Jul 18

Top 6 Scuba Diving Spots in Cape Town

by in Africa

Cape Town has among the highest variety of dive sites in the world. The Cape Peninsula, also known as the “Cape of Storms” from the earliest days of the settlers and the passing merchant ships, is host to plenty of shallow and deep wreckages that have grown into rich underwater gardens of fauna and flora.

The Cape’s dive sites are split into two areas, the Indian & Atlantic Oceans. The Atlantic Ocean (West Coast) is characterised by colder waters, averaging 10-14 degrees Celsius, but offers slightly better underwater visibility that can exceed 15-20m.

The Indian Ocean (East & South Coast) is generally favoured for its warmer waters that average anything from 13-21 degrees Celsius. Visibility in summer can fall to 6m or less due to the strong South Eastern wind in Summer, but in Winter you can sometimes expect a visibility of up to 25m.

Below you will find a mixed list of some of the most popular dive locations that both locals and foreigners continue to enjoy.

“Seal Island”

Not the original Seal Island, as found in False Bay. This Seal Island is found after a short boat ride out of the seaside town of Hout Bay, around the overhanging peak known as The Sentinel.

The island is home to a colony of Cape Fur Seals which can make for very good underwater viewing. Other feature of this dive is the accompanying kelp forest which is home to many fish species and invertebrates.

Dive Type: Reef

Dive Depth: 8-12 metres

Entry Type: Boat

“The Boss”

Located on the Atlantic side, just around the corner from Llandudno, this dive site has 2 shipwrecks that can be visited. The site is named after one of the wrecks, The Boss, which lies on top of the Oak Burn which used to be the largest floating crane in the world. This dive offers great photo opportunities.

Dive Type: Wreck

Dive Depth: 25 metres

Entry Type: Boat

“Smits Winkel Bay Wrecks”

Located at Smits Winkel Bay on the False Bay side, this dive site offers a variety of shipwrecks in close proximity. Among the wrecks are the SAS Good Hope, MV Prince Elizabeth, MV Rockeater, MV Oratawa and SAS Transvaal. It is a deep dive, so torches are highly recommended.

Dive Type: Wreck

Dive Depth: 30-40 metres

Entry Type: Boat


This dive site is one of the most popular on the Atlantic side. It is characterised by an easy beach-access and its protected cove which is home to one of the oldest wrecks in South Africa, “Het Huis te Kraaienstein” which sank in 1670. There are also various underwater caves which are host to various soft and hard coral species.

Dive Type: Wreck/Reef

Dive Depth: 19 metres

Entry Type: Shore/Boat

“Vulcan Rock”

Vulcan Rock is a submerged pinnacle which stems from a slight surface breach, all the way down to 30m at its base. Located roughly 2 kilometres outside of Hout Bay harbour, you may expect to see a variety of ocean life, from cape fur seals, to invertebrates, large fish species and even Great White Sharks have been spotted in the past – very exciting!

Dive Type: Reef

Dive Depth: 0-30 metres

Entry Type: Boat

“Pyramid Rock”

Another great False Bay favourite, this diving location is characterised by a great opportunity to get close to many non-man-eating shark species in the area. Following a slightly long surface swim from the beach, you will reach a kelp forest with a sandy bottom that is home to various shark species such as the 7-Gill Cow Shark, Spotted Gully Shark, a lot of Shy-Sharks and Pyjama Sharks.

Dive Type: Sandy/Kelp

Dive Depth: 10-12 metres

Entry Type: Shore

Whether you are a novice diver or a first-timer, Cape Town is host to many world-class dive centres that offer courses from basic scuba diving, to speciality and deep diving techniques.

Image supplied by Tim Sheerman-Chase

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