South Coast, Umgababa to Nebo Wrecks


This reef needs to be dived from a boat as it is dangerous to leave your car here. When at sea it is off the railway bridge north of the Umkomaas river, approximately 8km. There are some very good pinnacles here and the swell can be seen lifting over the high points as the reef comes right up. Lots of reef fish here and big drop-offs make for interesting diving. The Umgababa turn-off is 36km south of Durban. Take this and follow road south to launch at Umkomaas River.

Aliwal Shoal

5km out to sea straight off the greenpoint lighthouse, you have the Aliwal Shoal. The shoal is part of a reef system running along much of the Kwazulu Natal coast. It`s origins lie in the coastal dunes that were formed many thousands of years ago when the sea level was much lower. As the sea level rose these dunes were submerged and provided the base for the development of the reefs.

Landers 9km south off Park Rynie is a continuation of the same reef system. Aliwal has the northeast pinnacle as it`s northern tip, which comes to within a few meters of the surface. This can be a dangerous spot for the unwary boat skipper, as even on flat days the odd swell comes through that breaks. Many boats have capsized here under these conditions.

3km south you have eelskins which marks the southern end of the reef. Most of the central flat reef lies between 10m and 18m deep and is roughly 300m wide. The outer edges drop to 30m. There are numerous caves and gulleys the most well known being Raggie cave where scuba divers regularly view 40 to 50 raggedtooth sharks at a time.

For the spearfisherman, Aliwal is a must. When conditions are right and the warm mozambique current pushes in over the shoal, gamefish abound. Huge kingfish, sailfish, cuda, wahoo, seapike, tuna and a variety of other gamefish and reef fish are present and make for an exceptional spearfishing experience. The shoal operates best in a north-south current and one normally starts the dive by doing drifts up current from the northeast pinnacle in deep water looking for gamefish. There is normally a huge shoal of fish just north of the pinnacles and dropping down into this is a great experience. The big kingfish are normally patrolling this area and dropping to the bottom and lying motionless will normally bring one in to have a look if they are in the vicinity.


Produce and Nebo Wrecks

These two wrecks are near the shoal and are great places to spearfish when conditions are good. The Produce was a 13500 ton Norwegian tanker carrying 18000 tons of molasses when she struck the shoal in 1974. Her crew of 74 were all safely rescued. The Produce lies on her starboard side facing north in 30m. The wreck attracts large shoals of salmon and can be very productive. The large family of brindle bass that inhabit the wreck make for interesting diving. The Nebo sank in 1884 and lies inshore from the Produce. She was a 2000 ton British iron steamer carrying 4500 tons of railway materials. On her maiden voyage from Sunderland to Durban she struck the shoal and was holed. She quickly sank and lies hull-up on the sand in 25m. No lives were lost. The Nebo attracts large shoals of salmon and is an exciting dive.