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Cape Town SCUBA dive sites map of dive sites
Cape Town has access to two oceans, and as such has a great deal to offer the keen snorkeler or scuba diver. There is a tremendous range of diving to be enjoyed, both in the Atlantic, and the Indian Ocean: from shipwrecks to reef diving, seals to shark diving, shallow to deep or technical diving. When one side is a mess, the other is usually dive-able. Click om the map on the left to get the approximate positions of the site numbers listed below.

The pictures in the gallery below were taken or drawn by:
Di Froude (DF); Phil Wright (PL); Alan Wadel (AW); Sarah Carter (SC); Grant Whitford (GW) and myself (GL).


A-Frame dive site

A-FRAME AREA

(12 on the map). A Frame, Windmill and Froggy Pond are next to each other, and offer easy entry and pleasant rocks covered in life. Often found here are pipe-fish, soles and rays. Their easy beach entries make them excellent night dive sites. In addition, you will certainly see many different kinds of nudibranchs. (DF)

(GW)


ANTIPOLIS

(3 on the map). The Antipolis is a great shore entry dive site ideal for OW1 divers, as it offers a real wreck experience at shallow depth. The wreck is shallow and accessible with the surface visible at all times. You really get the feeling of being inside the bowels of a shipwreck. There is also a sunken bull-dozer to see, and many large crayfish about. Beware of being sucked into holes when the swell is running. This is a nice place to gather sand-free muscles. (SC)
Antipolis wreck dive site


Aster docked Aster sink
Aster u/w Aster plan

ASTER

(7 on the map). In April 1997 the Aster, a lobster catcher (27m long and 340 gross tonnes) was going to be scrapped. Cape Town divers, under the leadership of Cleeve Robertson saw this as an ideal opportunity to extend an existing artificial reef system within the protected environment of Hout Bay. She was cleaned, freed of oil, and sunk by us in August. She now lies peacefully, 20m to the north of the Katsu Maru in 33m of water, providing a thrilling penetration dive in relative safety. Click on pics to enlarge. (DF CR and Cape Times)


BRUNSWICK, BATA and CLAN STEWARD

(13 on the map). The Brunswick and Bata, two ancient and fairly unknown wooden wrecks lie in the fairly protected and shallow safety of Simon's Bay. The Brunswick is a longish swim to a very old wooden wreck which provides shelter to many pajama sharks, octopus and shoals of nesting steentjies. The Clan Steward is a easy beach entry and short swim, ideal for beginners. Permission to dive these wrecks is easily obtained from the Navy ops room at 787-3911. (GL)
Ray


Castle rock dive site

CASTLE ROCK

(9b on the map). One of False Bay's most popular sites as it usually offers protected diving and easy beach or rock entries. There is a complete range of marine life to see here and depending on your luck you may also encounter Great Whites and whales. There are easy and protected entries and exits making this an all round excellent place to dive.(DF)

View Panorama of Castle area


CORAL GARDENS

(4 on the map). If you can endure getting to the dive site early in the morning (to beat the picnic revelers), and a good swim, this is the premiere atlantic shore dive. Stunning coral clad vertical walls are everywhere. Seals are often there to share your dive. The entry is over kelp and rocks, so taking a camera is more challenging ;) (AW)
Noble Coral at  dive site


reef pic and seal

FALSE BAY REEFS

In addition, there are many beautiful reefs in False Bay: Caravan Reef; Roman Rock; Batsata Rock; Spaniard Rock; Gibraltar Rock; Photographer's Reef and Boat Rock. These are mostly not easily accessible as shore dives as they lie on a line roughly 1.5km off shore. Actually, you could swim out 1.5km almost anywhere from Simon's Town to Smitswinkel Bay and intersect parts of this chain of reef. The problem is that this is also the boat lane so caution is needed. (DF)


KATSU MARU

(7 on the map). An oriental trawler virtually still in tact and easily accessible. She was sunk in the 1970s in Hout Bay harbour mouth and lies on a stark sandy bottom on her star board side at a 45 degree angle, at a depth of 27m on deck and 32m on the sand. A diversity of fish life can be found and colourful sponges and other invertebrates grow on her - a torch is needed, and because of her depth this is for the more experienced diver. You ca easily swim underwater from the bow of the Katz, on a bearing of 30 deg and find the Aster, about 30m away. (PW)
Katz wreck dive site


