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If you're a beginner, a quick course will prepare you for an underwater adventure and, given the popularity of scuba diving in South Africa, there are a number of schools at major coastal towns where experienced professionals are on hand to teach you the basics.
The Indian Ocean along South Africa's east coast offers warm, tropical conditions and plenty of sharks, turtles, dolphins, whales and rays, as well as spectacular coral reefs and a variety of colourful reef fish.
The west coast waters of the Atlantic Ocean are a lot colder, but offer magnificent marine life and kelp forests that are a delight to explore. There are numerous tour operators in Cape Town, several of whom are based at the V&A Waterfront.
False Bay is one of Cape Town's most famous diving spots and was the setting for the film Dark Tide, starring Halle Berry as a scuba diving instructor.
As well as marine life you can also explore shipwrecks off the coast of Table Bay.
If you'd rather go scuba diving inland, sites such as Wondergat in the North West province and Komati Springs in Mpumalanga province offer inland sites to explore.
One of the deepest scuba dive records is held by South African, Nuno Gomes, who descended to a depth of 318m below the surface of the Red Sea. Gomes also holds the record for the world's deepest cave dive, which he set in 1996 in Boesmansgat in South Africa's Northern Cape province by diving to 282m.
Travel tips & planning info
Who to contact
KwaZulu-Natal Tourism Authority
Tel: +27 (0)31 366 7500
Cape Town Tourism
Tel: +27 (0)86 132 2223
Tel: +27 (0)13 759 5300
Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism
Tel: +27 (0)41 582 2575
Best time to visit
South Africa's famous sardine run takes place between May and June each year. This phenomenon offers divers and underwater photographers many unforgettable moments.
What to pack
If you have an underwater camera, bring it with you.
Where to stay
Most scuba diving sites have nearby accommodation, ranging from hotels to small B&Bs and backpacking lodges.