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Available September to April

15 day 18 dive Safari


Day 1 Saturday


Depart Europe


Day 2 Sunday


Arrive Durban, South Africa around mid day depending on exact flight.

From the airport, you hit the road through Natal's sugarcane farms and Eucalyptus forests before, just past Mtubatuba, spotting your first Fever Trees. Not so many years ago, this was a warning that man travelled no further under threat of Malaria and Sleeping sickness. Government spraying programmes have removed that danger so you can continue safely to the Acacia Thornveldt and coastal Riverine Bush that typifies the region.

 


Day 3 Monday

Early breakfast because you want to catch the animals coming out to feed on your visit to Hluhluwe/Umfolozi National Park. 96,000 hectares (235,000 acres) of hills, rivers, Acacia Bush and Savannah with every species of animal that ever lived in this area (but is not extinct ! ) Lions, Elephants, Rhinos (Black and White), Hippos, Crocodiles, Leopards, Bufflalo,all the antelope, Hyena, Zebra- even 3 different species of Dung Beetle if that is your bag !!

After your 'Big 5' visit, you will take a leasurely drive to Sodwana Bay on the Zululand coast.

 


Day 4 Tuesday

Sodwana is by far and away South Africa's premier diving locale. Aliwal Shoal is too far south to have hard coral but here, 400 kms to the north, Sodwana Bay is a paradise of hard and soft corals and has a huge variety of often rare fish and invertibrate marine life. Most Sodwana diving is done on the huge reef conglomeration known as '2 Mile'. The longer boat ride means that the gems of '9 Mile' , '7 Mile' and even '5 Mile' are rarely dived and involve extra cost, but if you wish, ask the beachmaster if there is availability on a boat visiting those reefs.. Dives to further sites are 'conditions permitting'.


Day 5 Wednesday

Two more dives at Sodwana Two Mile reefs. Two Mile reef covers a huge area with a multitude of dive sites. There are sites on 2 Mile for everyone from nursery sites where new divers are usually taken to a number of 'special' sites the locations of which are closely guarded secrets. We have two personal favorites which normally give us 3-5 Whitetip Reef sharks and another that has three species of cleaner shrimp, Harlequin shrimps,several colours of Paperfish and numerous species of Morays. This latter site is so full of unusual marine life that- particularly photographers- cannot see a fraction of what there is to offer and we are used to divers threatening revolt if we do not offer it a second time !!


Day 6 Thursday

Again two dives more dives.

In the early afternoon, you must remember that the international border post closes at 17h00 so you must tear yourselves away from Sodwana and head for Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique.Atthe border you will leave your rental vehicle at the secure parking and will be met by our 4x4 transfer vehicle. There are no roads in this part of Mozambique, merely sand tracks.

Ponta is tiny and a delightful refuge from the 'real world'. The only real argument we have ever heard here was between restauranteurs over who had the largest and freshest Tiger Prawns and shellfish..... paradise !!


Day 7 Friday

Two dives at Ponta do Ouro . This area has only been dived since the mid 90s due to it having been a war zone from the early 70s until that time. New reefs are being found regularly and you are able to dive on pristine virgin coral reefs. This area of Mozambique is also famous for Mantas, Whales, and, on certain deeper reefs,big sharks (Hammerheads, Tigers, Zambezi (Bull) etc)and this is the time of year for large numbers of these big sharks..

At this time of year with such large numbers of sharks on Pinnacles Reef and such a variety of species - January / March seeing six large shark species in a single dive is not unusual - so you normally do a Pinnacles dive early morning and a coral reef dive second. This is, of course, decided by you, the diver.

 


Day 8 Saturday


Two more dives at Ponta do Ouro....Pinnacles anyone ? There are a huge variety of other reefs available at Ponta. Brian's favorite is '3 Sisters'. At 25 metres time is limited after a deep Pinnacles dive but the small system of 3 rock outcrops are covered in a huge variety of corals and teems with fishlife. It is one of the best reefs for finding the elusive Longnosed Hawkfish, the sand around has Garden Eels and Partner shrimp/Goby, there are numerous Moray species including a huge Honeycomb who just loves interacting with divers. This is one reef that you have to dive.


Day 9 Sunday

Two more dives at Ponta do Ouro Again the choice is yours and the variety incredible.


Day 10 Monday

Your two last dives at Ponta do Ouro and then the 4x4 is waiting to take you back to the South African border. On the South African side, there is a 9 metre wide tar road with safety lanes each side. On the Mozambique side, well, there are no roads in the accepted sense, hence the 4x4s. After the brief border formalities, it is on to the World Heritage site of St Lucia Wetalnds Park


Day 11 Tuesday


Morning boat trip on Lake St Lucia with it's 2,000 crocodiles, 800 Hippopatami and nearly 400 bird species including our regional emblem, the African Fish Eagle.

In the afternoon, you drive south to Aliwal Shoal


Day 12 Wednesday

Your choice of two conventional dives with the Ragged Tooth sharks (if in residence) or a specilist baited dive for Tiger sharks.

Raggies are not all that is to be seen at Aliwal. Giant Guitar or Sand sharks are to be seen normally on Southern Sands. These impressive sharks grow up to 4 metres in length. If we have inshore currents, masses of plancton may be carried in to the shoal with giant Manta Rays taking full advantage of the feast on offer.

At least one of your dives will be on our own special reef whose location we try to keep to ourselves. Here we find the very rare Pineapple fish as well as Scribbled Pipefish. The highlight of the dive, however, is the safety stop at which we are almost invariably circled by Blacktip sharks. Not the Blacktip Reef shark. This is Carcharhinus limbatus, one of the fastest, sleekest and most beautiful sharks in the ocean.

Option :-

'The dive of a lifetime' as many people call it in our Visitor's Book with (hopefully) Tiger sharks, normally lots of Blacktip sharks and Dusky Sharks and at certain times of the year, Zambezi or Bull sharks. Full details of this incredible dive can be seen at our Tiger shark page.

 


Day 13 Thursday

Again we have the option of two conventional dives or a 'baited' Tiger shark dive.. Aliwal's famous Ragged Tooth sharks used to disappear at the end of November but since rules on entering their resting places (caves and overhangs) have been strictly enforced, we have a few Raggies in residence throughout the year.We can normally dive to the entrance to Cathederal and, if we lie motionless on the sand, they become curious and will approach very close to us.There are also numerous rare fish species such as Paper fish, Frogfish (or Angler fish) and various Pipefish are to be seen. This is a good time of year for Manta Rays, Dolphins, Scallopped Hammerheads with Blacktip sharks and possibly..Dusky Sharks circling us at the safety stop.

 

A Tiger shark with accompanying Blacktips.

 


Day 14 Friday

Sadly you now travel up to Durban Airport for the start of your return journey and wish you 'Hlalakahle' in Zulu 'Go in peace and safety'.


Day 15 Saturday
Arrive back in Europe.


Total 18 Dives on 3 very different sites.