Maori wreck dive site

MAORI

(5 on the map). The Maori, an English steamship weighed 5317 tons, en route to to New Zealand with a mixed cargo of explosives, piping and crockery and a crew of 55, sank in 1909. She went ashore stern first. Three lifeboats got away but they all suffered mishaps. The 14 men that remained on board were more fortunate - all except 3 were taken ashore by line. More than 30 lives were lost. Depth ranges from 14-23m and is often dive able when others aren't due to it's natural protection
In the background is the wreck of the Boss 400, still waiting to sink properly, and on the sea-bed below it, lies the Oakburn. (GL)


OUDEKRAAL

(3 on the map). Oudekraal is a favourite Atlantic site, as it has protected coves and easy beach entries. The well known and colourful Justin's Caves are here, as well as the oldest known wreck in SA (Het Huis te Kraaienstein (1670). There is plenty of marine life to see. A longer swim out will take you to the 2 rocks Geldkis and Strawberry, where there are super caves with soft and hard corals. (PW)
Geldkis cave dive site


raggie at dive site

OUTER CASTLE and PARTRIDGE POINT

(9 on the map). Outer Castle rocks and Partridge point rocks form two extremes of a rich reef, in a marine reserve. The opportunities for underwater photography are endless. and the depths are suitable for divers at all levels. There are many overhangs and swim-through's. In winter raggies are sometimes seen. (GL)


PIETERMARITZBURG

(10 on the map). An Algerine class ocean mine sweeper sunk by the SA Navy on 19 November 1994 for recreational diving purpose supporting an incredible diversity of growth already! Depth: On the deck 15m (max. 19m) A new and exiting dive site for all types of divers. The wreck is very intact with most equipment still intact. (SC)
Pietermaritburg dive site


Pyramid dive site

PYRAMID

Pyramid is a pyramid shaped blinder slightly to the north of Castle, offering a beach (stony) entry and a moderate swim out to some fine reefs which extend seaward and to the north. There is much to see, and this is a good place to spot Raggies. (AW)


QUARRY

(14 on the map). Quarry offers the adventurous fit diver something to test his ability. Here you can do a long underwater swim on a straight line bearing and cross 4 different ecosystems. Turn round at 100bar and swim back underwater. This is the most "fishy" place in Cape Town, and I have seen large predators here at times. (DF)
Quarry dive site


wreck

SMIT'S WRECKS

(8 on the map). This must be considered as False Bay's most interesting and challenging wreck site. Five wrecks were scuttled by the Navy in the early 1970s to form an artificial reef. (The SAS Transvaal, SAS Good Hope, Rock eater, Princess Elizabeth and Oratava, 2 Navy frigates, a diamond dredger and 2 fishing trawlers). Depth: 24m - 42m. When the viz is good you can see all five of them! (PW)


SPANIARD AND GIBRALTAR

(11 on the map). What all the locals here call Spaniard rock is actually Oatlands Point. The true Spaniard rock, according to the marine charts, is a blinder 100m to the south, and not often dived due to the awkward access. There is steep scramble down to a slippery rocky entry, enough to keep the faint hearted away, but to those who persevere and do the 50m swim-out, a surprise awaits! 20m NW of Spaniard is a hidden reef unspoiled by divers and rich in life. (AW)
Spaniard Rock dive site


SUNNY COVE

(Near 14 on the map) Just South of Fish Hoek is a bridge crossing the railway line at a small station called Sunny Cove. This has to be one of my favorite dive sites as it has the most to offer if you are lucky enough to find it. It boasts a large diversity of nudibranchs, and the further south you swim towards Glencairn, the richer the life becomes. I have swum underwater 75% of the way there before running out of air and having to exit onto the road. This is where I had my most exciting underwater moment and had the privilege of being within touching distance of an enormous Southern Right Whale on a spotlessly clean viz day. A good friend also had an encounter with a large great white here only 12m from the shore, and it came so close he ran his hand over it's tummy! (GW)


vulcan rock dive site

VULCAN ROCK

(6 on the map). A large and deep pinnacle 2km out of Hout Bay, rising to the surface and dropping off to over 30m in places with hard and soft corals, nudibranchs, deep water cowries and crayfish - often with playful seals. A new site to the north of Vulcan proper is Di's Cracks, offering spectacular photographic possibilities. Often visited by large fish, and great whites are sometimes sighted. Spectacular photographic opportunities. Vulcan will always hold scary memories for me - see my article in DiveStyle Sept 2003 Vulcan near miss. (GL)