A land of contrasts, South Africa captures the imagination. Vibrant cultures live together here, in a unique melting pot of Europe, United States and Africa.
The coast of this wild and fascinating land face two Oceans, Atlantic and Indian, whose waters meet in Cape Agulhas, the southest point of the Country.
Discover Cape Town and the magical Table Mountain, the scenic wonder of the coast, and the vast habitats where wildlife roam.
Experienced divers can make adventure dives, wich often begin in isolated beaches, where pangas depart to sites patroled by top predators, including the great white shark.
The best dive sites, like Sodwana and Aliwal Shoal, are located in the east; a real must is cage diving in Dyer Island to observe great whites.
Climate: South Africa has a nice climate year round, with warm winters and hot, dry summers. The coldest months are June and July; the warmest are December and January.
Best time of year: south african spring is the best time to visit the Country. In particular, September and October are the best months to experience the National Parks north of Johannesburg, because the vegetation is short and it is easier to spot wild animals.
Where to stay: Winchester Mansion Hotel, Cape Town (www.winchester.com.za) conveniently located, in front of the Ocean, a few minutes drive from Cape Town and, on the other side, from the beautiful beaches of Clifton e Camps Bay.
Diving centers: Dive South (www.divesouth.co.za); Aliwal Dive Center (www.aliwalshoal.co.za); Sodwana Bay Lodge Scuba Center (www.sodwanadiving.co.za)
For cage diving with the great white sharks you must depart from Gansbaai (two hours driving from Cape Town) and reach Dyer Island and Geyser Island, separated by a channel known as Shark Alley. The best operators are Andre Hartman (www.andrehartman.com) and Chris Fallows (www.apexpredators.com).
Best dive sites: Aliwal Shoal (The Cathedral, Raggy Cave, The Pinnacles, Protea Banks); Sodwana (Two Mile Reef, Five Mile Reef, Seven Mile Reef, Nine Mile Reef); for cage diving with great whites, Shark Alley, Dyer Island.
Must see: Cape Town; the Table Mountain; the beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay; the Cape of Good Hope National Park (watch out for baboons!); Boulders Beach’s penguins; Kruger National Park.
For the most adventurous divers, some operators (www.sardinerun.com) organize snorkeling and diving in the middle of the huge sardine schools. The phenomenon occurs from May to July and is a magnet for predators like seabirds, dolphins, seals, sharks, mantas, whales: a very extreme dive right in the middle of one of the most amazing scene of the animal kingdom.
Diver’s tip: the dives I suggest, apart from cage diving, are for experienced divers. We’re talking about intense dives with strong currents, big sourge and lot of big sharks like raggies, tigers and even great whites.