Protea Banks, Shelly Beach, South Africa

What to see: Sharks! Raggedtooth, hammerhead, oceanic black tip, zambezi (bull), tiger shark, giant sand (guitar) sharks plus humpback whales passing through. It is possible to do baited dives as well (which I am not too fond of).

Diving: Beach launch with Ribs (ridgid inflatable boat), the boats are pushed in by the divers and launched through the waves to the open ocean. The dive sites are around 15 to 20 minutes from shore. Negative entry following the guide who carries a buoy. There is basically just one dive site which is the protected area of Protea Banks. The reef is deep and after a short stay on the reef the remaining dive time is spent in the blue.

Level: Advanced certified. The reef is on 30 to 35 m. Open water certified divers do have the chance to take a deep adventure dive first or do baited dives. Currents can be strong.

Who should go there: Shark lovers and people who do not mind some rough boat rides and entries as well as diving in blue water.

How to get there: Flight to Durban or Margate and transfer to the resort or rental car.

Where to stay: Afridive offers own accommodation in a diver villa or beach appartment. Some other accommodation is available in Shelly Beach. The costs are around ZAR 450 for self cathering to ZAR 1000 for bed and breakfast (USD 30 to 70).

Where to dive: Aqua Planet or Afridive, both are highly recommended.

Rates: The price per dive is ZAR 550 to 690 (USD 40 to 50) with own equipment, baited dives are more expensive (ZAR 1500 to 1750, USD 100 to 120)

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

Water temperature: up to 24°C in summer, down to 19°C in winter

Visibility: 4 to 40 m

Season: Diving is possible all year round, depending on the season different sharks are around; Tiger sharks Jan-Jun, hammerheads Sept-Jan in huge schools, raggedtooth shark May-Nov, giant sand sharks (guitar sharks) Oct-Jan, the humpback whales are passing through in Jun-Nov, oceanic black tips and zambezis (bull sharks) are around all year round.

Favorite dive sites: Protea Banks

My trip:

I flew to Durban and did get a ride to Protea Banks. Due to the high costs of transfers I would recommend to fly to Margate and/or rent a car. I stayed at Emerald Cove for ZAR 600 per night self cathering. I can highly recommend this accommodation with the most friendly owner, a pool, a gate to the beach and nice rooms. I was diving with Aqua Planet. A very professional and fun operation I can fully recommend. The guides are experienced and make sure you get close to the sharks. The skipper was amazing and I felt extremely save launching through the waves, he knew exactly where to go through.