15 day 17/18 dive Classic Safari

Safari Dates Details


Day 1 Saturday


Depart Europe


Day 2 Sunday


Arrive Durban, South Africa .


We drive to our overnight hotel in Hluhluwe village.

 


Day 3 Monday

Early breakfast because we want to catch the animals coming out to feed on our visit to Hluhluwe/Umfolozi National Park. 96,000 hectares (235,000 acres) of hills, rivers, Acacia Bush and Savannah with every species of animal that ever lived in this area (but is not extinct ! ) Lions, Elephants, Rhinos (Black and White), Hippos, Crocodiles, Leopards, Bufflalo,all the antelope, Hyena, Zebra- even 3 different species of Dung Beetle if that is your bag !!

After our 'Big 5' visit, we will take a leasurely drive to Sodwana Bay on the Zululand coast.

 


Day 4 Tuesday

Sodwana is by far and away South Africa's premier diving locale. Aliwal Shoal is too far south to have hard coral but here, 400 kms to the north, Sodwana Bay is a paradise of hard and soft corals and has a huge variety of often rare fish and invertibrate marine life. Most Sodwana diving is done on the huge reef conglomeration known as '2 Mile'. The longer - and much more expensive- boat ride means that the gems of '9 Mile' , '7 Mile' and even '5 Mile' are rarely dived. Dives to further sites are 'conditions permitting'.

We keep are fingers crossed for a flat sea because we want to make Hotspot our first dive with an afternoon dive on '2 mile Reef.


Day 5 Wednesday

Again we hope for a flat sea as our first dive is planned for '7 Mile Reef'again with an afternoon dive on one of the ‘2 mile' sites. Two Mile reef covers a huge area with a multitude of dive sites. There are sites on 2 Mile for everyone from nursery sites where new divers are usually taken to a number of 'special' sites the locations of which are closely guarded secrets. We have two personal favorites which normally give us 3-5 Whitetip Reef sharks and another that has three species of cleaner shrimp, Harlequin shrimps,several colours of Paperfish and numerous species of Morays. This latter site is so full of unusual marine life that- particularly photographers- cannot see a fraction of what there is to offer and we are used to divers threatening revolt if we do not dive it a second time !!

 

In the early afternoon, we must remember that the international border post closes at 17h00 so we must tear ourselves away from Sodwana and head for Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique

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Ponta is tiny and a delightful refuge from the 'real world'. The only real argument we have ever heard here was between restauranteurs over who had the largest and freshest Tiger Prawns and shellfish..... paradise !!



Day 6 Thursday

Two dives at Ponta do Ouro . This area has only been dived since the mid 90s due to it having been a war zone from the early 70s until that time. New reefs are being found regularly and we are able to dive on pristine virgin coral reefs. This area of Mozambique is also famous for Mantas, Whales, and, on certain deeper reefs,big sharks (Hammerheads, Tigers, Zambezi (Bull) etc)and this is the time of year for large numbers of these big sharks..

At this time of year with such large numbers of sharks on Pinnacles Reef and such a variety of species - January / March seeing six large shark species in a single dive is not unusual - so we normally do a Pinnacles dive early morning and a coral reef dive second. This is, of course, decided by you, the diver.

Ponta is tiny and a delightful refuge from the 'real world'. The only real argument we have ever heard here was between restauranteurs over who had the largest and freshest Tiger Prawns and shellfish..... paradise !!

 


Day 7 Friday

Two more dives at Ponta do Ouro....Pinnacles anyone ? There are a huge variety of other reefs available at Ponta. Brian's favorite is '3 Sisters'. At 25 metres time is limited after a deep Pinnacles dive but the small system of 3 rock outcrops are covered in a huge variety of corals and teems with fishlife. It is one of the best reefs for finding the elusive Longnosed Hawkfish, the sand around has Garden Eels and Partner shrimp/Goby, there are numerous Moray species including a huge Honeycomb who just loves interacting with divers. This is one reef that you have to dive.


