Cape Town Dive Sites

Sunny Cove

Average Depth: 8 m

Maximum Depth: 12 m

Entry Type: Shore entry

Site description: There are many easy entry and exit sites here. This is a sheltered site and is often calm and clear when everywhere else is less pleasant to dive.

What to look out for: Small dog sharks, soles buried in the sand, feather stars, starfish, small red and black sea cucumbers on the rocks, juvenile fish and pipefish. There are also many different nudibranchs to be found here. Sea horses have also been spotted hiding in the sea grass but you’ll need to be very patient and have a sharp eye to find them! Divers have also encountered great whites at Sunny Cove and there is also a chance of coming close up and personal with humpback whales as they pass this site often during the winter months.

 

Quarry

Average Depth: 7 m

Maximum Depth: 10 m

Entry Type: Shore entry

Site description: This site is opposite the Glencairn Quarry. Entry is a giant leap off the end of a rock outcrop. Best dived when sea conditions are calm, and you will need to time your exits and entries well.

What to look out for: Rocky gullies leading out to sea. As this is a relatively shallow dive, the colours are stunning and this is a really great spot for photography. Marine life is extremely diverse – we have spotted bull rays, Spanish dancers swimming in the open water, scorpion fish and many different types of nudibranchs, hermit and sponge crabs on the sea fans. We are also usually followed around by fish here and can spot seals at this dive site.

 

Roman Rock

Average Depth: 15 m

Maximum Depth: 25m

Entry Type: Boat dive

Site description: This is a huge rock opposite Simon’s Town and marked by a lighthouse. This site is not often dived and is therefore quite well preserved.

What to look out for: Seals often accompany you on this dive. There is a large cave about 150 meters away from the rock, filled with redbait, colourful soft corals, sea fans and sea urchins. Large fish such as Red Roman and Galjoen have also made this site their home and the marine life is really quite prolific.

 

Windmill Beach

Average Depth: 6 m

Maximum Depth: 8 m

Entry Type: Shore entry

Site Description: This is a popular training site for new divers as it is usually very calm and sheltered. As it is quite shallow, there can be a bit of a surge on the seaward side of the rocks.

What to look out for: Search the nooks and crannies amongst the rocks and you might come across pieces of old porcelain from one of the many wrecks in False Bay. Spider crabs are camouflaged between the kelp and red and green seaweed and you can spot many orange and black sea cucumbers,frilled and gas flame nudibranchs on the boulders as well as shy sharks and pyjama sharks hiding in the small gullies. Quite a lot of juvenile fish on this dive too. There is also a nice kelp forest to swim through where you can spot feather stars, brittle stars and colourful sea urchins and anemones.

 

A Frame

Average Depth: 9m

Maximum Depth: 15m

Entry Type: Shore entry

Site Description: Entry is quite easy (although can be very slippery, so watch out when the sea is a bit rough). This is a very nice dive site and great for night dives.

What to look out for: A huge variety of colourful plant and sea life here. Soft corals, sponges, sea anemones, loads of types of nudibranchs including blue and orange gas flame nudibranchs, brittle stars and feather stars Many overhangs and nooks and crannies to be investigated. We usually spot many fish such as Red Roman and Hottentot and lots of pyjama and shy sharks. Pipe fish, soles and rays can also found here if you look closely. There is a lovely swim through and a cave in the rock that gives the dive site its name.

 

Spaniard Rock

Average Depth: 8 m

Maximum Depth: 12 m

Entry Type: Shore entry

Site Description: A short but quite steep climb is required down to the entry point. Can be quite surgey when a swell is running in the bay, so dive here when the sea is calm. After entering the water, swim for about 80 metres in the direction of the large rock and descend.

What to look out for: Beautiful, brightly coloured orange and red sponges for which the site is named. Many fish including Red Roman, Janbruin, Galjoen and Hottentot. Feather stars, soft corals, sea fans, colourful sea anemones and nudibranchs, pyjama shark and puffadder shy sharks.

