"Umkomaas - Gateway to Aliwal Shoal" Umkomaas by MikeAtSea
Umkomaas Travel Guide: 6 reviews and 21 photos
The town of Umkomaas, situated on a hillside crowning the river's southern bank, enjoys spectacular seaviews. It became a premier holiday destination as the 20th century unfolded and today attracts scuba divers from around the world.
Divers access Aliwal Shoal from Umkomaas and dive boats are launched through the surf from the mouth of the Mkomazi River. The reef, situated around 5km offshore, is about 4km long and 300m wide, with depths ranging from five to 35m.
The Shoal is dominated by a central ridge, an ancient sand dune that runs almost parallel to the coastline. This ridge is pitted with many caves and overhangs, shelves and gullies, all providing exciting glimpses of the colourful and varied marine life of the area.
Aliwal Shoal is an extremely popular dive site in Kwa-Zulu Natal and an estimated 40,000 dives are recorded annually. The southern extension of Aliwal Shoal, Landers Reef, can be reached from a launch site at Rocky Bay, just south of the town of Scottburgh.
There is exciting wreck diving on the Nebo, which sank in March 1884 after hitting the Shoal, and The Produce which was wrecked on the Aliwal Pinnacles in 1974. This wreck is unstable and only suitable for experience divers, but is also home to some very large giant groupers and some big moray eels. Aliwal Shoal is famous for the hundreds of ragged tooth or sand tiger sharks who gather on the shoal to mate during the winter months (June - September), plus many other shark sightings such as Hammerhead, Blacktip & Zambezi.
If you are interested in going diving to one of the most spectacular dive sites on earth – Aliwal Shoal, you truly only... more travel advice
LaLa Manzi Inn is situated right in the heart of Umkomaas and is the main accommodation establishment in the town.... more travel advice
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