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South Africa / Mozambique Dive itinerary

Discussion in 'South African Divers' started by amb688, May 24, 2015.

  1. amb688

    amb688 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle, WA, USA

    I'm planning a month long trip to South Africa and would like to get some ideas on how to go about doing this. The main purpose of this trip is to see some big stuff.

    I will be in South Africa for approximately one month (July 10th - August 10th). I will be either flying into Johannesburg or Durban. I'm thinking about trying my luck with the Sardine Run even though I know I may be about a week too late. I was told I should dive Protea Banks (Shelly Beach) July 10-17 and in case there's some action drive to port st john for the sardine run.

    I would like to also dive Aliwal and Tofo in Mozambique. Also would love to squeeze a safari in there too.

    I have never been to South Africa before so any help/suggestions would be much appreciated.

  2. ocdiver1

    ocdiver1 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: orange county, ca
    I'm sure you're get some responses from some of the local SA divers on the board, but I have made the trip several times so I can give you some input.

    For pelagics, I think you've made some great choices in Protea Banks and Tofo. Less so in Aliwal, but well worth diving, and since it's just an hour from Shelly Beach you can easily position yourself there and run over to Aliwal for a few days trips to sample diving a much different area that PB. PB can be fantastic, but sometimes can be hit or miss...you might have the dive of your life or might see nothing on a given day...but it's definitely the place to go for pelagics. Should be the season for Sand Tigers ("Raggies") among others...and I've had dives there were I've seen 50 or more. I've never been lucky enough to witness the Sardine Run, but I think it's so unpredictable that you could very well be to see it. In PB I've dove with www.afridive.com and in Aliwal www.oceanworx.co.za and had great experiences with both.

    Tofo is fantastic, and you would be there during humpback season, where there is even a chance of seeing them on scuba. You'll definitely get mantas (on scuba) and possible whale sharks (likely only snorkeling with them during surface intervals on dives). I've always dove with www.peri-peridivers.com who I highly recommend. The easiest way to get to Tofo is flying on LAM from Joburg...usually a somewhat pricey flight but far more convenient than self-drive or taking the bus/chapa. For a safari I'd definitely take in Kruger. If you were to continue by land into Moz, you could take the bus from Nelspruit to Maputo, then up to Tofo. I'm not sure if you can get Nelspruit-Tofo bypassing Maputo but that would be a lot shorter. Or you could just drive yourself, but I can't give you any personal experience as to how safe the roads are. One hassle with going to Moz is the visa...you used to be able to get in on arrival but this changed. Mine cost a whopping $160! Apparently the only way a visa on arrival will still be considered is if there is no embassy/consulate in they country you reside in. But, still absolutely worth it to go there, just plan ahead.

    Should be a fantastic trip! If I can help with any more info don't hesitate to pm me.
    hui likes this.
  3. widget

    widget Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: South Africa
    You should still get in on the tail end of the sardine run, of course sardines dont run according to a strict date and time schedule so its always going to be a bit of a gamble, but from my experience you stand a fairly reasonable chance up to late July. Many of the local Umkomaas dive operators run tours as well, google "Umkomaas diving" and you will find plenty of choice, send them an e-mail and inquire. All of them are outstanding operators and you will be well looked after.

    As ocdiver1 said Protea banks is better if you want a chance to see bigger Pelagics, but at that time the Aliwal shoal will also have lots of Raggies around the reef, so its a good time to dive there too. Personally I prefer the Aliwal simply because there is so much to see around there, but it seems you have the luxury of time so you could quite easily do both. Again, drop the guys in Umkomaas a line, I am sure you will receive a warm welcome.

    Tofu is a great destination and whales, manta's and other pelagics but Moz is best done (in my opinion) on a tour, making your own way by car is possible, but personally I wouldn't suggest it. Flying in and having the operator collect you at the airport is the least hassle, but Mozambique time (and service level) is different to normal world wide time and I can almost guarantee you will get frustrated.

    I would suggest either contacting the resort direct and letting them do the necessary bookings and you just roll up, or by contacting a specialist dive travel operator into Mozambique like Moz travel - Moz Dot Travel | Tour Operator | Mozambique who can assist with all the mundane stuff like customs and visa's.

    For a first time tour, the Kruger Park is by far the best option. Getting there is easy and you can just hire a car and head off on your own, or of course you can book a tour, you can stay at a hotel outside the park and do day drive entries, or you can book at one of the camps within the park itself. July / August is a good time as its winter and the grass is short so viewing is enhanced, but whatever you decide book early, the park fills up incredibly fast and on busy days they also limit the number of day drive entries, so get there early, no late sleeping!! :D

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