False Bay

Diving in and around Cape Town offers a huge range of possibilities: from majestic kelp forests to cold-water coral gardens and deep reefs. False Bay has been recognised as a biodiversity hotspot due to the numbers of endemic animals living in these waters

Cape Peninsula and False Bay include over 280 named dive sites for which positions are recorded. The coastline offers some superb, varied, beautiful dive sites. The majority are shore entry, while some are accessible only by boat.

The location of the 2021 award-winning documentary My Octopus Teacher, the area has a diversity of its marine life which provides incredible scenes for scuba divers. An estimated 11,500 species of sea creatures, including whales, dolphins, stingrays and, of course, great white sharks have been identified in this relatively small bay. Pods of up to a thousand dolphins are not uncommon and divers occasionally witness gangs of dolphins weaving funnels of bubbles around huge shoals of fish, the prelude to a feeding frenzy.

The Cape Peninsula waters house some popular wreck dives, and caters for most level of divers. Advanced open water divers and above have the benefit of diving the' holy grail' of wrecks located in Smitswinkel Bay close to Cape Point. There are 5 wrecks neatly scuttled among each other including MFV Princess Elizabeth, SAS Good Hope, SAS Transvaal, MFV Orotava and MV Rockeater. The max depth is 40m so being an Advanced diver is essential for this particular area.

Dive sites range vastly in bottom composition. A dive site can fluctuate from rocky terrain characterized by the steep cliffs on the Western side of False Bay to sandy bottoms on the Eastern side. Gordon’s Bay, in particular, is characterized by a stony bottom of large, rounded boulders or flattened rock.

A number of sites on both sides of the bay are distinguished by vast, dense, beautiful kelp forests that house masses of creatures including Pajama sharks, Leopard catsharks and Puffadder shy sharks.
These forests act as a filter for dirty water so divers will often experience mediocre conditions until entering the kelp where the visibility improves dramatically.

Diving around Cape Town is certainly challenging. The water is cold and visibility is not always great, but on a good day the challenge is well worth it, as it is home to a huge variety of unique marine life which is difficult to see anywhere else in the world.

Depth m/ft

5-40/16-131

Visibility m/ft

30/90

Temperature C/F

11-19/52-66

False Bay (photo by Geoff Spiby)
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Diving on the SATS General Botha in False Bay (photo by Jean Tresfon)
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Kelp, False Bay (photo by Jean Tresfon)
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Kelp forest 2, False Bay (photo by Geoff Spiby)
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