The Wild Coast is renowned for its rugged scenery, good spearfishing and delicious seafood. Although there are many exciting reefs that remain to be discovered and explored, scuba diving is not particularly popular in this area.
There are few shore entries and those that do exist are quite tricky to negotiate. Because of the long distances between towns, the poor condition of the roads, the lack of facilities and the reasonably strenuous diving, this region is suitable only for completely self-sufficient parties of experienced divers. It is a very popular destination for extended spearfishing trips.
The Wild Coast lies in a summer-rainfall region and, as many rivers flow into the ocean here, winter is the best time to dive. The conditions are very unpredictable. Because of the river inflow and heavy swells, visibility is generally rather poor, usually in the region of 3m with a maximum of 12 or 15m in ideal conditions.
Sea temperatures usually exceed l7ºC (63ºF) and can go as high as 23ºC (73ºF) when the warm Agulhas Current flows close to shore. The water is cleaned by the offshore south-westerly winds, which also flatten it to a degree, while the north-easter brings cold, dirty and choppy waters.
The best diving sites are at:
Access is by boat from Mdumbi River, Tshani or Lwandile. This dive site consists of patches of rocky reef with pinnacles and extensive, but deep, reefs further out. It is a good fishing and spearfishing area.
Take the N2 south from Umtata and turn left onto the tarred Coffee Bay road, continue for 68km and turn left 6km before Coffee Bay onto the dirt road marked 'Umtata River mouth'. From here it is another 18km to the river mouth. The turn off is 3km from the mouth and continue for another 3.5km.
Heavy surge and big swells are common. It is best dived in winter with the best diving approximately 300m offshore. It is a good fishing and spearfishing reef. A great variety of fish, including some small tropical fish right on the edge of their range, can be expected here. You may even spot some sharks, so be very wary if you are spearfishing.
Access is by boat from Mdumbi River, Tshani or Lwandile. About 12 minutes by boat from Presley's Bay. Best dived during the winter months and there is always a possibility of a strong surge.
The reef falls within the Nature Conservation Area and consequently no crayfishing is allowed. Caves add interest to the reef and the teeming fish life includes musselcracker, kabbeljou, bank steenbras, barbel, rock-cod and rubberlips.