Coral Seas South Africa & Mozambique Camping

14 day


Summary of this 14 day Coral Seas Camping Dive Safari tour:

  • Accommodation: Camping, Hotel.
  • Activities: 2 dives at the Protea Banks, 2 dives at the Aliwal Shoal, 5 dives at Ponta do Ouro, 5 dives at Sodwana Bay, 2 game viewing drives at Hluhluwe Game Reserve.
  • Destinations: Durban, Protea Banks, Aliwal Shoal, Sodwana Bay, Hluhluwe Game Reserve, (South Africa), Ponta do Ouro, (Southern Mozambique).

What you can expect from this 14 day Coral Seas South Africa and Mozambique Camping Safari tour:

Spend 14 days along the stunning Indian Ocean coastline of South Africa and Southern Mozambique and dive 3 internationally recognised sites at Protea Banks, Aliwal Shoal and Sodwana Bay. A mix of stunning tropical reefs at Sodwana and the Sharks of Protea and Aliwal. The coastline of KwaZulu-Natal is a holiday playground with so many things to see and do, not to mention the big draw card of Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino.

Further north you venture into the tropical wilderness of Southern Mozambique and to one of the best, undiscovered dive destination in the world, Ponta do Ouro. Whales, Dolphins, manta Rays, Whale Sharks and the rare and endangered Dugong await, along with countless species of Fish, Corals and other marine life. Eco-beach camps, thick groves of palm trees that line snow white beaches and crystal clear waters will be your home for a few days as the fast pace of life is left behind in this idyllic 'Robinson Crusoe' setting on this Mozambique safari tour.


Day 1: Durban

On the first day, clients should meet at the Albany Hotel in Durban. A pre-departure meeting will be held at 6 pm to introduce you to the your guides and give you a chance to get to know your fellow travellers on the dive tour. The meeting will cover all the aspects of the tour.

Please bring with you evidence of medical and personal insurance and passports with all relevant visas. If you have any questions regarding arrival prior to the tour, please contact Dive Wild. If you are unable to attend the pre-departure meeting, please contact DiveWild at least one week prior to your departure. Overnight: Albany Hotel.

Albany Hotel, 225 Smith Street, Durban
Tel:031 304 4381, Fax: 031 307 1411

Days 2 & 3: Protea Banks

After breakfast transfer to Shelley Beach, which is your dive centre for the next 2 days. Protea Bank is home to the Tiger, Zambezi, Hammerhead and Ragged Tooth Sharks. There is also an abundance of game fish resident in this area; it is not a dive for the faint hearted. Their breeding season is from July to December. These sites also include many hard Corals, tropical Fish and 2 interesting wrecks. Overnight: Camping. Breakfast & Dinner Blue Seas

Caravan Park
Tel: + 27 (0) 39 315-1049

Protea Banks: The Dive

The Pinnacles: Depth 30m - 40m

This is an ideal area for nitrox diving and has a magnificent topography. This part of the reef is only dived in winter during the Raggie season. The reef is virtually untouched and undamaged. It has 2 large cave systems, which are used by the ragged tooth Sharks as resting zones on their annual migration and congregation route. On a good day a diver can encounter up to 200 Sharks in an area smaller than half a rugby field. The dive starts at the large cave, looking in from the top and observing Raggies interacting peacefully with each other.

Often the caves are so full of Sharks that you can hardly see the bottom. You should respect their resting zone by merely observing and not disturbing them. You then pass the tunnel, which you can swim through if Sharks do not occupy it, swim past the coral garden and get to the second cave. If there are no Raggies in the caves, it is fun to explore the chambers, looking for Sharks' teeth, which are generally plentiful. This is the only souvenir you are allowed to remove from the reef. As spring becomes summer, large shoals of hammerhead Sharks frequent this part of the reef.

The Southern Pinnacles: Depth 26 - 40m

This area is home to the Zambezi Shark (bull Shark), which is what Protea Banks was initially famous for. From October - May, some very large specimens can be encountered here. In the beginning of the Zambezi season, they tend to keep a safe distance from the divers, which get reduced as time goes on. As they get more inquisitive and used to divers underwater they can get really close...ideal to take that award-winning photo.

