Diving Plettenberg Bay

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Plettenberg Bay, South Africa

Nudibranch in Plettenberg Bay
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Country: South Africa  Area: South Africa

Water Temp: 16 - 22°C (61 - 72°F)

Visibility: 1 - 15m (3 - 49 ft)

Depth Range: 6 - 30m (20 - 98 ft)

Seal colony January December
Southern Right whales July November
Humpback whales June December

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Locally known as Plett, Plettenberg Bay is on South Africas Garden Route. Most visitors will stop here on their journey through, but it's certainly a destination worth a longer stay. It has lots of outdoor and adrenalin activities, 10km of beach, whale and dolphin watching and many other attractions to keep you entertained. For divers its and unrivalled opportunity to dive with the playful and curious Cape Fur Seal.

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Seals can often be seen in the surf off Robberg Beach. Southern right whales are a common sight in the bay during their breeding season from July to December. Bryde's whales frequent the bay throughout the year being the most sighted during the summer months. Humpback whales migrate past during July and December. Plettenberg Bay also boasts three species of dolphins which visit the bay throughout the year, these being the Bottlenosed dolphin, the Common dolphin and the endangered Humpback dolphin.  Pansy shells are symbolic of the town and endemic to the coast. The distinctive flower-shaped seashell can be found on the beach at low tide.

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Marine Conservation

There is a conservation project underway to monitor the ragged tooth shark in order to understand better and therefore conserve this species. Participation is only for advanced divers.

Plett underwater, Credit

Climate

Summer is October to March 27°C (80.6°F) with the warmest month on the whole being January. The coldest and driest month is July, the temperature can drop to 5-10 °C (41-50°F) and the wettest month is March.

Other Year round Marine Life

Cape fur Seal, Octopus, Leopard Shark, Pyjama Shark, Humpback Dolphin, Bottlenosed Dolphin, Bryde’s whale & more!

 

Dive,marine life information & photos kindly provided by: Pro Dive Plettenberg Bay

 
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Diving in Plett is year around with the best conditions to be had in the summer. Clearly the big draw here is the Cape Fur Seal and the chance to dive with them on the Robberg Peninsula. There is much else to recommend the diving here though: cuttlefish, wobbegongs, pyjama sharks, leopard sharks, puffadder shysharks, cuttlefish, octopus, sea spiders, scorpion fish and the possibility of diving with dolphins against a colourful backdrop of sponges, corals and seastars.

Shore Diving

Red Bait Reef (Depth: 6m - 9m) Minimum Qualification: Entry Level

This is a delightful introductory dive to the area and conditions. Lots of juvenile reef fish, cuttlefish and shysharks are regularly spotted amongst the colourful anemones, urchins and sponges. Easily accessible and lots of natural light so take your camera!

Shallow Blinders (Depth: 10m - 13m) Minimum Qualification: Entry Level

This spot is reached after a short swim from the shore. This large reef is home to lots of fish, Ragged-tooth sharks, pyjama sharks, leopard sharks and puffadder shysharks. It is common to encounter rays, cuttlefish and boxfish on the swim out. Colourful nudibranchs, inquisitive octopus, sea spiders and scorpion fish inhabit the reef and make the spot ideal for macro photography.

The Wall(Depth: 10m - 13m) Minimum Qualification: Entry Level

This pinnacle rises from 10m to just below the surface and is covered in many colourful invertebrate species. Strawberry anemones, blue choirboys, orange wall sponges and purple soft corals are a feast to the eye.

Plett Seastar, Credit

Boat Diving

Jacob's Reef (Depth : 10m - 16m) Minimum Qualification: Open Water

Only a five minute boat ride from the Beacon Isle it is characterized by a large pinnacle, a spectacular wall covered in every type of soft corals. Large sea fans draped by Basket Starfish and groups of Shysharks resting in the small gullies. Reef fish are abundant, large Red Romans, Zebras and Blacktails dart around you and numerous species of nudibranchs, orange wall sponge and purple soft coral is a sight to behold.

Dolphin's Column (Depth: 14 - 16m) Minimum Qualification: Open Water

This site is regularly visited by pods of Bottlenose Dolphins! The reef is covered in a multitude of sea fans, sea stars and sponges, nudibranchs, reef fish and octopus.

Deep Blinders (Depth: 13m - 16m) Minimum Qualification: Open Water

Lots of fish species to see and rays are often spotted on the sand beside the reef.

Sites a bit more out there.

