found in South Africa’s first World Heritage Site.
When elephants were reintroduced to the park in 2001, Nelson Mandela made a speech and aptly said:
‘The Wetland Park must be the only place on the globe where the world’s oldest mammal (the rhinoceros) and the world’s biggest mammal (the elephant) share an eco-system with the world’s oldest fish (the coelacanth) and the world’s biggest marine mammal (the whale).’
Did I mention the divine sub tropical climate ensuring good diving conditions all year round? Average water temperature is 26 degrees with the lowest 21 degrees and highest 29 degrees!
And now about the diving...
Sodwana Bay has many reef systems with recreational dive sites ranging from 12 to 40 metres and amazing canyon dives for the tech divers among us. Each dive site is different, there are around 20 spots on 2 mile reef from sandy macro dives to big coral caves and overhangs. Certain dive sites have insane schools of fish, some are juvenile reefs and some are fields and fields of amazing soft and hard corals. We have quarter mile reef a sandy, spongey reef full up with game fish and turtles. Four mile with its plate coral stacked like a teddy bears picnic, Five Mile, Six Mile with the densest fish population like being in an aquarium, Seven Mile with its dramatic cliffs, swim throughs, colourful thistle corals and big schools of snappers, Eight Mile Ramseys Ledge has both macro and stunning topography and by no means last Nine Mile reef with a big green coral tree, caves and swim throughs. Did I mention the canyon dives? Diep Gat Canyon drop off starts around 45 metres and then drops down in levels, with a monstrous green tree stacked on top of what look like massive fallen dominoes, it’s like another world. If you have the qualifications to go below 40m we will take you there as specialists in technical diver training.
Because of all of these contributing factors, not to mention Sodwana being an active Marine Protected Area with strict rules on fishing and conservation plus huge marine sanctuary areas both North and South of the Bay which are literally no go zone we are fortunate to have a huge diversity of marine life to be seen on one of our many dive sites. Apart from pristine coral reefs you can see anything from tiny shrimps and decorator crabs to paper fish, pipe fish, many species of scorpion fish, over 400 documented species of nudibranchs and sea horses. Across two mile reef on average, every 50 m, a diver will see 201 fish within a 5 m radius and on the shallower parts of the reef that number goes up to 281. Our larger species include brindle bass, potato bass, marbled leopard groupers, many different species of Rays including the majestic Manta Rays, whitetips, black tips, duskys, zebra shark, sand shark, spotted sand tigers, bull, tiger and even occasional great white sharks can be spotted. There are 5 turtle species and the leatherbacks and loggerheads nest on this impressive coastline up to Mozambique. During the winter months the humpback whales migrate past the Bay and in the summer months the pregnant Ragged Tooth Sharks gestate on quarter mile reef.
As for TRITON DIVE LODGE:
Triton is one of the longest operating dive concession in Sodwana. We specialise in tech diving and logistical support for scientists and film crews, exploration dives to discover lesser dived areas and we know all the reefs like the back of our hands. Staff are hand trained to give knowledgeable briefings and interpretations of what you will see on your dives using our reference books on the beach. Triton is a unique rustic lodge with wooden walkways amongst the trees, its heart is a huge braii where all of our visitors socialise, we have a honeymoon shower and romantic Victorian bathroom under the stars, comfortable accommodation to fit any pocket and licenced bar, restaurant and swimming pool.
This is a top class destination for people who want an adventure. Africa is vast and wild but the standard of life here is unbeatable if you enjoy the outdoors, safaris, swapping tales in the evenings by an open fire and the best diving on the planet. There is something about this lands rich beautiful tapestry of burnt ochres and diverse stark landscapes that make you feel that you are truly living your life.