Scalloped hammerhead Sharks are also seen shoaling at this time and as many as several hundred can swim by on a good dive. You start the dive at the southern cave, which is abuzz with all sorts of game and reef fish, often so thick that it is hard to see one's buddy. Thereafter you reach kingfish gully, an overhanging rock, which is home to large shoals of Kingfish, Yellowtail, Kaakap, and sea pike Tunny, potato Bass and many more species.

The current then takes you to a large sandy patch called sand Shark gully. It lies at exactly 40m depth and is home to the giant guitar Shark. Sometimes you see them lined up like planes at an airport. To find 50 or 60 of these magnificent creatures is not uncommon. Your NAUI accredited operators constantly strive to maintain the highest possible standard of safety and professionalism. The boat always carries medical oxygen as well as all First Aid and Safety Equipment. Before each dive we do an extensive briefing with all people involved.

Safety

Diving Protea Banks is not an everyday event. Due to the depth of up to 35m, the often-strong current and the large Sharks we can encounter here, it is important that the diver is well trained, experienced and confident.

The minimum requirements to dive with us are:

  • 20 logged dives as qualified Scuba Diver or
  • Advanced qualification and
  • Must have dived recently within the last six month

1. Due to the deep diving depth of 30m to 35m it is important that the diver is experienced and confident. At this depth the diver can initially experience nitrogen narcosis. It is imperative that the diver stays calm and controlled at any stage of the dive and avoids a rapid ascent to the surface. Your highly experienced dive masters do an extensive pre-dive briefing on all possible and actual aspects of the dive. During the dive, they keep a constant eye on everybody in the group.

2. Diving in current is fun and a convenient way to cover a large distance with very little effort. The dive master carries a buoy line with a reel and a buoy floating on the water's surface. The boat follows this buoy and picks up each diver as he ascends to the surface.

If the current is very strong, we use our very own 'Elephant Walk ' system where every diver holds on to one leg of another diver. The first diver holds on to the dive master's leg who gets pulled by the buoy on the surface. Every diver must carry a Surface Marker Buoy, which is to be inflated if the boat should not spot the surfaced diver immediately.

The Dive Profile

The dive begins at 30m to 32m depths and generally doesn't drop to more than 35m on the Southern Pinnacles. On the Northern Pinnacles, the maximum depth will be 38m in the first cave and 35m in the second cave. According to the actual multilevel profile, which will be dived, the no stop bottom time is approximately 16 minutes on the Southern and 13 minutes on the Northern Pinnacles.

When the bottom time is up, you start to ascend to mid-water where you often see the big Zambezi's, Hammerheads, and Blacktips etc. You spend about 5 - 7 minutes at 18m, ascend to 15m for about 10 min and spend another 10 - 15 minutes at 10m and 5m.

Your minimum dive time is 30 minutes and your maximum dive time 45 minutes, all depending on how interesting the mid-water area is. You dive to computer limits. Every diver is responsible for his / her own maximum depth and his bottom time. If the diver stays with the dive master at all times he can be sure that the dive will be without deco stop obligation.

Days 4 & 5 - Aliwal Shoals

Early on day 4 you will be transferred up the coast for approximately 1 hour, to Umkomaas, gateway to the Aliwal Shoal where you will spend 2 days diving on this famous reef. From July to November, the ragged tooth Sharks are on the shoal in abundance, as they annually migrate to the shoal, which is their preferred resting ground. Dolphins are very frequently seen at the shoal, and both Dolphins and Whales on the launches. The shoal is home to over 1200 species of Fish, as well as Turtles, rays, mantas, Angelfish and Butterfly Fish.

