DIVE THE BIG 5 – SOUTH AFRICA

OFFERS A COMBINATION OF A REEF DIVING / WRECK DIVING / SHARK

DIVING ON ALIWAL SHOAL

ALIWAL SHOALS MARINE WILDLIFE INCLUDES:
TIGER SHARK
SAND TIGER SHARK | OCEANIC BLACKTIP SHARK | BOTTLE NOSE DOLPHIN | TURTLES | MANTA RAYS | HUMPBACK WHALES

 There is something for every diver on Aliwal, Throughout the year.

The “complete” dive destination, for all levels of diver.

THE REEF
Aliwal Shoal is a reef created out of fossilised sandstone, almost 80 000 years ago.
Aliwal is about 2½ km’s long with a width averaging 150 meters.
Depths very from 6 to 27 meters (20 to 90 ft.)
The shoal offers a tapestry of diversity to all level of Scuba diver.

THE TWO WRECKS ARE:
The Produce @ 32 meters.
The Nebo @ 27 meters.

DIVE THE BIG 5’s 5-night / 8-dive package:

Including: All transfers; accommodation on a fully inclusive basis (continental breakfast, hot “brunch, dinner); hire of tanks, weights and air-fills (full equipment hire available on request.)

 Suggested itinerary based on 2019 rates:

Full year 2019:

Arrive at King Shaka International Airport – Durban (DUR), own arrangements. After clearing immigration and customs you will be met by a representative of Dive The Big 5 for the 85 km or 1-hour road transfer to Umkomaas, and Agulhas House. On arrival at Agulhas House, you will be shown to your room and after you have settled in, Agulhas House staff will give you a lodge / dive briefing, complete all the paperwork, including checking your dive c-card and fill in, and sign, your indemnity form, and issue you your MPA Permit. (Marine Protection Agency Permit.) Agulhas House staff will take your hard gear that you have brought with you (BCD, DV), and you will then go to the kit and compressor room to select your rental gear and weights. If necessary, the staff will assemble your gear in preparation for tomorrows dives. Your kit is now ready for your diving adventure on Aliwal Shoal. Rest of the afternoon is free until dinner is served at about 19h00. Each evening, Agulhas House discuss and plan your next day’s tours, which are available after your dives have been completed. These local tours include complementary road transfers to the nearby Croc World; complementary road transfers to the nearby town of Scottburgh situated 10 km or 10-minutes drive from Agulhas House; complementary road transfers to the airstrip should you wish to do a microlight flight over the area; complementary road transfers to the beach for an afternoons beach walk;

complementary road transfers to “Kassie,” the local village for a “Cultural Township Tour.” This is a very popular afternoon excursion and includes a visit to the local “Sangoma” (Traditional Healer), a visit to the local market, a local “shabeen” (bar) tour, and a visit to the local “eating house” (shisanyama,) where you can savour some of the local  “traditional fare” like samp & beans, morogo (locally grown spinach), pap, sheeba, etc. And perhaps the most popular of all the excursions, a tour of the East Coast Brewery! A local micro-brewery. This tour can only be done on a Friday afternoon! Please note, all transfers are complementary, entry fees and gratuities are for your own account. Overnight at Agulhas House in an air-conditioned, en suite, double room, on a dinner, continental breakfast, and hot “brunch” basis.

Please note that Agulhas House is not licenced to sell liquor. Please advise Dive The Big 5, prior to your arrival in Durban, of your first night’s liquor requirements, if any, and we will arrange that Agulhas House to purchase it, on your behalf, prior to your arrival at Agulhas House.

Included:

“Meet & greet” on arrival at King Shaka International Airport – Durban
Road transfer from King Shaka International Airport – Durban to Agulhas House in Umkomaas
Accommodation in an air-conditioned, en suite double room at Agulhas House
Dinner

Excluded:

International air into King Shaka International Airport – Durban
Breakfast, Lunch, Bar
Items of a personal nature
Additional touring & entry fees
Gratuities.

Full year 2019:

After an early wake-up call, at about 06h00, you will have a light continental breakfast. Agulhas House staff will load your already assembled dive gear onto the dive boat which is still in its parking bay behind the lodge. At about 06h40 we assemble at the lodge for the first dive briefing before being transferred in a 4×4, from the lodge, for the 5 minute road transfer to the launch site, which is situated at Umkomaas River mouth lagoon. Once at the launch site we will have a second short dive briefing, instructions on boat safely, and be handed the lifejackets before we launch the “Duck” (Zodiac/ RIB) for your two scheduled wreck / reef dives on Aliwal Shoal, weather permitting.

All diving in South Africa is best done early in the morning, at dawn, as this is when there is no wind, no swell, no currents, and definitely the best time to dive. As the morning wears on, the winds tend to pick up causing a chop on the water, large swells, which result in unpleasant diving conditions.

