Aliwal Shoal

Underwater National Park

Let your adventure start! Learn more about what the shoal has to offer!

A scuba diving hotspot, recognised worldwide as one of the world's top ten scuba diving reefs


The PADI Discover Scuba® course allows you to discover the freedom of scuba for the first time. From beginners to professional, we offer a wide range of PADI and SSI courses.

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All-year round scuba diving with energetic Oceanic Blacktip Sharks, Ragged Tooth Sharks visit the Aliwal Shoal every winter by the hundreds

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Often referred to as The Greatest Shoal on Earth, South Africa’s Sardine Run is undoubtedly one of the world’s most incredible natural phenomenons.

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Aliwal Shoal Scuba Beach Lodge offers stunning self catering accommodation to suit every need. Economical Backpackers and Luxury Private Suite

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Aliwal Shoal Discovered!

The year 1849 marked an event that literally put Aliwal Shoal on the map. Captain James Anderson, who captained a vessel aptly named “Aliwal” discovered the northern pinnacle by chance and managed to avoid disaster. He submitted a report shortly afterwards in the Natal Witness in 1850 stating that he had discovered a previously uncharted pinnacle with large waves at times. In his news article he called upon the public at large to inform all captains and skippers of his findings.


Three ships , the  SS Nebo(1884), The Griqualand(1970) and Produce(1974) consequently sunk fairly close by. A lighthouse was commissioned and from that time period onwards the it has been faithfully guiding ships away from the danger zone.

A hundred years later the site was explored by scuba divers for the first time. Three decades later a thorough exploration of the reef was conducted to see if the Aliwal shoal had any commercial potential for a fast-growing scuba diving sport.

Fish a plenty!

The small town of Umkomaas became a scuba diving hotspot and is recognised as one of the top ten scuba diving reefs worldwide, primarily because of its unique structure, reef life, abundance of sharks and sub-tropical waters. There is no other dive site like it, with over 1200 documented fish species, many types of soft corals, some varieties of hard corals also thrive in cooler waters on the reef along with a variety of sea sponges, invertebrates, nudibranchs, cephalopods and a host of diverse sea life. The reef is also visited by pelagic fish species, dolphins, whales, and most importantly, sharks. Large groups of ragged tooth sharks trickle onto the reef in winter, bringing an attraction second to none.


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