Dive Inn Cape Town 2016 will have a summary of what happened to us .Looking at my calendar today I could not believe that 2016 has flown by. Last year we had a blog post Dive Inn Cape Town Peak season stating what we did in a short period. Thus it will be like a chairman’s report on what were the highlights of our year.
Cape town from air
Dive Inn Cape Town 2016 we did 156 dives with an average bottom time of 54 minutes. We had one dive trip to Sodwana Bay at Reef teach and had some great sightings. Snorkelling with a whale shark and Dolphins then scuba diving with a big manta. Not to mention the small critters like Sea horses and of Course Dive Inn favourite – Nudibranchs.
We had more Nudibranch hunting trips then scuba training. Courses done were PADI Open and Advanced open water, RAID Enriched air divers, Discover Scuba divers, PADI Rescue diver. And our topside favourite course the DAN basic life support and First Aid course. This course is ideal for divers and non-divers alike. DAN also does a lot or the dive community so a good agency to support. An extra feature of the DAN BLS & FA course is that it is Department of Labour Approved.
The touring part of Dive Inn Cape Town 2016 was the busiest with over 100 days of touring done. With the Cape Peninsula and Cape Winelands tour being the most popular. Table Mountain and city tour a close follower. With the great white sharks cage diving and Hermanus tour another popular trip we did. West coast flower trips we had no requests to do. These tours are normally done in August and we hope we will some for the 2017 year on the calendar.
Lot of my guests and friends ask how can you do the peninsula tour sometimes 3-4 times a week and not get bored with it. Easy as the only the road/route stays the same (sometimes). The sightings and weather change constantly and of course our stunning Guests. With all the tours we share what our wonderful Cape Town has on offer and all the guest share a bit of their stories as well which makes the tours even better. I think for me and the guests.
Most times after a tour when we do our farewells it almost feels like we are family or have known each other for a long long time. Thus the tours can never get boring or so I hope ;-). The wine farms always have good wine or we visit the De Villiers chocolate or even have Beer Tasting at Cape BrewingCompany. So the options are endless.
Our Dive Inn Cape Town 2016 guests were from all over the world but the most was from America. We had Brazilians, Peruvians, Argentinians and Mexicans. From up north the Canadians also had a couple of representatives.
Europe side we had English (for now), Irish, Scottish, French, Danish, Dutch, Norwegians and Germans. Also from Africa we had guests from Dubai, Qatar, Ghana, and Namibia and of course South Africans. In addition Ukraine, Singapore, India and Indonesia also send some guests my way. Sjoe as I’m typing here it is unbelievable how many nationalities I have met. Wonder now which countries I have missed.
Most of all Thank you to all my guest and students who endured my strong Afrikaans accent and added to it my fast way of talking.
Hope Dive Inn 2017 to be just an eventful year with loads of laughs and awesome guests from all over the world. Check us out on FaceBook, Instagram and Twitter. We even have some of the guests praising us on Tripadvisor.
To end Dive Inn Cape Town 2016 blog, also some bit of advertising as seen in the 2017 Official visitors guide Cape Town. “Dive Inn Cape Town provides Private tours, Scuba dive tours and training to travelers and locals in Cape Town with packages to suit all. Level 1 First aid training (department of labour approved) is also provided. We’re committed to ensuring you have a wonderful time in Cape Town above and below water.”
We got invited by the Ladismith tourism for an educational to see what Ladismith had on offer. This also coincided with some festivities and the CBL Paddafees (Frog festival) a fundraiser for a NGO – wardrobe of love. We got booked into a 1912 dwelling with stunning features and comfortable beds called Towerzicht.
Ladismith reading from the concrete road marker outside the tourist office is 249 miles from Cape Town. The tourist office is in the old Otto Hager Church. According to the current maps Ladismith it is 320km away from the mother city.
Years ago I camped in the small town of Ladismith over Christmas. Remembering very hot weather and not a lot going on probably due to all being gone for the holidays. But had a great time the 3 days camping there. I did notice all the old buildings and visited the small shops etc but meant nothing to me.
But this time we had a local tour guide, Alistair Reizenberg taking us around. Like normal, most locals do not always want to pay for the services of a guide. Since being a tour guide myself I did notice we pick up interesting facts and stories about an area we can relay and make it even more interesting. So with 1 of the 2 local guides taking us around it was well worth it.
First we went to the Seweweekspoort pass and stopped at certain points. Here Al pointed out some interesting ruins, plants, streams, and formations. The water of a stream we stopped at was crystal clear cold and great to drink.
Even with some mint growing nearby to put in our water bottles too make it taste even better. Convicts build the pass for 6 km without the presence of an engineer before AG Smidt took command over them in 1861 and finished it in 1862. He was a brother in-law of the famous pass builder Thomas Bain. A well worth pass to visit and explore where you can even see a scarce protea called the Aristata. Seweweekspoort pass is also a certified Unesco World Heritage Site.
Jacis lodges in Madikwe game reserve is situated next to the Botswana border in the Northwest province of South Africa.
