Unless you’re a keen angler, the principal reason to come to Sodwana Bay is for the diving off the coral reefs that thrive here in the warm waters carried down the coast by the Agulhas current. The sea is clear, silt-free and perfect for spotting some of the 1200 varieties of fish that inhabit the waters off northern KwaZulu-Natal, making it second only to the Great Barrier Reef in its richness.
The closest reef to the bay, and consequently the most visited, is Two Mile Reef, 2km long and 900m wide, offering excellent dives. Among the others is Five Mile Reef, which is further north and is known for its miniature staghorn corals, while beyond that, Seven Mile Reef is inhabited by large anemone communities and offers protection to turtles and rays, which may be found resting here.
There’s excellent snorkelling at Jesser Point, a tiny promontory at the southern end of the bay. Just off here is Quarter Mile Reef, which attracts a wide variety of fish, including moray eels and rays. Low tide is the best time to venture out – a sign on the beach indicates daily tide times. You can buy competitively priced snorkels and masks (or rent them for R30 per day) from the dive shop at Sodwana Bay Lodge. Here you’ll also find a dive operation offering various diving courses, diving packages and scuba equipment rental. There is also a dive operator providing similar services at Coral Divers.