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About Us

At Tidal Tao, we are dilly, silly and plain old passionate about the ocean and our neighborhood of Salt Rock, near Ballito, on the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal. This is possibly some of the best snorkeling expediences South Africa has to offer, year round warm water, incredible fish and marine life, all in shallow, safe, protected areas.

The coastline, known as the Dolphin Coast (just north of Durban) between Ballito and Sheffield Beach, offers a surprising underwater wonderland. The coastline here is a wilderness, a wilderness that rivals any big game reserve or national park in it's size and diversity of animal species, we see whales on ancient migrations pass our way each winter, dolphins playing in the surf, we have recorded over 150 species of fish in water less than waist deep, over 15 nudibranchs not yet known to science, some of the southern most shallow water corals in the world. It's a special place and worth protecting. We estimate that you see about 5% of what is actually in the water, stick your head under with a mask and snorkel and an entirely new world is suddenly opened up to you. And that is our mission, to just get people in the water, exposed to the amazing variety of life in our oceans in the hope that you will be as amazed and appreciative of this natural beauty as we are.  

We really hope you join us on a snorkeling trip and you can see first hand what we get so excited about. Find our more about our snorkeling trips here 

To find out more about how you can get involved in our conservation work Click Here to find out more about Our Conservation Projects. 

If you can swim, then we can teach you to snorkel. If you're wondering what to do in Ballito or looking for things to do in Salt Rock, then a snorkel with Tidal Tao is a must. Fun and safe for the entire family. We have 5 star ratings on Trip Advisor, safe, reliable and focus on small groups with personal attention. We hope you join us and see for yourself what we get so excited about 

Michelle Morris Michy Morris, founder / owner of Tidal Tao is our main guide, official Nudibranch spotter and wave watcher. Michy has been in the ocean since she can remember, surfer girl extraordinaire and critter spotter of note.  Michy has been involved in a wide range of conservation and tourism initiatives through our sister company ETC-Africa, dealing with tourism planning through to carbon footprint management. The ocean is where Michy feels most at home and a snorkeling trip with her will leave you understanding just why she loves the salt water so much. Michy is known for her amazing patience, great with kids in the water and ability to find you some amazing creatures underwater. 
Junior Gabela is our Tidal Trail guide and environmental education guide, starting out his career as a BirdLife South Africa Accredited Bird Guide in Amatikulu Nature Reserve, Junior has also grown a successful canoe and birding tourism company in the area. When not guiding, Junior works with groups of rural school children introducing them to the wonders of nature. Junior has also spent many years working on various monitoring projects along the coast focused around estuary ecosystems, so he knows his stuff. Junior is a hive of information, has a insatiable appetite for finding new things and one of the friendliest guides you will ever meet....and as dilly about the ocean as he is about birding, be warned, he is a twitcher of note. Did we mention that he somehow manages to juggle a family life too? 
Andre Steenkamp is our environmental education specialist and leads our very popular night walks. Andre is probably one of the world's best environmental educators and dripping with enthusiasm. His sense of humour (which can be rather shocking at times, so prepare yourselves) will have you in stitches. If you ask Andre what he is interested in, he will say "everything" ...Andre has an incredible pool of knowledge of virtually every critter you come across, from the strange shell on the beach to the ants in your kitchen, Andre will be able to tell you something about it that will make you say "wow"  - on the downside, Andre is terrified of cold water, but he survives in the ocean OK. 
Duncan Pritchard Duncan Pritchard leads most of our environmental / conservation efforts, a passionate underwater photographer with a background environmental issues, non profit organizations and land based conservation. He has worked in conservation and tourism across the globe, from Australia to Botswana to Canada and Mexico. “with all my years of exploring the ocean and being passionate about snorkeling, I've never had such a variety of marine life, so easily accessible from the shore, and all that in a semi urban built up area, Snorkeling the Dolphin Coast is amazing and conserving this treasure has become our mission”
Sharon Koen hails from Sodwana Bay and a qualified Dive master, emergency first responder, rescue diver..and passionate conservationist other words, she knows her stuff.  Sharon has a seriously good eye for finding nudibranch's ...and when you see these cool critters you'll know just why she enjoys them so much. If you ask Sharon why she enjoys guiding and snorkeling her answer is "To see a persons face once they see what is below them, especially the kids and people who don’t know the ocean very well, its such an amazing feeling being part of that type of happiness and discovery of another person." .....a rare enthusiasm and passion for the ocean. 

What are we all about, well to sum it up with a few words ....

  • We want to share the ocean and the seriously magnificent coastline that we have on the North Coast with everyone who visits here 
  • We want people to stop, look and understand that the coastline isn't just the coastline, it is literally the edge of a vast wilderness. Putting your head under the water, even in just a small rockpool is the same thing as driving into a national park, if not better
  • We are on a mission to look after this spot. Clean litter, fishing line and other human mess that may destroy this magical slither of wilderness. Part of this includes several non profit projects to raise awareness and educate users. 

We want folks to have fun, see amazing stuff, say "wow" ....."oooh aaaa" ...."when can we go again" ....and the likes ...when you do that, we will be pretty chuffed

This really is about as close as you will get to Scuba Diving without Scuba Diving (and at a fraction of the cost) - If you have even be contemplating Scuba Diving one day, then we highly recommend that you get a taste for underwater life with a mask and snorkel. 
All trips are done at specific tides or in specific pools / reefs (we call them holes) where you are totally protected from the open ocean. You have NO chance of being washed away or drowning out at sea OK. So stop'll just have a lot of fun and see amazing stuff. Snorkeling is perfect if you're looking for things for kids to do in Ballito, they just love it! 
All trips are in small intimate groups. This ensures that you get personal attention, can ask questions, are well looked after and most importantly, ensures that we do not do any damage or harm to the marine environment. We have all the gear you may need for hire. 
You can expect to see a huge variety of fish life, octopus, sea hares, corals and critters you only thought existed in your wildest imagination. BUT this is a bit like visiting the game reserve, some days you can see Lions, Elephant and Leopards falling out the trees, other days you just see a lone Impala. We can however guarantee fish, lots of fish...if you don's see fish we will give you a FULL REFUND
We will give you all the information you need on what to bring, where and when upon booking. Our schedule is based on weather and tide forecasts. should we cancel a trip for any reason and you can not make the alternative date, we guarantee a FULL REFUND. 

Take Ten - Your Bit For Our Oceans

Rated #1 Attraction in Ballito


Book Your Ballito Snorkeling Safari Here


Phone us on +27 (0) 79 307 0608  or sms "snorkel" to 0793070608 & we will call you back 

umhlanga Rocks tourism

Members: uMhlanga Rocks Tourism 

Click above to download our beginners ID Guide to Rocky Shore Fish and Other Critters


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