Pisces Diving Sodwana Bay - This Truly is a Place of Miracles!
Diving for anyone, come see the the untouched beaches of Sodwana Bay and expeirience a dive that will be unforgettable.
Pisces Diving is an owner operated PADI Resort, Dive School and Scuba Charter, established in 1994. We operate full time from the unspoiled shores of Sodwana Bay, situated in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa’s first World Heritage Site established in 1999.
We strive to create a memorable visit, from the moment we pick you up from the beach parking, till your safe departure. We guarantee professional service of the highest quality, with safety as our most important priority.
We cater for every level of diver – from first timers, to our scuba diving pioneers with more dives than you can count. We cater for groups, schools, clubs and individuals. Impi, our 8-meter semi-rigid super duck with brand new twin 115 Mercury engines is custom made to ensure your comfort – we have more than enough space for you, all your technical gear and your fancy cameras.
The reefs that can be dived you can find on the additional information.
Vital Information: You need to make sure you are in good health if something is wrong you will not be able to scuba dive.
Dive till the tank empties
Any diving participants can come and dive!
Please contact us to ask about any special offers we have at the moment.
Whatever you like dress for the beach. Equipment is supplied, bring your own equipment if you have.
Diving is available all year round so come when you can and see the beauties of the ocean.
No crowds, no cooks, no town clowns.
Click to See Additional Info on this Adventure
With the Pisces Team’s extensive knowledge of not only the pristine marine ecosystems Sodwana Bay has to offer, but also the enchanting historical background of the land known as “Little one on its own” a.k.a. Sodwana Bay.
Sodwana Bay is a place where golden shores are caressed by the warm Indian Ocean, it hosts one of the Top 10 dive destinations in the world as well as the world’s highest naturally vegetated sand dunes.
Where else in the world can you dive in the morning and see the Big 5 or have sundowners at our incredible lake systems in the afternoon? Sodwana Bay is home to the oldest fish – the coelacanth and the largest sea animal – the whale. We have the oldest land animal – the rhinoceros and even have the largest land animal in our many neighbouring parks – the elephant.
Our highly trained DM’s have attended a Reef Orientation Course and a Fish ID Course to ensure you get the best of the best.
Pre-and post-dive briefings are held at our gazebo before and after each dive by the dive leader (Dive Master or Instructor). We cover everything from the boat procedures, our safe diving practices, where we are diving and what you can expect to see there, this is done with the use of our marine reference books on the beach and as we dive every day, we know where to find what you are looking for!
We like to encourage a relaxed environment so you get to enjoy your diving holiday to the fullest. Our dive times are based solely on the depth and maximum allowable bottom times. Why cut your dive short when you have more than enough air and are nowhere near deco limits?
After the dive, we offer you a fresh, juicy fruit. We believe in healthy living and protecting our environment by not having lollipop packets everywhere. After your dive, the Pisces Diving Beach Crew will wash your gear in equipment and environmentally friendly shampoo, we also provide fresh water buckets for your cameras and dive computers.
Boat based snorkel and Ocean Experience trips for divers & non-divers alike (Children are welcome – conditions dependent)
Double tank dives for groups from 2 to 6 divers (We do 2 dives whilst out at sea and take along refreshments for during dives whilst we enjoy the SIT on the boat chatting about the dives or snorkelling)
PADI and NAUI Scuba Courses
NIGHT DIVES – WE ARE THE PRIMARY NIGHT DIVE OPERATOR IN SODWANA BAY
SARDINE RUN – Port St John’s (Pricing & Details on request)
Scuba-diving excursions for all qualified divers
Pisces Family get-togethers
Scuba Diving internships – individual and personal training
Sodwana Bay is home to the southernmost coral reefs in Africa. Each reef in Sodwana in measured in miles by its distance from our sheltered launch site called Jesser Point. Our reefs are special in that their coral is layered up on sandstone and are the remains of the ancient sand dunes – our reefs are believed to be 4000 years old! There are over 1200 species of fish and about 95 species of hard and soft corals, sponges and other invertebrates recorded in Sodwana Bay.
¼ Mile Reef
Maximum depth: 14m
Minimum depth: 8m
This reef has a lot of wave action, but is densely populated with coral. It is inhabited by Turtles, Fusiliers, Snappers, Paperfish, Ghost Pipefish, Devil Firefish, Scorpion Fish and Nudibranchs. Game fish are regularly encountered. Between December and February every year, ragged tooth sharks visit the reef for part of their gestation period.
During this period the reef is only open for dives if the authorities so decide, ensuring an undisturbed ‘human’ impact that it is strictly controlled, with only qualified DM’s being authorised to lead dives here.
