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Diving Sites, Knysna, Garden Route

Diving Sites, Knysna, Garden Route

Knysna has a wide range of diving and reefs from the lagoon to Buffel’s Bay. Scuba diving opportunities include boat, shore, drift, wreck and snorkelling.

Diving in Knysna can be unpredictable and very weather-dependent, however, the lagoon is often warmer and sheltered when the sea is rough. Knysna also boasts the endangered Knysna seahorse, which is ONLY found in the Knysna and Swartvlei lagoons. Knysna has “Hope Spot” status, boosting its conservation status to an international level.

Knysna underwaters are known as a macro photographers dream, prevailing summer southeasterly winds cause plankton to boom. Invertebrates thrive in these temperate (14 – 24 degrees) nutrient-rich waters.

The water is clear and warm for most of the year, with the winter months offering the best visibility, although good visibility of 15m (50ft) and more can be expected under ideal conditions in December and January.

The visibility changes quickly with the tides and winds. The best time to dive is on high tide when the ocean water pushes in as far as the bottom bridge over the lagoon.

The lagoon area is under the protection of the National Parks Board, whose offices can be found at the end of Thesen’s Jetty. They insist that divers tow or display the flag Alpha when diving in the lagoon as boat traffic can be heavy and hazardous to the unwary.

The Paquita

Average Depth: 10 metres
Max. Depth: 18 metres
Entry: Shore

One of the most popular shore dives in the lagoon is the wreck of the Paquita, a German vessel that sank in 1903 on her way to Barbados. Lying just inside the Knysna Heads, the site is subject to strong currents so can be dived only on the turn of the tide. The well-preserved wreck lies in three to nine metres of water and the surrounding reef, which drops off into the main channel at 18 metres.

Sightings: Zebras, Mussel Crackers, Blacktails, White Steenbras, Cape Stumpnose, Butterfish, Double-Sash Butterflyfish, and Nudibranchs.

Christmas and New Year

Average Depth: 12 metres
Max. Depth: 18 metres
Entry: Boat Launch

Other top reefs include Christmas and New Year, a fairly protected site halfway between the Eastern Head and Brenton-on-Sea. Ragged-tooth Sharks, Pyjama Catsharks and Puffadder Shysharks, big shoals of fish and an array of crustaceans are found, but the main attractions are the soft and hard corals, huge, colourful sponges and large sea fans adorned with spectacular basket stars that are found on this magical shallow site.

The Phantom Wreck

Average Depth: 5 metres
Max. Depth: 6 metres

Apparently being the wreck of the Piesang, this wreck has been named the Phantom Wreck due to the circumstances in which it was found on a drift dive and then the struggle to find it again after. Best to be done with a dive centre that knows where it is situated or you could be swimming in circles.

The Sen’s Jetty

Average Depth: 6 metres
Max. Depth: 10 metres

After wading through the garbage, the beautiful delicate sea horses under the jetty make this dive well worthwhile.

Dagleish Bank

Average Depth: 30 metres
Max Depth: Beyond sport diving depths
Entry: Boat Launch

Dagleish Bank is a dive site that is not regularly visited due to the rather long distance from the launch sites and is therefore still relatively unspoilt. The large pinnacle rising to 27m (90ft) below the surface, this fabulous reef is covered in colourful hard and soft coral and hosts a multitude of big gamefish, rockcod and other species.

East Cape Reef

Average Depth: 20 metres
Max. Depth: 24 metres

The caverns and drop offs are a breathtaking experience with the blankets of corals. Ragged Tooth Sharks are a common siting along with game fish and rays.

Advanced divers will enjoy East Cape Wall, off East Cape Point. The wall, which has numerous gullies, overhangs and ridges to explore, is several hundred metres long, so you simply let the current take you. The cauliflower coral, sea fans and soft corals are impressive; gamefish, Ragged-tooth and other sharks are often sighted and redbait, anemones and yellow and red sponges provide colour. 

The Fairholme

Average Depth: 10 metres
Max. Depth: 13 metres

After catching alight off Cape Agulhas, the Fairholme drifted all this way before sinking here. (1 April 1888). All that remains is the skeleton of the ship but makes a pleasant dive.

Bruce Se Bank

Average Depth: 25 metres
Max. Depth: 31 metres
Entry: Boat Launch

This reef can definitely be classified as one of the most beautiful.

Sightings: This colourful reef and pinnacles are covered with beautiful soft and hard corals, which include, sea fans bedecked with basket stars, soft corals and white cauliflower.

More info on the town of Knysna More info on the Garden Route area

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