Day 8 Saturday


Two more dives at Ponta do Ouro....Pinnacles anyone ? There are a huge variety of other reefs available at Ponta. Brian's favorite is '3 Sisters'. At 25 metres time is limited after a deep Pinnacles dive but the small system of 3 rock outcrops are covered in a huge variety of corals and teems with fishlife. It is one of the best reefs for finding the elusive Longnosed Hawkfish, the sand around has Garden Eels and Partner shrimp/Goby, there are numerous Moray species including a huge Honeycomb who just loves interacting with divers. This is one reef that you have to dive.

 


Day 9 Sunday

Our two last dives at Ponta do Ouro and then the 4x4s are waiting to take us back to the South African border. On the South African side, there is a 9 metre wide tar road with safety lanes each side. On the Mozambique side, well, there are no roads in the accepted sense, hence the 4x4s. After the brief border formalities, it is on to the World Heritage site of St Lucia Wetalnds Park



Day 10 Monday



Morning boat trip on Lake St Lucia with it's 2,000 crocodiles, 800 Hippopatami and nearly 400 bird species including our regional emblem, the African Fish Eagle.

In the afternoon, we drive south to Aliwal Shoal


Day 11 Tuesday

Your choice of two conventional dives with the Ragged Tooth sharks (if in residence) or a specilist baited dive for sharks.

Raggies are not all that is to be seen at Aliwal. Giant Guitar or Sand sharks are to be seen normally on Southern Sands. These impressive sharks grow up to 4 metres in length. If we have inshore currents, masses of plancton may be carried in to the shoal with giant Manta Rays taking full advantage of the feast on offer.

At least one of our dives will be on our own special reef whose location we try to keep to ourselves. Here we find the very rare Pineapple fish as well as Scribbled Pipefish. The highlight of the dive, however, is the safety stop at which we are almost invariably circled by Blacktip sharks. Not the Blacktip Reef shark. This is Carcharhinus limbatus, one of the fastest, sleekest and most beautiful sharks in the ocean.

Option :-

'The dive of a lifetime' as many people call it in our Visitor's Book with Tiger sharks, normally lots of Blacktip sharks and Dusky Sharks and at certain times of the year, Zambezi or Bull sharks. Full details of this incredible dive can be seen at our Tiger shark page.

 


Day 12 Wednesday

Again we have the option of two conventional dives or a 'baited' shark dive.. Aliwal's famous Ragged Tooth sharks used to disappear at the end of November but since rules on entering their resting places (caves and overhangs) have been strictly enforced, we have a few Raggies in residence throughout the year.We can normally dive to the entrance to Cathederal and, if we lie motionless on the sand, they become curious and will approach very close to us.There are also numerous rare fish species such as Paper fish, Frogfish (or Angler fish) and various Pipefish are to be seen. This is a good time of year for Manta Rays, Dolphins, Scallopped Hammerheads with Blacktip sharks and possibly..Dusky Sharks circling us at the safety stop.


Day 13 Thursday

Your choice of doing two more dives at Aliwal Shoal or joining us for a baited shark dive at Protea Banks.These baited dives are operated exactly as our baited dives at Aliwal Shoal but as well as the Oceanic Blacktip and Tiger sharks we see at Aliwal, we hope to see also Bull sharks, Great and Scalloped Hammerheads, Copper sharks and Sand Tigers.

 


Day 14 Friday

Sadly we now travel down to Durban Airport for the start of your return journey and wish you 'Hlalakahle' in Zulu 'Go in peace and safety'.

Most of our guests have return flights leaving Durban Friday morning. Our transfer from Umkomaas leaves around 09h00 normally but will leave earlier if one of the clients has an earlier flight. The Safari finishes at that time at the airport. Should you have a later flight, there are local tour operators who offer day trips to Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve, Valley of a Thousand Hills, uShaka aquarium etc. We are more than happy to assist you in making reservations with these operators or, in deed, to assist with reservations should you wish to prolong your stay in South Africa after your Safari with us.


Day 15 Saturday
Arrive back in Europe.


Total 17/18 Dives on 4 very different sites.

Our latest Pinnacles, Mozambique dive September 2017 Click

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