Apart from Raggies, there is other lesser-known sharks on the shoal. Occasional sightings include great whites, Tigers, white tips and whale Sharks. The reef offers varied, spectacular and thrilling diving where no two dives are the same. There is an abundance of hard and soft coral, stunning coral Fish and sponges to be seen, but the greatest attraction for divers must surely be the concentration of ragged-tooth Sharks. The Sharks offer fantastic photo opportunities, as one may approach very close, but divers should always keep in mind that Sharks are some of the most unpredictable creatures on earth and care must be taken not to aggravate or provoke them.

Shoals of hammerhead sharks have been sighted on Aliwal in the past. Whale Sharks are quite common, and an absolute pleasure to see. Apart from these awe-inspiring creatures, there are also big sea Turtles, huge potato bass, and game Fish such as Kingfish, Wahoo and Tunny to be seen on the reef. The Aliwal Shoal depth ranges from 9m to a maximum depth of 27m, with a visibility of anything between 2m to 30m+. The average sea temperature is 24 and almost never falls below 20 c.

Chosen partners are PADI and NAUI accredited operators. They operate seven-meter rubber ducks that can carry up to 12 divers comfortably. Full safety gear and oxygen is carried on board and constant radio contact with the dive shop and other boats is maintained. Experienced, qualified skippers and competent dive-masters run the boats and dives.

The dive centre has fully serviced dive equipment available for hire. Situated at the dive centre, a restaurant provides breakfast, lunch and dinner in a casual relaxed atmosphere, on a wooden deck overlooking the Indian Ocean. Discuss the days diving while enjoying succulent prawns, juicy steaks or a fresh crispy salad. Savour the warm sub-tropical evening with one of our exotic cocktails or cap the day with an Irish coffee, before you retire to dream of the riches of the underwater kingdom. Overnight: Camping. Breakfast & Dinner.

Widenham Holiday Resort
Tel: + 27 (0) 39 973-0351
Fax: + 27 (0) 39 973-0923

Day 6: Southern Mozambique: Ponta do Oura

Depart Umkomaas after breakfast and drive north into Southern Mozambique. You will take a leisurely drive, enjoying the scenery en route and arriving in the late afternoon. Overnight: Camping. Breakfast & Dinner

Fontainebleau, 2032, Gauteng, Republic Of South Africa
Tel: +27 11 678 0972/3, Fax: +27 11 678 0970

Days 7 & 8: Diving at Ponta do Ouro

5 dives are included over the next 2 days. The coastline is saturated with the most beautiful and unspoilt hard and soft corals, home to a bewildering variety of game and reef Fish, potato and brindle Bass, Turtles, Dolphins, Whales, Sharks and Rays. Extremely good underwater visibility conditions normally prevalent in this area allow these views to be exploited to the full by aspirant scuba divers.

Most of these reefs have remained untouched; scuba diving in this area is therefore, without question, some of the finest scuba diving available in Southern Africa. The regular dive sights are all 10 - 40 metres in depth and therefore cater toa full range of divers from 'Open Water 1' through 'Advanced' to 'Master' divers. During the peak seasons, night dives are also available to the more advanced and adventurous divers. Overnight: Camping. Breakfast & Dinner

Ponta do Ouro

Just a few kilometres across the border from South Africa you will discover 2 of Africa's newest and best scuba diving vacation destinations, Ponta do Ouro and Ponta Malongane. Rustic camps and beach chalets, surrounded by huge swaying coconut palms and the Indian Ocean just yards away give you the chance to experience a true 'Robinson Crusoe' lifestyle while still enjoying the highest standards of dive facilities and service.

Towering dunes clad in indigenous forest overlook kilometres of sun drenched, deserted pure white beaches, crystal clear seas and 22 virtually untouched coral reefs that promise some of the best diving of your life. Scattered around the protected bay are reefs, gullies and caves between 10m and 40m depths, making it possible for all certification levels to dive here. Average visibility is 30-40m and water temperatures vary from 22 to 26 degrees C. Whale Sharks and Dolphins are common sightings. Game fish abound, potato Bass, Scorpion Fish, Turtles, Rays, big Grouper, humpback Whales and of course tropical Fish in their millions.

