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Scuba Diving in False Bay

There are so many wonderful dive destinations in South Africa, not even to mention the rest of the world. This is one of the main reasons that people often overlook Cape Town as a prime dive spot. This is a big mistake really since there are so many reasons why False Bay is one of the best spots to scuba dive.

Here are 5 reasons why you must dive in False Bay

False Bay South Africa
False Bay is a body of water in the Atlantic Ocean between the mountainous Cape Peninsula and the Hottentots Holland Mountains in the extreme south-west of South Africa. The mouth of the bay faces south and is demarcated by Cape Point to the west and Cape Hangklip to the east.

The magical kelp forests

kelp forest

Very few people actually know about the magnificent kelp forests in False Bay. This is a shame since these kelp forests are actually quite unique to our waters. They support a wide diversity of animals, from gully sharks, seals, shy sharks, crabs and other species of small fish. In fact, these shark species (the pyjama catshark and the shy spotted-gully shark) are otherwise rarely seen. These underwater plants can grow up to 30m and higher and the scene is almost magical if you dive between them as the light streams in from above.

Historic wrecks

A variety of wrecks lay strewn all over the ocean floors of False Bay, especially old navy ships in Simon’s Town. You get the magnificent SAS Pietermaritzburg, which was a minesweeper used by the navy up until 1994 when they decided to scuttle it to form an artificial reef. And then there are the wrecks of Smitswinkel Bay, which is a collection of five wrecks scuttled by the Navy. The five wrecks include the SAS Transvaal, SAS Good Hope, Rockeater, Princess Elizabeth and the Oratava. There’s so much to see on the wrecks that are covered in mauve, red and white soft corals. It can get quite dark down there though, so you will need to take a torch with you to see the variety of sea life available. You can see colourful corals, carpets of tiny Strawberry anemones, Cape Fur Seals, starfish and countless other fish (Galjoen, Catsharks, Romans, Blennies, Horsefish as well as the occasional Scorpionfish). These are only a few of the numerous wrecks that you can dive in False Bay.

Colourful reefs

false bay reef

False Bay’s reefs are very colourful, and it is one of the few places where you can do wreck, reef and shore dives all in one place. Many of the reefs are artificial as they cover the wrecks which have been scuttled all around the waters of False Bay. Shallow reefs are normally surrounded by kelp forests and are brightly coloured with tiny sea creatures spread across it. If you go to the deeper reefs, which are usually only accessible by boat, you will experience a much wider variety of marine life. An abundance of reef fish, beautiful large sea fans, small sharks, nudibranchs, sponges, cuttlefish and so much more can be found here.

Fun shore diving

shore diving false bay

There are many different shore dives that you can do in False Bay, saving the hassle of launching from a boat. This is great if you like to spontaneously go out for a day of diving without pre-booking your seat on a boat or arranging a dive guide (although guided dives are available as well if it's your first time diving the sites). There is an abundance of shore diving to be done in the bay.

Abundant marine life

pyjama shark false bay sealife  klipfish false bay sealife  seal false bay sealife

Lastly, there's the multitude of marine species you can spot in the waters of False Bay. Whale watching is a popular tourist attraction in False Bay. In Fact, it has been noted as one of the top whale-watching destinations in the world! You will usually spot many people at look-out points around the bay doing some whale-watching. Other than that, we are also famous for our great whites, although you will be pretty lucky to see one on a normal deep dive. But don't fret, you can always go out for a boat ride to seal island and if you time it right, you can experience these majestic creatures breach when feeding. I know, these first two are highly unlikely sightings on normal dives, but they're such a prominent part of our ocean life that it would be an injustice not to mention them. You can, however, see some other creatures like the Cape Fur Seals and the African Penguins, or you will be guaranteed to see at least one of the two on your boat trip to the dive site or even in the water while diving. On a normal dive, you can expect to see Shy Sharks, Pyjama Sharks, Seven-gill Cow Sharks, Octopus, many different species of Nudibranchs, Klipfish, Pipefish, Cuttlefish, numerous kinds of Starfish, Box and Compass Jellyfish, Sea Fans and so much more!

If you haven't gone diving in False Bay yet, what are you waiting for? Grab your gear and walk right into one of the most magnificent diving experiences you will ever have. 

Haven't done a SCUBA course yet? Why not try scuba diving by doing a Discover Scuba Diving Experience or maybe head straight for an Open Water Scuba Course and experience the waters of False Bay straight away! Keep an eye on our online shop where we often run course specials.

Katia Theron Author

 by Katia E Theron

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