Although a bit longer boat ride one is often rewarded with sightings of dolphins, seals, hammerhead sharks and whales.

Beautiful Plettenberg bay, Credit

The Island (Depth: 12m - 18m) Minimum Qualification: Open Water

The Island is located on the spectacular Robberg Peninsula and boasts a large amphitheatre packed with marine life including fish such as Janbruin, Cape Knifejaw and many species of colourful nudibranchs.

Grootbank (Depth: 20m - 30m) Minimum Qualification: Advanced

This extensive reef includes varied topography and rich marine life. Numerous caves, swim through and drop-offs create a spectacular maze with ragged-tooth sharks often sighted year round. Red Roman, Yellowbelly Rock Cod and Pyjama Shysharks are among the most commonly sighted fish species. Beautifully unspoiled and covered in a vibrant array of soft corals, sponges and fans.

Playground (Depth: 16m - 30m) Minimum Qualification: Advanced

Enormous reef characterised by large terraces rising magnificently from 24m to within 10m of the surface. It is situated near the Tsitsikamma National Park and the reef is vibrant and unspoilt. This is a great opportunities to spot sharks and game fish.

Whale Rock (Depth: 20m - 30m) Minimum Qualification: Advanced

Situated just off Robberg Peninsula it hosts seals from the nearby colony. A definite must do for the adventurous diver.

Cape Fur Seal, Credit

Seal Dives

Robberg Peninsula "Mountain of Seals" is home to a colony of Cape Fur Seals. Seals, so ungainly on land, are transformed into the most graceful creatures underwater. Inquisitive and investigating with large, intelligent eyes they follow the divers as they swim amongst them, blowing bubbles and moving in for a closer look - this is a once in a lifetime diving encounter!

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How to Get there

Most visitors take in Plettenberg Bay as part of their exploration of the Garden Route. To get there directly . However, you can fly from Cape Town or Johannesburg to either George or Port Elizabeth Airport, which are 1 hour and 2 hours’ drive away respectively.

The Road to Plett, Credit

 

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Where to Eat & Drink

Plett has a vast variety of food offerings at range of price points. From seafood and fish to African, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, pies and take-away too.  Dine on the main street, at the beach, at the look out or just out of town.    

A very inviting spot to watch the waves, Credit

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Other Activities

Visitors can explore under their own steam and hike, canoe, cycle or kayak.  Jump on a cruise and whale, seal and dolphin watch or if you prefer a more leisurely pace float along the Keurbooms River on a relaxing ferry journey and enjoy the nature reserves scenery slipping passed. There’s 20km of the stunning beach to explore or laze on with some of the best wave action for surfing. If you have ever fancied taking a cheetah for a walk then, Tenikwa Wildlife Sanctuary is the place to go.

Investigate tree tops with forest Canopy tours, Bungee off the of the Bloukrans bridge, visit Birds of Eden, Lawnwood Snake Sanctuary, Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary, Radical Raptors and Elephant Sanctuary, Puzzle Park, Adventure world, Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary and game viewing at Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve. Take a road trip to Tsitsikamma, Knysna or Nature Valley.

Garden Route, Credit

Family Friendly

Children will love all the ocean animal spotting opportunities, the white beaches and river are great places to relax and to swim but if they prefer dry land, there are plenty of land-dwelling animals to capture their imagination. Monkey Land is close by and Knysnas Elephant Park is only a short drive from Plett with the Tenikwa Wildlife Sanctuary just a little bit further.  The shallower bay dives are suitable for beginner divers too if they fancy diving.

The hiking trial on Robber Peninsula and the small coves and secluded beaches are breath-taking and a must see. Plettenberg Bay it closely situated to Tsitsikamma forest area and the Marine Protected Area. The rugged coast can be explored by means of various hiking trails, rivers and gorges and swing bridges. Other activities include Forest Canopy tours, Bloukrans Bundy jumping, Birds of Eden, Lawnwood Snake Sanctuary,  Puzzle Park, Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary and Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve.

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Tips

The seal dive is popular, if you want to be assured a spot, book at least a week in advance. 

Flower in the meadow, Credit

You can bring your own SCUBA gear or hire. The bay also boasts great surfing, kite surfing, kayaking, sea swimming and adventure boating. When you plan your trip contact and feel free to ask any questions about desired accommodation, entertainment and security. Plett is a friendly small town with helpful people ready to make you feel at home. There are some golden rules to follow and we are able to give personal tips, just ask.             

 

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