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Cape Town - False Bay Shore Diving

9km from Simon's Town

-34.2392, 18.4765

Easy dives


The good news is that the waters on the False Bay side of the Peninsula are warmer than those on the Atlantic side. The bad news is that they are still cold! The coastline between Fish Hoek and Smitswinkel Bay offers a good selection of interesting dive sites in kelp forests, in gullies and on boulders that are easily accessible from the shore. However, surge can be a problem for entry and exit, so avoid days with high swell.

The fertile waters around the peninsula are very different from tropical reefs but support dense marine life, including mussels, limpets and other molluscs, filter feeders such as sponges and tubeworms, and a wonderful array of colourful anemones, sea fans and basket stars and snails.

There are more than 100 known species of nudibranchs, several species of endemic klipfish, cute little crabs and other crustaceans and brightly coloured starfish. Crayfish hide in their lairs and curious seals and cowsharks often come to check out divers, while whales are occasionally sighted from July to December.

Top shore dives include Castle Rocks, a large shallow site just south of Millers Point. The big granite boulders are heavily encrusted with invertebrates, including huge anemones, feather stars, colourful nudibranchs and sea cumbers, and there are plenty of gullies, caves and swim-throughs to explore.

The fish life, particularly Romans, strepies, hottentot and small sharks, is profuse and cute blennies and klipfish can be spotted on the reef.

Pyramid, named for the distinctive rock projection that marks the site, is a little further north and is generally regarded as a separate dive. Although the reef has some interesting caves and tunnels and is home to lots of fish and other typical False Bay species, the main attraction here is the friendly cowsharks that glide through the kelp forest surrounding the rock and sometimes approach divers.

Boulders Beach, just south of Simon’s Town, is home to a colony of African penguins, which are occasionally seen on dives. The jumble of boulders contains several caves and overhangs in which a variety of fish, including pyjama catsharks, can be seen.

A-frame, nearby, is known for its spectacular invertebrate and fish life. The shallow protected site is perfect as a training dive and for novice divers, as is the wreck of the SS Clan Stuart, a British steamer that ran aground in 1914 just north of Simon’s Town. The ship’s engine block breaks the surface and can be seen from the shore at Long Beach.

Although you can dive False Bay (particularly the sites of Simon’s Town that are sheltered from the southeast wind and swell) all year round, conditions are generally best in winter, when the sea is flat and visibility can be up to 10 metres. Bring a torch to bring out the vivid colours of the marine life.

Cape Town & Surrounds

Western Cape


Cape Town is without doubt one of the most beautiful cities in the world. With dramatic mountains, a long stretch of Atlantic coastline and a picturesque working harbour, there are few cities in the world to rival “The Fairest Cape”, as explorer Sir Francis Drake described the place in 1580.

The city of Cape Town is regularly voted as one of the best tourist destinations (and cities to live in) in the world – and its Mediterranean climate, superb natural attractions, historic landmarks, fabulous restaurants and fun places to hang out offer all the ingredients for a top holiday destination.

Table Mountain dominates the city’s landscape and Table Mountain National Park is a national treasure and World Heritage Site.

The Cape Floristic Kingdom is known for its incredible botanical heritage and the Table Mountain National Park has more floral species than the British Isles. Stopping to smell the fynbos has an altogether new meaning in this part of the world.

Robben Island is another World Heritage Site worth visiting. Struggle heroes such as Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada and many others were incarcerated here during apartheid and taking the Robben Island Tour is a must on any trip to Cape Town.

The city is loosely divided by Table Mountain into four sections: Cape Town Central, Cape Town South, Cape Town North and Cape Town East.

Cape Town Central incorporates the city centre, the V&A Waterfront, Green Point, Mouille Point, Sea Point, Camps Bay and Hout Bay. There are loads of things on offer in this part of the world, so it’s a good idea to focus on the field of interest/activities that excite you and take it from there.

