Monthly Archives: November 2014

Leg 7: Ponto Malongane – Sodwana Bay

From one ocean paradise, straight to another! More soft sand and warm sunshine; I consider Sodwana to be the best diving spot in South Africa. Actually, even after diving in parts of Southeast Asia I maintain that Sodwana has the best diving, ever! Oh yes… you think Mozambique sounds and looks amazing? Sodwana is by far #1 on my list and I’m not alone: Wikipedia insists that 35 000 people flock here every year to ogle at Indian Oceanic marine creatures who are making big fish-eyes right back at them. Bearing in mind that this exact number is not verified and probably made more unreliable by the sheer number of other websites that recklessly quote this same number without proof, it gives you a rough picture of the Sodwana’s appeal. There are beautifully technicolor reefs and coral, and they stay this way because of strict conservation practices.

Picture by Matt Kieffer licensed under Creative Commons

Picture by Matt Kieffer licensed under Creative Commons

Sodwana Bay is a national park, inside the iSinangaliso Wetland Park [1] which means you’ll have to pay a permit fee to be able to dive there (they check every permit!) and on entry to the nature reserve you pay another R10 per vehicle. The permit is R85 and can be bought at Post Offices; it's valid for a full year (as far as I remember; this may have changed recently). On individual level the permit fee isn't super high, and it funds nature reserve facilities and infrastructure, as well as the personnel. Reefs are further protected by limited group sizes, strict no-touch rules etc. If you've seen what devastating effects big crowds of uncaring, uneducated, protection-insensitive divers can have, you fully appreciate these efforts in Sodwana, even if it costs a bit.  Continue reading

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Filed under Itinerary, Obsessions, Travel bug