Ponta do Ouro Dive Camp - PADI International 5 Star Gold Palm Resort

The accommodation at the dive camp consists of large dome tents. All tents are shaded under reed structures, and all have 2 beds, fully equipped with mattresses, sheets, pillows and duvets. Meandering walkways link all tents to the dining and kitchen area, the dive kit-up mat and the enclosed ablution facility.

All scuba gear is washed for you, by our well-trained staff, and hung up within the grounds of the dive camp . There is also a small swimming pool for scuba training and evening cocktails. For guests staying in the dive camp, we offer excellent value-for-money catered packages. Guests are required to bring their own drinks, beach and bath towels, sun creams, anti-mosquito repellants and a torch.

Diving

The Dive Boats used at the dive camp are the latest 7m and 8m long Zodiac/Rubber Ducks, and are fully equipped to comfortably suit groups of up to 16 divers. Launches are all beach launches with all divers helping to push the boats into the calm waters of the bay. Emergency oxygen is available to take on all boats, and is available in the Dive Camp. Our compressor station offers 232 Bar and 300 Bar air-fills. We also have a Nitrox/Enriched Air facility for suitably qualified divers.

A full range of scuba and snorkeling equipment is available for hire. The dive sites visited range in depths from 10m to 40m in depth, and 1km to 12km in distance from the launch site. After diving, all equipment is washed by our well-trained staff, and stored in the secure grounds of the dive camp, ready for your next dive. All divers must present proof of their diving qualification upon arrival.

Day 9: Sodwana Bay

Depart after breakfast, traveling south, crossing the border into South Africa and head towards Sodwana Bay. You should arrive in Sodwana Bay in time to enjoy sundowners this afternoon. Our chosen operator is a PADI 5 Star Gold Palm IDC centre, situated in Sodwana Bay. Lying within the boundaries of The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site, Sodwana Bay provides the travelling diver with a vast array of unspoilt coral reefs, populated with a huge diversity of Indo-Pacific fish & invertebrates.

Average visibility in the area is 15 to 20 meters, with reports of up to 40 meters. Water temperature ranges between 29C in mid summer (December / January) to approximately 19C in mid winter (June / July) and diving is possible all year round. Temperatures remain warm throughout the winter and although summer is the rainy season, there are no rivers to affect the visibility. Overnight: Camping. Breakfast & Dinner

Coral Divers, Private Bag 310, Mbazwana, 3974, South Africa Tel: 035-5710290, Fax: 035-5710287

Day 10 & 11: Diving at Sodwana Bay

Five dives are included here. The waters in and around Sodwana Bay are host to a wide variety of Indo-Pacific marine life. Colourful reef Fishes, Sharks, Rays, pelagic game Fishes, Over a hundred identified species of beautiful hard and soft corals, sponges and tonnes of other incredible invertebrates, everything any diver could want. October through February is Whale shark season, and these peaceful giants of the ocean are often seen (but not touched) by lucky divers and snorkelers.

During the months of October to December, Ragged-tooth Sharks are often found in large numbers off Jesser point, where the females come to gestate whilst pregnant. You will typically find a number of females to one male Shark. During this gestation period, these fearsome looking creatures don't feed, and so as long as you follow strict guidelines to avoid disturbing them, it is safe to dive in amongst them. Other common sightings include Honeycomb and guinifowl moray Eels, many species of Butterfly fishes, blue spotted ribbon tail Rays, Trigger fishes, Anemone fishes and there's always the chance of finding the more elusive Frog fish, or paper Fish. Overnight: Camping. Breakfast & Dinner.

Coral Divers

There is a large communal area and swimming pool where everyone gathers after the days diving. Enjoy a couple of drinks and snacks (burgers, toasted sandwiches, etc...) from the well stocked bar, while soaking up the suns rays around the pool. Everyone can enjoy listening to diving tales from freshly qualified Open Water divers and seasoned veterans. Coral Divers offers you a very comfortable diving holiday experience, while retaining the rustic appeal of an out-of-the-way bush camp.

