Here we go with another African travel bucket list to add to your dreams (if you haven’t done them all already!)- the top 5 scuba diving sites I’m itching to explore!
I don’t have an open-water certificate (yet) but often you can learn to dive in a few days while at any one of these places and get acquainted with the deep blue universe straight away. Comment below which one you’d go for if you could only choose one ;)
1. Alexandria, Egypt
This one is actually a little iffy because it has notoriously poor visibility (often not more than 5-10 metres), and you need to arrange for diving permits a couple of days in advance. It's an underwater dreamland for history lovers though - swim in and around ruins from Pharaoic, Ancient Greek and Roman times as well as wrecks from various conflicts since. A popular site is Cleopatra's sunken palace.
Ideal time: All year but April the climate on land is more forgiving than the middle of summer. June-September is when the water is warmest.
2. Almost every corner, Cape Verde
This collection of little islands and islets off the northwest coast of the continent packs so much diving diversity in such a small area it's no wonder it's become a popular destination for fans of the deep blue. From coral reefs to caves, several varieties of fish and other marine life, there's a dive to suit any interest and any level.
Ideal time: January-March for whale-spotting, October-December for turtle mating and all year for sharks and rays.
3. Sodwana Bay, KZN, South Africa
Located inside the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (been dying to go there too) and described as Finding Nemo in real life, diving in Sodwana Bay puts you face-to-face with South Africa's first heritage site and the southern-most coral reefs in Africa. Probably the warmest water you'll find in South Africa, this corner of the Indian Ocean is clear and has a huge area to explore both above and below sea level.
Ideal time: May-June for the sardine run.
4. Sao Tome & Principe (Gulf of Guinea)
This little old Portuguese colony is so remote and unexplored that some travel agents may not have even heard of it. Lucky for you I'm here! Off the west coast of Africa closest to Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, recent conservation efforts have put an end to irresponsible fishing on the two islands which leaves an impressive variety of marine life along with plenty of coral reefs to explore. Top diving sites include Bom Bom Resort, Ponta de Garca (on the equator line!) and Tinhosas with fascinating underwater volcanic landscapes.