The reefs of Aliwal Shoal are fossilised sandstone, almost 80 000 years ago. 80 000 years ago the area around the shoal consisted of sand dunes, and as a result of heavy rains, the sand and shale dissolved forming a compound of calcium carbonate, which today forms the main body of the shoal. These reefs are covered with both soft and hard corals and have an abundance of fish life that is normally associated with coral reef diving.

Aliwal is about 2½ km’s long with a width averaging 150 meters. Depths vary from 6 to 27 meters (19 to 88 ft.) and the shoal offers a tapestry of diversity. The Cathedral area of the reef is one of the more spectacular dives. Its inhabitants include the Ragged Tooth Shark (in season – June to October), Loggerhead Turtle, and Ribbon Tailed Rays.

In addition to the reef itself, there are also two good wrecks on which to dive. The Produce, an 18 000 ton Norwegian tanker that hit the Shoal and sank in 1974 and the second could be on the Nebo, which struck the shoal in May 1884 and sunk almost immediately with its cargo of railway material. The wrecks lie at approximately 27-meters (90-ft) and at 32-meters (110-ft) and both are fairly intact, which makes for great wreck diving.

After the second reef / wreck dive, you will return to Agulhas House at about 11h00 & 12h00, for a shower and a hot “brunch”/lunch. Agulhas House staff will look after most of your gear for you, rinsing it out in fresh water after each days diving, and washing it at the end of your stay at Agulhas House. Your wetsuit, booties etc will be left out to dry and will be ready for you in the gear room every morning. The rest of the afternoon is free. In addition to Croc World, Scottburgh, the micro-light flips, the beach walk, the Kassie Cultural Tour and the East Coast Brewery Tour, the other places of interest in the area are the nearby Tala Game Reserve, a Durban City Tour, a visit to uShaka Aquarium in Durban, a visit to the Natal Sharks Board, also in Durban, and an Oribi George tour. The costs of these tours have not been included in the cost of this itinerary and would be for your own account. Overnight at Agulhas House in an air-conditioned, en suite, double room, on a dinner, continental breakfast, and hot “brunch” basis.

Included:

Light continental breakfast
Road transfer to the launch site
Two guided wreck / reef dives
Hire of tanks, weights, and air, or full equipment hire, depending dive package requested
Nitrox airfills, if Nitrox certified
Services of a qualified dive master to lead all dives
MPA dive permit
Return road transfer to Agulhas House
Hot “brunch”/lunch
Complementary return road transfers to Croc World, Scottburgh, the micro-light landing strip, the beach, for an afternoon walk, the Kassie Cultural Tour and the East Coast Brewery Tour
Accommodation in an air-conditioned, en suite double room at Agulhas House
Dinner

Excluded:

Gear hire other than tanks, weights, & air, depending on the package requested
A baited shark dive @ ZAR 1 050 surcharge for a “baited shark dive”, for your own account
Additional dives, entry fees to Croc World, the Micro-light flight fee
Kassie Cultural tour fee
Brewery tour entry and beer tasting fees
Additional tours, touring & entry fees
Lunch, Dinner, Bar
Items of a personal nature
Gratuities

Full year 2019:

After the 06h00 wake-up call, you will have a light continental breakfast before being transferred to the Umkomaas River mouth lagoon to launch the “Duck” (Zodiac/ RIB) for your combination “baited” shark dive, which is followed by an Aliwal reef / wreck dive, weather permitting.

On a baited shark dive on Aliwal, in addition to your “target” species, if you have one, you can also expect to encounter Dusky Sharks and Oceanic Blacktip Reef Sharks, as these two species are present on Aliwal all year round. Sand Tiger Sharks (Raggies) are found on the Shoal from July through to November; Zambezi (Bull) Sharks are found on the Shoal almost throughout the year, with July, August and September being particularly “poor” months; Tiger Sharks are found on the Shoal throughout the year, with July, August and September being particularly “poor” months. Please remember, the Sharks haven’t read this e-mail, so they really have no idea where they are meant to be, and when! Mother Nature is in charge, and She sets Her own rules. All Shark Diving on Aliwal is seasonal, as it is everywhere else in South Africa. The modus operandi for a baited shark dive on Aliwal follows the same procedure as a “baited” shark dive that takes place anywhere in South Africa.

Shark Time Table

After the launch through the Umkomaas River Mouth, and negotiating the breakers, which has often been likened to “white water rafting in a wetsuit,” we head off for the dive site. Once we arrive at the dive site, we start chumming to attract the sharks, and put out a buoy with the bait, which is contained in a stainless steel “box” with holes in it so that the “smell” and oil from the mashed sardines in the “box” permeate into the water. When the first sharks appear, the DM assesses the situation, and if he is of the opinion that the sharks are going to stay around awhile and that they are not aggressive, the divers may enter the water. Either you can view the action from the “safety” of the boat, or for non-certified divers, on snorkel. Certified divers drop down to about 10-meters and follow the action from below. This is a “drift dive” as the boat, chum, and bait is drifting with the wind and surface current, as are the divers at 10-meters. Should the sharks disappear, the snorkelers and divers climb back onto the boat and we move to another location and start the process all over again.