Sodwana Bay is surrounded by high sand dunes and dense subtropical forest and sits within the Greater St Lucia Wetlands National Park and World Heritage Site. These wetlands form a series of lakes - each with its own unique character and ecology. Crocodile, hippo, small mammals including bush babies, genets, duiker, striped mongoose and a rich variety of bird-life abound. There are many other activities to keep you active when you are done diving for the day such as horse riding, deep-sea fishing, micro lighting and 4x4 off-roading.

Day 12: Sodwana Bay to Hluhluwe Game Reserve

Depart Sodwana Bay after breakfast. You head for Hluhluwe Game Reserve and enjoy an afternoon game drive into Hluhluwe Game Reserve in search of the various wildlife found within the park. Overnight: Camping. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

False Bay Park
Tel: + 27 (0) 35 562-0425, Fax: + 27 (0) 35 562-0425

Hluhluwe Game Reserve

Hluhluwe Umfolozi is one of South Africa's most popular game parks affording visitors fascinating wildlife encounters. The wide range of plant life in the park gives rise to a diversity of mammals, bird life, reptiles and amphibians. The Big Five - Lion, Rhino (back & white) Elephant, Buffalo and Leopard are all to be seen in the park, as well as a variety of other species, including Cheetah, wild Dog and Giraffe. It is also one of the best places in the world to see Nyala.

When uncontrolled hunting brought many game species to the brink of local extinction, Hluhluwe and Umfolozi were set aside as protected areas for game in 1895. Through good conservation practices and the world famous project 'Operation Rhino', the white Rhino population was brought back from extinction in this park. Numbering less than 20 animals in 1900 they now number in excess of 10 000 worldwide. KwaZulu Natal Wildlife boasts one of the best conservation teams in the world, and enjoys international acclaim for its conservation efforts, not least in the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park.

Day 13 - Hluhluwe Game Reserve

Hluhluwe Game Reserve, home to the 'Big 5' - Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino is also home to numerous other animals, including Giraffe, Zebra, Baboon, Warthog and various antelope species. One game drive is included either in the morning or afternoon. Optional boat cruises; guided walks and cultural Zulu village visits can also be arranged. Overnight: Camping. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 14: Durban

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Durban Airport, in time for the departure of your International Outbound flight. Breakfast

Included:

  • Itinerary as specified
  • Hire vehicle - car
  • 4x4 or microbus depending on your group size
  • All accommodation
  • All transfers
  • 6 dives with cylinder and weights
  • 2 days Shark diving included
  • Internal flight Cape Town to Durban
  • Meals, breakfast (B), lunch (L), dinner (D) where specified
  • Meals not show are to the client's expense

Not Included:

  • All international airfares
  • Vehicle insurance and fuel
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • DAN insurance
  • Personal spending money
  • Visas
  • Passports
  • Vaccinations
  • Personal taxes (including departure and border taxes) all optional activities
  • Unscheduled or optional national / game parks and other activities
  • Gratuities
  • Sleeping bag if required
  • Restaurant meals and all other items of a personal nature
  • All drinks, even on days with full board basis
  • Everything not indicated as included above
  • Diving equipment not indicated as included above (wetsuits, BCD's, fins, masks etc) - these can however be hired from the various dive centres or you may prefer to bring your own.

Optional Activities:

Protea Banks & Aliwal Shoal:

  • Golf courses
  • Horse riding
  • Squash courts
  • Shopping centres
  • Fishing and safe bathing beaches

Sodwana Bay:

  • Horse riding
  • Quad biking
  • Dolphin cruises
  • Day trips to Lake Sibaya and Mabibi

Extra Diving:

Any extra diving is at your own expense and will depend upon time available. It is your responsibility to make sure you are safely within your diving limits if you wish to make extra dives.

Dive Schedule

  • Days 2&3: 2 dives - Protea Banks
  • Days 4&5: 2 dives - Aliwal Shoals
  • Days 6&8: 5 dives - Southern Mozambique - Ponta do Ouro / Ponta Mamoli
  • Days 9&11: 5 dives - Sodwana Bay

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