Sodwana, meaning “little one on it’s own” in Zulu, could as well mean  “little paradise on it’s own”, as it is a paradise for anyone with an interest  in the great outdoors.  Sodwana  Bay’s coral does not form a continuous reef but is clearly divided into a number  of reefs that run parallel to the shore, each one designated by its distance  from the launch site, Jesser Point.  They occur on the continental shelf which is approximately three  kilometres wide in this area. The reefs are off shore and can easily be reached  by boat. According to geologists the reef rock base on this coastline is late  Pleistocene sandstone, which are the remnants of ancient dunes and beaches that  were built up by the sea and wind and fossilised about 80 000 years ago when the  sea level was about 20 meters lower than it is at present. These reefs are part  of a series of reefs that run from Leven Point into Mozambique. Although called  coral reefs, they are an adapted form because they are not exposed above the  water surface during low tides and are not based on a thick primary coral reef  building base. Sodwana’s corals grow on rock reefs. These reefs tend to be flat  with low pinnacles, shallow drop-offs and gullies and range in depth from –8 m  to approximately –115 m. According to scientists who have studied the reefs at  Sodwana, they are at least 4 000 years old.

These reefs are one of the southern most coral reefs in the world and are even more  south than Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef has 1 800  species of fish and Sodwana which is 1/10 the size of the Great Barrier Reef has  1 200 species of fish, 6 of which are endemic to the Sodwana area. Therefore  your chances of seeing more species of fish are greater at Sodwana than at the  Great Barrier reef due to the concentration of the area that you are diving  on!.

The fairly unimaginable names of the reefs, Quarter Mile, Two Mile, Five  Mile, Seven Mile and Nine Mile, belie the beauty of these popular dive  sites.

Two mile is the largest of Sodwana’s known coral reefs and is also the  most dived upon.  The reef is about  1,7km (just over a mile) long and up to 900m (½ a mile) wide.  Strong currents or surges are rare and  it is therefore an excellent site for night dives.  The reef life differs in areas and the  diver can do a number of varied dives on this accessible reef.  The depths vary from a relatively  shallow 12m (40ft) to a maximum of 36 (120ft).

The surf launches are a unique and exciting experience.  Divers help to push the boat into the  shallows, jump in once the engines are started and then hold on tight as the  skilled skipper negotiates the waters.

Although every reef hosts its own territorial inhabitants, some of which  are very predictable, something new and unexpected often happens: perhaps a  visit from a school of dolphins or a brush with an enormous whale  shark.

The best months for diving Sodwana are from April through to September  with the best underwater visibility during May and June. The water temperature  is always above 21ºC (70ºF) with averages of around 24ºC (75ºF) rising to  heights of 28ºC (82ºF).