And the most asked question!!! Why do we use a cage when diving with Great White’s, yet not when diving with Tigers, Bull Sharks etc? Are these Sharks not as dangerous? All wild animals in their natural environment are dangerous, but unlike Great Whites, who prey on live animals, Tiger and Bull Sharks are scavengers and prefer to eat something that’s already dead, rather than to hunt live prey. Let’s hope the Tiger Shark and Bull Shark agrees!!!

After your “baited” shark dive, you will spend the surface interval time on the dive boat out at sea, SIT is not much, as your average dive depth on a baited shark dive is only to 10-meters max. After the surface interval time, you will commence with your single tank reef / wreck dive on Aliwal Shoal. Water and light refreshments are provided on board the dive boat in between dives. After the dive, you will return to Agulhas House at between 11h00 & 12h00 for a shower and “brunch.” Whilst you are enjoying “brunch” Agulhas House staff will look after your dive gear for you, rinsing it in fresh water after each days diving, and washing it at the end of your stay at Agulhas House. Your wetsuit, booties etc will be left out to dry and will be ready for you in the gear room every morning. The rest of the afternoon is free. In addition to Croc World, Scottburgh, the micro-light flips, the beach walk, the Kassie Cultural Tour and the East Coast Brewery Tour, for which the transfers from Agulhas House to the destination, return are complementary, the other places of interest in the area are the nearby Tala Game Reserve, a Durban City Tour, a visit to uShaka Aquarium in Durban, a visit to the Natal Sharks Board, also in Durban and an Oribi George tour. The costs of these tours have not been included in the cost of this itinerary and would be for your own account. Overnight at Agulhas House in an air-conditioned, en suite, double / twin room, on a dinner, continental breakfast, and hot “brunch” basis.

Included:

Light continental breakfast; road transfer to the launch site
“Baited” shark dive followed by a 1-tank guided reef / wreck dive
Hire of tanks, weights, and air, or full equipment hire, depending dive package requested
Nitrox airfills, if Nitrox certified
Services of a qualified dive master to lead all dives
MPA dive permit
Return road transfer to Agulhas House
Hot “brunch”/lunch; complementary return road transfers to Croc World, Scottburgh, the micro-light landing strip, the beach, for an afternoon walk, the Kassie Cultural Tour, and the East Coast Brewery Tour
Accommodation in an air-conditioned, en suite double / twin room at Agulhas House
Dinner

Excluded:

Gear hire other than tanks, weights, & air, depending on the package requested
A baited shark dive @ ZAR 1 050 surcharge for a “baited shark dive”, for your own account
Additional dives, entry fees to Croc World, Micro-light flight fee
Kassie Cultural tour fee
Brewery tour entry and beer tasting fees
Additional tours, touring & entry fees
Items of a personal nature
Gratuities
Bar

Full year 2019:

After a leisurely breakfast at Agulhas House, the first since setting foot on African soil, you will have the rest of the day free until you get collected from Agulhas House in Umkomaas by a representative of Dive The Big 5 for the return 85 km / 1-hour road transfer to King Shaka International Airport – Durban, to arrive at King Shaka International Airport – Durban, 2-hours before your return flight home is scheduled to depart King Shaka International Airport – Durban. End of services.

Included:

Breakfast
Return road transfer from Agulhas House – Umkomaas to King Shaka International Airport – Durban

Excluded:

Additional tours and touring
Entry fees to places of interest visited
Lunch, Dinner, Bar
Onward flights
Accommodation
Items of a personal nature
Gratuities

Costs for the trip:

Cost based on 2-divers sharing with full equipment hire:

ZAR 14 540

per diver sharing.

Cost based on 2-divers sharing with the hire of tanks, weights, and air only:

ZAR 13 770

per diver sharing.

Additional days can be added to the above itinerary as follows:

Additional day of going a 2-tank Aliwal wreck / reef dive only:

With full equipment hire:

ZAR 2 215 per diver, per day, including all transfers & accommodation on a B&B basis.


With tanks, weights and air fills only:

ZAR 1 990 per diver, per day, including all transfers & accommodation on a B&B basis.

Additional day of going a combination baited shark dive and a 1-tank Aliwal reef or wreck dive:

With full equipment hire:

ZAR 3 285 per diver, per day, including all transfers & accommodation on a B&B basis.


With tanks, weights and air fills only:

ZAR 3 090 per diver, per day, including all transfers & accommodation on a B&B basis.

Water Temperatures in Aliwal Shoal

Useful Information:

Where is Protea Banks in South Africa

Similar 5-night, 6 reef dive / 2 baited shark dive packages are available for diving Protea Banks.

As is a 5-night / 8 x 2-Mile reef dive package available for diving Sodwana Bay, and a a 5-night / 8 x “House Dive” reef dive package available for diving Barra / Tofo in Mozambique.

If you are interested, please enquire by e-mailing Dive The Big 5 on info@divethebig5.com

The above itinerary and cost is subject to change.