From Johannesburg/Pretoria it is about a 3-4 hour drive. Madikwe also got a runway so you can fly in as well which makes the experience even better. Once there you park and forget about your vehicle. Once there you get spoiled by the guides/drivers and staff at Jaci’s lodges .
Jacis Lodges are divided in 2 lodges at Madikwe game reserve. The Safari lodge is child friendly with their own restaurant and stunning private accommodation. Children have a games room available to them to keep them busy when not looking for animals. Some of the chalets got some nice splash pools to cool you down and bigger pools are strategically positioned between the rooms.
On the river path you can even find outdoor gym equipment for those who need to get rid of the stunning food from Jaci’s lodges.
The tree lodges at Jacis lodges are built on stilts in between the trees and also very very private. These lodges got a child age restriction just to ensure that all can enjoy nature. The tree lodges are all link with “wooden bridge pathways” and ending up at the tree lodge restaurant.
The food was top notch, at both lodges as both have their own staff and chefs and do slightly different menus. So a good excuse to go back and experience both lodge set ups at Jacis’s lodges.
At Jacis Lodges it is quite safe to walk between all the lodges and the terrapin hide. All is enclosed and fenced in with some buck moving around in the bushes and loads of birds all around. I have heard stories that they do have every now and then an Elephant that decide the fencing is not a good idea. Probably the Elephant thinks the grass is greener on the other side and then break through the fence. Then the lodge staff struggles to get the guy back to the bush and the pricey fix of the fence again. (more…)
Cape Town Nudibranch hunting is our speciality and at Dive Inn Cape Town we really love the little critters.
In Cape Town Nudibranch hunting from shore is possible and you have a good chance to spot alot. Nudibranchs do move around and are seasonal. Or this is what I noticed so you are not always guaranteed to spot them. With some they are so well camouflaged and or small so very difficult to spot. And just to make it slightly more difficult our wonderful Cape Town waters can have low viz with a bit of swell and surge. This can make nudibranch hunting and photography quite challenging. And Macro Photography is what nudibranchs are about. The Frilly Nudibranch is the only one I have not spotted from shore yet. Most of the photos in this blog are of all the Nudibranchs I have see in Cape Town.
Last year I did do a blog about Nudibranchs but decided to it again this year but this time mention all the Cape Town Nudibranch hunting from shore I have spotted the last 6 months only. This will mostly be from the False Bay coastline but do have some pics from Atlantic side. (Please note False Bay is still Atlantic Ocean but slightly warmer. The oceans meet at Cape Agulhas which is about a 3 hour drive from Cape Town)
The most dived shore dive site probably is our training beach – Long beach Simon’s town. The next beach from here towards Cape Point is Sea forth beach, Windmill, A-frame, Pyramid rock and Castle rocks. There are other beaches or dive sites that can be dived on this stretch. They can be slightly more work or can even be very boring. Before Simons town there is the Clan Stuart wreck, Whale Lookout and Sunny cove. On the Clan Stuart wreck I found the least species but did found my first Indian Nudibranch there. (more…)
Sodwana Bay on the East coast of South Africa is really a great diving spot. The reefs are mostly full of life and loads of corals are seen on most of the reefs.
With the stunning corals the fish also show off with schools of snappers, Potato bass checking you up from close, rays and even some shark species.
Our Last Dive Inn Cape Town trip to Sodwana in April 2016 we were even lucky to snorkel with a whale shark and dive with a Manta on stringer reef for over 30 minutes. The Manta we also spotted on the surface once and had another quick observation of it on the chains reef. Dolphins were also kind enough to let us see them on snorkel quickly.
Over our stay we did 2 dives each day with 1 one dive on the last day totalling 13 dives for the trip.
Sodwana Bay reef names run according how far away from Jesser point they are. Thus 2mile is the most dived reef just of the launch site. 2 Mile have sites for all type of divers but the deeper sites do offer more Macro life like Sea Horses and loads of nudibranchs. Roonies is the reef for that but nitrox is a good option on this dive. The other reefs down the coast which is dived is then called 5mile 7 mile and 9 mile. Most of them got more dive sites on the reef itself like 9 mile got coral tree, 5mile Teddy bears picnic etc. Coral bleaching unfortunately can also be observed but for the untrained eye the reefs still looks great. You can view more pics on Dive Inn Cape towns Facebook page as well.
The trip crew
The week was perfect, we had good weather, calmish seas making it easier to launch through the surf and of course warm 26 degree water. The warm water for our Cape Tonians a delight and then the clean blue water a bonus on top of that.
Reefteach hosted us in their lodge and took us out on the dives. The Dm’s and beach staff is good and the breakfast on the beach always great for a hungry diver. The bee’s also enjoyed our breakfast most of the days. Every night we went for dinner at a different institution and the consensus was the Elephant water hole was the best. The Light house had a good score and Maak n Jol almost got top scores.
Sodwana bay falls under the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and big plans are there to upgrade parking etc. to the area. Hope the small town will also get a boost. From Durban airport it is a 3.5 – 4 hour drive and if you not staying in the park itself like with Coral divers you would need your own transport to get to and from the beach.
In short Sodwana bay according to me can offer the same as most tropical destinations in the world and much more cost effective compared to the oversea destinations. Sodwana Bay rocks.
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