The Top Dive Sites in Ponta do’Ouro, Mozambique (Part 1)

There are many fantastic dive sites in Ponta do’Ouro, Mozambique.  The reefs range in depth from 10m at Crèche to 47m at Atlantis and the diverse and plentiful marine life you will find here is amazing.

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The reefs comprise boulders and fossilised sandstone covered in soft coral, hard coral, sponges and invertebrates.  Marine life ranges from the tiniest shrimps to beautiful nudibranchs, leaf fish, scorpion fish, lion fish, trigger fish, surgeon fish, eels, frog fish, potato bass (groupers),  dolphins, mantas, turtles and whale sharks.

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Here’s a run-down of some of our favourite dive sites, in order of proximity to the launch site at Ponta do’Ouro.

Atlantis:

The depth of this 300m long reef is between 38m and 47m.  Atlantis is for experienced divers with an advanced or deep diving qualification only and as it is 3km from the shore, currents can be quite strong.  Topography along the edges of this reef is very interesting with drop-offs and boulders on the sand.  Black coral, green tree coral and huge nudibranchs are found here and there has been the occasional shark sighting too.

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Doodles:

Doodles is a short 10 minute boat ride from the beach.  Depth ranges between 15m and 17m. Marine life is very diverse and plentiful here and includes a variety of game fish, moray eels, mantis shrimp, octopus, potato bass and rays.  The reef is sandstone covered with soft coral, sponges and hard coral. At times, this reef can be invaded by so many maasbanker, scad and small pelagic fish that you can’t see the reef for all the fish. This abundance of food attracts various game fish and shark species to the reef.

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Steve’s Ledge:

This long, thin reef is an extension of Steps and ranges in depth from 14m to 19m.  Here you will find anemones which are home to clownfish, anemone crabs and shrimps.  A number of the rock cod or grouper family frequent this reef and other fish life includes blue banded snappers, goatfish, trumpet fish and angel fish.  Game fish patrol the inside of this whole reef system and king mackerel and green job fish have also been seen here.

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Checkers:

The depth at Checkers is between 15m and 18m and the variety of fish species is astounding.  Clouds of blue-banded snappers, sea goldies and yellow back fusiliers greet the diver on arrival and frogfish and the elusive pineapple fish have also been spotted here. Rays are frequent visitors, while butterfly fish play on the reef, spade and batfish pass overhead.

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Steps:

The depth at steps ranges between 13m on the top, cascading into a variety of overhangs and cracks at 16m on the sand. This reef is quite thin (10m to 20m wide), and runs for about 4km along the inside of the bay.  Due to its length, it is ideal to dive this reef on days when the current is strong.  Natal knife jaw, cave bass, green job fish and leaf fish are just some of the species you will find here. Blue spotted and brown ribbon tail rays lie basking in the sand while the odd devil ray can be seen swimming along the fringes of the reef. Although this is a sandstone reef, a variety of coral and sponges have made this reef their home.

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Crèche:

Crèche gets its name from the abundance of juvenile fish found here. The average depth here is 12m, with shallower sections of the reef coming up to 10m.  The reef comprises different sized boulders and rocks on a sandy bottom. Fish life includes potato bass, crocodile fish, scorpion fish and green job fish and ragged-tooth sharks have also been spotted here. The shallow depth and proximity to land makes this reef best dived when the swell is not running.

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We love diving in Ponta do’Ouro and take a group of divers to this special Mozambiquan diving destination every year, usually at the end of May.  If you’d like to join us on our next trip, please contact us.

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