Aliwal Shoal, Unkomaas, South Africa

What to see: Sharks, rays, turtles, morays and two wrecks. The shark species include ragged tooth, oceanic black tip, guitar, sand and tiger. It is possible to do baited dives and even cage „diving“ for non-divers.

Diving: Beach launch with Ribs (rigid inflatable boat), the boats are pushed in by the divers and launched through the waves to the open ocean. If the tide is right it is possible to launch from a river. The dive sites are around 15 to 20 minutes from shore.

Level: From entry-level to experienced diver, some of the amazing sites like Cathedral and the wrecks require at least an advanced certificate due to the depth.

Who should go there: Everyone who loves sharks and rays

How to get there: Flight to Durban and transfer to the resort (1 hour) or better a rental car to be more flexible/visit other destinations

Where to dive and stay: The dive shops Blue Ocean Dive Resort, Aliwal Dive Centre and Aliwal Shoal Scuba all offer packages to stay and dive with them.

Rates: Package for one night including breakfast and 2 dives starts at USD 85, two nights with 3 dives starts at USD 110. The longer you stay the cheaper it gets.

Climate: Can be chilly but dry in winter with temperatures between 12°C and 20°C and hot/humid in summer (20°C at night, over 30°C during the day)

Water temperature: up to 24°C in summer, down to 16°C in winter

Visibility: 5 to 40 m

Season: Diving is possible all year round while the marine life differes between the seasons
Jun-Nov: Ragged tooth sharks
Nov-Jan: Tiger sharks (mainly on baited dives)
Feb-April: Mantas, whale sharks and kingfish
May-July: Humpback whales passing through

Favorite dive sites: Raggies Cave for the ragged tooth sharks and to find shark teeth and cathedral


My trip:

I stayed and dived with Blue Ocean Dive Resort. This is a very professional and experienced operation. We had amazing guides and I can fully recommend them. One issue which I think is the same in all operations is the huge group size of up to 10 divers and that in case there is only one boat going out at a certain time and there is open water divers in the group it is not possible to visit the deeper sites.