 

Pietermaritzburg

Average Depth: 18 m (deck)

Maximum Depth: 20 (sand)

Entry Type: Boat dive

About the Wreck: The Pietermaritzburg (fondly known by divers as “The PMB)” was formerly known as the HMS Pelorus. She was built in Scotland as a minesweeper for the Royal Navy and launched in June 1943. During World War 2, she was assigned to escort convoys in the Atlantic and lead the D-Day invasion of Normandy in 1944. HMS Pelorus was sold to the South African navy in 1947 and renamed the SAS Pietermaritzburg. After seeing active service (her final being used as a naval barracks in Simon’s Town harbour), she was scuttled in 1994 to form an artificial reef. She lies in an area quite open to the currents and broke into three pieces during a storm a few years ago. The parts are close together and still recognisable.

What to look out for: The PMB is covered with colourful marine life which includes anemones, sea urchins and soft corals. There are also quite a lot of Red Roman that have made this wreck their home.

 

Castle Rock

Average Depth: 8 m

Maximum Depth: 15 m

Entry Type: Shore entry

Site Description: This dive site is situated in a marine reserve and is really quite unspoilt with a large array of marine life and fish.

What to look out for: Prolific, colourful marine life, with an abundance of colour. Huge blue sea anemones, beautifully coloured sea urchins, kelp forests, sea fans, nudibranchs, crayfish, colourful soft corals, shy sharks and gully sharks (we’ve also spotted ragged toothed sharks here). Fish life includes Red Roman, Hottentot and Stump Nose. Lots of common octopus hiding under the rocks and in crannies, cuttlefish, stripy brittlestars, feather stars, sponges – the list goes on and there is always something new to see on every dive here. We’ve had some fantastic night dives here too.

 

Outer Castle

Average Depth: 15 m

Maximum Depth: 22 m

Entry Type: Boat dive

Site Description: This is a series of large boulders surrounding a very large boulder which breaks the surface at low tide (known as Outer Castle). There are lots of swim throughs at this dive site, with the largest being below Outer Castle Rock itself.

What to look out for: A really beautiful dive and definitely one of our favourites. Lots of red bait, feather stars, colourful sea urchins, sea anemones, starfish, brittle stars and nudibranchs including gasflame and frilled nudibranchs. We have spotted yellowtail here as well as gully sharks, large rays, electric rays and many big fish such as Janbruin, Red Roman and Butterfish (Twotone Fingerfin) in the main swim through.

 

Pyramid Rock

Average Depth: 8 m

Maximum Depth: 12 m

Entry Type: Boat and shore entry

Site Description: A pyramid-shaped rock just North of Castle Rock. This is a really exciting and interesting dive site. Fantastic underwater topography with many interesting swim throughs and overhangs.

What to look out for: A very popular kelp forest dive probably due to the possibility of seeing Spotted Sevengill Cow Sharks, Gully Sharks, Pyjama Sharks and Shy Sharks. There are many submerged rocks and swim throughs. Lots and lots of soft corals, brain sponges, white cauliflower sponges, octopi and rays. Many reasonably-sized reef fish such as Red Roman, Galjoen, Hottentot and Janbruin can also be found here.

 

Partridge Point

Average Depth: 15m

Maximum Depth: 20m

Entry Type: Boat dive

Site Description: A fantastic dive site consisting of a huge boulder surrounded by smaller boulders. Many beautiful swim throughs and caverns of varying sizes usually filled with soft corals, sea urchins, feather stars, orange sea cucumbers, sea anemones and larger fish such as Janbruin and Galjoen. Pipefish are also usually spotted on this dive.

What to look out for: There are many Cape Fur Seals at this site and it is great fun to watch their antics as they swim alongside you throughout the dive. Some of the braver seals will descend in front of you with their faces close to yours as they look straight into your eyes and blow bubbles in your face (probably as you will be doing this to them!). As you kit up on the boat, you will see quite a number of them sunning themselves on the huge boulder nearby. Hopefully you’re downwind of the rock, as you could have your breath taken away from you by the pong…

 

Batsata Rock

Average Depth: 18m

Maximum Depth: 30m

Entry Type: Boat dive

Site Description: This dive site is on the furthest (Southern) side of Smitswinkel Bay. This is a large rock that comes up to 5m below the surface. There are huge gullies and pinnacles here.

What to look out for: The marine life is very prolific here and the rocks are covered with redbait, soft corals, sponges, huge sea fans with basket stars and sponge crabs. We often encounter seals here and have spotted great whites on very rare occasions.

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