2 Mile Reef
Maximum depth: 35m
Minimum depth: 9m
The most popular dive site in Sodwana. 2 Mile Reef is approximately 2km long and about 1km wide. After all our years diving in Sodwana Bay, we still haven’t dived the complete 2 Mile Reef. It is massive with diverse topography. This reef offers everything from walls, pinnacles, gullies and caves to Sharks, Rays, Nudibranchs, Schooling Fish, Dolphins, Shrimps, Paperfish, Potato Bass, Manta Rays, Octopus, Sponge Corals, Anemones, Whip Corals……….. we could go on and on. It is the ultimate dive site that is dive able in most weather conditions as it is perfectly placed in our protected bay. Perfect for students and Advanced divers.
4 Mile Reef
Maximum depth: 20m
Minimum depth: 16m
This is an amazing dive site that is a Pisces favourite. 4 Mile Reef stretches perpendicular to the shore line with a large wall, sand patches, canyons, gullies and bommies. Buoyancy is even more important here, because of the large delicate Plate Coral that cover the reef. We have seen it all here from the tiny Orangutan Crab to losing count of the amount of Bluefin King Fish hunting on the reef.
5 Mile Reef
Maximum depth: 35m
Minimum depth: 15m
The 5 Mile Reef system is made up of many smaller reef systems. The most popular being Ribbon and Uniform, both are special in their own unique way. Ribbon is made up of two separate reefs joined together by ‘stepping stones.’ The reef is home to Devil Firefish, big Parrotfish, Moray Eels, Paperfish, Pipefish, both the Raggy and Tasseled Scorpionfish and loads of Nudibranchs. Named after the uncommon Ribbon Eels that reside here. When diving Uniform reef, you feel like you are entering an alien planet. The reef gets its name because of the layers upon layers of Pachyseris Coral. Special fish sightings include, the Tiger and Swallowtail Angelfish, Smooth Rock Cod and Gilded Triggerfish.
6 Mile Reef
Maximum depth: 25m
Minimum depth: 18m
One of the newest discovered reefs in Sodwana Bay. The reef is named after the large shoals of Blue Banded Snappers. This is a wide-angle photographers dream, where the Snappers are joined by schools of Slingers, Goatfish and Fusiliers.
Maximum depth: 47m
Minimum depth: 40m
If you love sharks then this dive is for you! This site is dived by few because of the depth qualification limits. The ocean offers no guarantees, but you can see it all from the tiny Bornella Valdae Nudibranch to giant Bull Sharks and schooling Hammerheads.
7 Mile Reef
Maximum depth: 25m
Minimum depth: 14m
One of Sodwana Bay’s most popular dive sites and voted one of the Top 10 dive sites in the world. 7 Mile Reef will blow your mind with its stunning topography and abundant fish life. Schools of Snappers, Goatfish and Slingers surround you as you dive along the Northern Wall and make your way into the Amphitheater. From there you get Castle Rock and Mushroom Rocks, huge top-heavy boulders surrounded by sand and home to Batfish, Turtles and Sharks. 7 Mile is the reef with the most sightings of the Great White Shark.
8 Mile Reef
Maximum depth: 29m
Minimum depth: 14m
8 Mile Reef is special because of its unique layout. This reef is ‘L-shaped’ and can be dived by both Open Waters and Advanced Divers. The shallower part running north – south looks like 2 Mile with gullies, swim-through, ledges and pinnacles – it has all the fish 2 Mile Reef has to offer packed into a much smaller space. The east – west section is deeper going down to a maximum of 29m, you dive along a small ledge keeping your eyes open for anything macro. Special sightings include Sea Apples, Cuttlefish, Devil Firefish and Octopus.
9 Mile Reef
Maximum depth: 25m
Minimum depth: 3m
The main attraction on this reef is the Green Coral Tree. It stands about 2m high on its own ledge surrounded by Goldie’s and Rubberlips. The main reef is made up of large swim-through and caves. On perfect days, with flat seas you can get the rare chance to dive Breaking waters which is about 3m-10m deep and situated right on the backline. Because it is seldom dived the fish are very inquisitive and love playing in your bubbles. This part of the reef is mind blowing when the sun shines on the white sand through clear water. We’ve been lucky enough to have Bottlenose Dolphins drop in for a visit.
PREPARING FOR YOUR DIVE TRIP
Certification Cards and Logbooks
We are going to want to see them. If you have misplaced them, let us know so we can do an online check. You cannot dive without proof of certification.
Maintained and serviced equipment
It is important to check and service your equipment regularly. Your survival underwater depends on your equipment.
Refresh your dive and dive emergency skills
You can do this at home before your dive holiday by going over your manual and talk diving with your buddy.
