Sodwana Bay, Kwazulul Natal is simply wonderful, this is one of the best areas to go snorkeling in South Africa and also happens to be South Africa's scuba diving Mecca, with some of the best scuba diving reefs just offshore.
Sodwana bay is within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a world heritage site and well known as one of the areas where coelacanths were recently rediscovered at depths of over 100m. Although from a South African context, Sodwana Bay is probably well known as a scuba diving spot, the snorkeling in Sodwana Bay is less of an attraction, yet still rates as one of the most fun and easy spots to snorkel in Kwazulu-Natal.
Sodwana Bay is about a four-hour drive north of Durban. Head north on the N2 and take the Hluhluwe off ramp, from here you follow the R22 to Mbazwana and then turn Right to Sodwana Bay (about 90 km's from Hluhluwe and well signposted)
Snorkeling at Sodwana Bay is best in the winter months, when the water is cleaner and the wind is not as heavy as in summer (the north east winds can howl in the summer months, making Sodwana Bay’s snorkeling conditions slightly off perfect) however, we have had incredible snorkeling at Sodwana Bay throughout the year and this certainly is one of the best spots to go snorkelling in South Africa
Most the snorkelling in Sodwana Bay happens at the main beach access area, you will need to pay an entrance fee at the gate. The most popular snorkeling spot in Sodwana Bay is known as Jesser’s point and forms wonderful shallow protected snorkeling spots at low tide. A spring low tide provides for optimal snorkeling conditions. You seldom need to include a wetsuit in your snorkel gear when at Sodwana Bay, the water is generally a lot warmer than snorkeling in South Africa further south but at a minimum you would want to ensue you have a rash vest in your snorkeling gear as well as a good comfortable set of snorkeling fins if you intend snorkeling out to deeper water.
Snorkelling in Sodwana Bay is excellent for seeing Moray Eels, very big Moray Eels and Octopus, on our recent snorkeling trips to Sodwana Bay we have seen over 8 Octopus and several Morays in excess of 1,5m long in a single morning snorkel. It’s these experiences combined with brilliant visibility that make Sodwana bay one of the best places to go snorkeling in South Africa.
Snorkeling in the deeper waters off Jesser’s point; coral growth can also be found as well as a wonderful variety of tropical warm water fish species, ranging from wrasse to damsels to angelfish,
Inside the rocky pools around Jesser point you can snorkel in some pretty beautiful spots, caves and rocky overhangs in water less than 2 metres deep are home to some big Rockcod, large shoals of Dusky Sweepers and Sergeant Majors.
At spring low tide there are scores of intertidal pools away from the open sea to go snorkeling in and explore, perfect and safe for children and those snorkeling for their first time, snorkeling in these little tidal pools is so good that it's even exciting enough for experienced snorkelers and scuba divers.
Sodwana Bay is in a world heritage site and any collecting without the correct permits is strictly prohibited,
Over the school Holidays Sodwana Bay is one of the most popular beach escapes in South Africa, so a beware, it can get very busy and snorkeling here in South Africa’s busy holiday season can still be rewarding, but also expect crowds.
On some of our previous trips to Sodwana Bay, we have come across snorkeling guides who also have snorkeling gear for hire and can show you come of the better and more secret snorkelling spots in Sodwana Bay. Contact Msinsi lodge for more details.
Anyone snorkeling in South Africa will almost certainly want to also see turtles, and in the summer months, turtles make Sodwana Bay epic, giant leatherbacks come up onto the beach to lay their eggs. Although you seldom see turtles snorkeling in Sodwana Bay, a turtle-viewing trip after dark to witness this egg laying is a must. Also contact Msinsi lodge for more information