A trip to the top of Table Mountain is an absolute must (especially if you’ve never done it before). The views on a clear day will give you a clear perspective of the gorgeous city below and you can see as far as Robben Island and beyond.

If history is your thing, there are numerous museums and attractions close to the city centre. The Castle of Good Hope was built between 1666 and 1679 and is the oldest building in South Africa. It is a good place to start your tour of the city, which incorporates historic attractions such as the Bo-Kaap Museum, the District Six Museum, The Company’s Garden, City Hall and the Grand Parade, among many other notable historic attractions.

For shopping and entertainment, the V&A Waterfront is the epicentre of Cape Town and attracts high numbers of international tourists daily. Long Street is a good place to hang out for restaurants, bars and nightlife and Camps Bay is the place to see and be seen around cocktail hour.

The drive along Chapman’s Peak is one of the most scenic drives in the world but you need to do your homework as the route is periodically closed. Mariner’s Wharf in Hout Bay is another great place to visit, with its fun restaurants, great beaches and perfect views.

Cape Town South stretches from Noordhoek to Observatory and incorporates some of Cape Town’s most popular suburbs, including Constantia, Fish Hoek, Rondebosch, Simon’s Town and Muizenberg, to mention just a few.

Constantia is popular for its wonderful restaurants and wine estates and the Constantia Wine Route is a big attraction for foodies and wine-lovers. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens offers hectares of greenery and regular concerts in the warm summer months. There are also various hiking trails on offer.

Take a day trip to Simon’s Town and make sure you visit the statue of Just Nuisance, as well as the scenic Boulders Beach. Noordhoek is a great place for riding horses on the beach and the restaurants are very family friendly. For fresh fish and laid-back vibes, Kalk Bay and Muizenberg are the business. Fish Hoek is popular for seaside activities and antique shops and is a real favourite.

Cape Town North incorporates the Cape Town International Airport, Parow, Milnerton, Durbanville, Table View, as well as Bloubergstrand and Melkbosstrand. The north is a developed business centre that continues to grow rapidly. For chill-out time, Bloubergstrand and Melkbosstrand are popular for walks on the beach and outdoor sports.  Shoppers will enjoy Century City and Canal Walk, and for those who love a tipple or two, The Durbanville Wine Route also falls into the northern region.

Cape Town East is made up of Gordon’s Bay, Somerset West, Strand, Sir Lowry’s Pass, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Eersterivier, Macassar and Strandfontein. The region is pretty spectacular as the small coastal towns sit below the imposing Hottentots Holland Mountains and there are fantastic beaches such as Bikini Beach, Strand Beach and Kogel Bay. Here you’ll also find the Helderberg Nature Reserve, Wolfgat Nature Reserve and Edith Stephens Wetland Park.

Look out for

Scenic Cape Point with its sheer cliffs, rugged landscapes, fauna, flora and bold ocean views.

A cable-car trip up Table Mountain to get the view of the incredible landscape of the city. If you’ve done the touristy cable-car thing then take one of the many mountain trails.

V&A Waterfront – spend time enjoying all the facilities at the V&A Waterfront, including the abundance of shopping and restaurant venues. For children, The Two Oceans Aquarium is a winner.

The magnificent beaches of Clifton, Muizenberg, Hout Bay, Bloubergstrand. You are spoilt for choice in and around the Mother City.

Historical sites are a must – including Robben Island, the Castle of Good Hope, the District Six Museum and Bo-Kaap.

Long Street by night. Enjoy the friendly fun vibes of this stretch of tarmac as it comes to life when the sun goes down.

While away the hours at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, the green lung of the city. Look out for the schedule of summer concerts.

Visit the Constantia Wine Route for a touch of history and some of the country’s finest wines and restaurants that continually make it onto the best-of lists.

Drive along the southern coastline and visit places such as Noordhoek, Scarborough, Simon’s Town, Kalk Bay and Muizenberg. Stop off at Kalk Bay for fresh fish at the harbour.

When to go

To Do

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