Book your refresher course with us
If it’s been a while since your last dive or you have just bought a new piece of equipment, we strongly recommend doing a refresher course with us. Rather refresh your skills and get to know your gear in the comfort of a pool with one of our Instructors, than jumping into the unknown in the ocean.
BEFORE THE DIVE
Are you physically and mentally fit to dive
You should ask yourself this before every dive. There is nothing wrong with cancelling a dive if you do not feel 100%. Here are a few examples of what to ask yourself:
Am I congested, or have I recently recovered from a cold?
Can I equalize easily and without difficulty?
Do I feel tired, sick or cold?
Did I party too much last night?
Am I certified to participate in this dive? – if not talk to us about what course we can offer you.
Assess the conditions
Although 9/10 times we have stunning, calm and easy dive conditions, these can turn into hair-raising conditions. Through years of experience in these waters, our team will make a safety call based on years of experience and good judgement. If at any time we feel the dive or launch is dangerous or that it simply will not be enjoyable, we will cancel the dive, as we are putting your safety and enjoyment first.
You also need to ask yourself, whether you should dive, based on your personal experience and comfort.
Equipment prep and checks
It is your responsibility to do your equipment checks on the beach before we go out on the dive. It is important that each person in the buddy team understands and can use each other’s equipment, in case of an emergency.
Listen to the dive briefing, we cover all the emergency procedures so that every diver on the dive knows what to do should something happen.
The basic hand signals are universal, but there are some differences – you don’t want to be underwater and not understand what your buddy or the dive master is trying to say.
We dive off a semi ridged inflatable boat and launch through surf. If you have never been on a boat like ours, make sure you get a full boat briefing from our skipper.
Pre-dive safety check
On the boat, our dive master will perform a pre-dive safety check, but it’s important that you conduct your own check with your buddy.
Buoyancy – make sure the low-pressure inflator hose is connected and that your BCD inflates and deflates completely.
Weights – is your weight system in place (belt or integrated) and is it a quick release buckle.
Releases – are all straps and buckles secure? Including the cylinder strap.
Air – take a couple of breaths from your regulator while looking at your SPG and make sure your needle does not fluctuate. Should your needle fluctuate your air is not properly open.
Final OK – have a look at your buddy from head to toe. Mask on, fins on, computer on.
ON THE DIVE
It is important to equalize your ears early and often especially while descending. It is not a race to the bottom. Come down our buoy line at your own pace, in a controlled manner. We will not leave you alone and start the dive without you.
Never hold your breath
This is the most important rule of scuba diving, as it can lead to serious injury. Overexpansion injuries can occur with slight pressure changes, so it is vital that you continue to breath slowly and normally throughout the dive.
Show respect to the marine life
This goes hand in hand with good buoyancy control as well as the no touch rule. Having and maintaining good buoyancy not only makes your dive more enjoyable and helps with your air consumption, it also protects our marine life, by keeping our fins and gauges off the reef. We are only visiting and want to leave the reef exactly as we found it. We follow the three “T’s” of diving. No Touching, No Taking, No Teasing.
Besides Never Hold Your Breath an equally important rule is Never Dive Alone. Buddy teams are important for diver safety and enjoyment.
The more relaxed you are and the slower you move, the longer your air will last and the more you will see. It’s that simple. Diving is meant to be fun, if you surface from your dive tired and out of breath, you are not diving correctly.
Although all our dives are guided by a Pisces Dive Master, it is still your responsibility to stay in your buddy team, follow the dive master, check your own air gauges, depth gauges and dive computer.
In your Open Water course, you learnt about dive planning and the different tools we have available to us to plan our dive. It is important to plan your dive and then dive your plan. Know your depth and maximum allowable bottom time and do not over stay your welcome – this could lead to decompression and air supply issues.
Slowly ascend from every dive. Your computer will work out the ascend rate for you, otherwise a rule of thumb is to follow your smallest bubble. Remember to never inflate your BCD for ascent, this will result in an uncontrolled run-away ascent that could lead to DCI.
We make a safety stop at 5m for 3min after every dive.
AFTER THE DIVE
Once you have surfaced from your dive, immediately get positively buoyant by inflating your BCD until you can float comfortably. Stay with the buoy line, until our skipper has acknowledged you. Keep your eyes on the boat as it approaches. Keep your mask on your face and either your regulator or snorkel in your mouth. Once the boat is with you, hold onto it, don’t let go and follow the instruction from the skipper.
Take part in the debriefing. This is a fantastic way to learn from other divers, ask questions, talk about what you have seen and plan your next dive.
Pisces Diving, Sodwana Bay
Coming from Durban, stay on the N2 through Hluhluwe to reach Sodwana Bay. In other words, north of Durban: three hours by car.
S 27° 32' 30.851'' E 32° 40' 44.767''