Africa

St Helena: Diving in the Remote South Atlantic Oasis

Whale shark, St Helena. Photo by Scott Bennett.

Outside my window, the South Atlantic lay unbroken—an azure expanse of ocean below and sky above. Three hours after passing the Namibian coast, a lone patch of clouds appeared on the horizon. As we approached, I could just discern patches of green peering through. Atop a narrow ridge, a tiny strip of runway appeared, the sheer drops at each end plummeting to the sea.

Sardine Run and the Interaction of Predators

Close to the action, a snorkeller (right) at the surface with a feeding Bryde's whale and hunting dolphins, Sardine Run, South Africa.

This natural spectacle takes place almost every year on the eastern coasts of South Africa and Mozambique—the so-called “Sardine Run.” To this day, the reason why it occurs cannot be precisely defined. There are various scientific theories, but some of them contradict each other.

Diving South Africa’s Sodwana Bay

The name “Sodwana” comes from the Zulu words Siso dwana, which mean “us alone.” History has it that a group of Zulu women were harvesting mussels on a deserted stretch of beach along the northern coast of KwaZulu-Natal when a landing party for the British Royal Navy came ashore and asked them who they were and what they were doing there.

Humpback whale migration

Since 2011, scientists in South Africa have observed an unusual event: large groups of humpback whales seen from mid-October to mid-December off the western coast of South Africa, between Cape Town and St. Helena Bay. During this time period, depending on weather and wind conditions, the Benguela Current brings krill, upon which the whales feed, northward from Antarctica.

Seeking the Dugong in Marsa Alam

Many years ago, whilst learning to scuba dive, I came across an article on manatees and dugongs. I was entranced. Not only were they cute, according to the article, they loved hugging divers, and once they held on to you, they did not want to let you go. The image of this human-hugging, underwater teddy bear remained with me and I was determined that one day, I would find one and hug it.

Sudan Safari

Colorful healthy reefs, Sudanese Red Sea. Photo by Rafa Fernandez.

From all over the world, more and more divers are coming to the Red Sea to discover its underwater paradise. The vast majority choose the Egyptian Red Sea as their main destination because it offers a wide variety of dive sites, suitable for all levels of diving; it is where one can travel all year round at a great price.

Macro in Mozambique

Giant frogfish at Doodles, Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique. Photo by Kate Jonker.

There’s a cartoon that pops up on social media every now and again of a diver photographing a tiny starfish on a rock as a beautiful shark glides above him. The diver continues to concentrate on the critter as his buddies try, without success, to catch his attention. Such is the life of a macro photographer, and such was my recent experience in Mozambique.

Sharks of the Protea Banks in South Africa

Divers with bull shark, Protea Banks, South Africa. Photo by Don Silcock.

The Protea Banks enjoys a reputation as one of the best places in South Africa to dive with sharks, and depending on the time of year, you can see up to seven different varieties, including ragged-tooth sharks, oceanic blacktip sharks, bull sharks, tiger sharks and three varieties of hammerhead sharks—scalloped, smooth and great hammerhead sharks. Often, these varieties are in large, if not astonishing, numbers.

Diving Gordon's Bay in South Africa

Gordon’s Bay is a sleepy seaside village in South Africa, nestled in the northeastern corner of False Bay, where the majestic Hottentots Holland mountain range dips its toes into the ocean. A quick 50-minute drive from Cape Town, Gordon’s Bay is surrounded by mountains and natural vegetation and the vibrant beauty of the countryside is mirrored beneath the waves.