Sodwana Bay is a bay in South Africa on the KwaZulu Natal north coast, between St. Lucia and Lake Sibhayi. It is in the Sodwana Bay National Park, and the Maputaland Marine Reserve, and is a popular recreational diving destination. The term is commonly used to refer to both the marine reserve and the terrestrial park, as well as the geographical bay.
Located on the north east coastline of South Africa, Sodwana Bay has a rich natural biodiversity both on land and in the ocean. It is the only place within the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park where scuba diving is permitted, and draws in roughly 35 000 divers annually. The coastal regions are fantastic areas for African wildlife viewing. Isimangaliso is home to a large population of elephant, rhino, leopards, impala and zebra, in addition to numerous bird species. The Bay exists in the northern part of Zululand, which adds interesting cultural interactions to a trip to the area.
Sodwana Bay exists within the Maputaland Marine Park and the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park. Marine Reserves exist to the north and south of Sodwana Bay, extended coverage well along the eastern coastline. Protected since the 1950s, this area received considerable attention in November 2000 when scientists rediscovered the ancient coelacanth.
Sodwana Bay is South Africa's most exciting diving spot with Indo-Atlantic species of coral and other sea-life. More than 1200 species of fish are found at Sodwana Bay, as well as bottle-nosed dolphins, sharks, whale sharks and turtles. A great variety of viewing is found on the various reefs, with hard corals, abundant life forms, and pinnacles, buttresses, caves and blow holes. Sodwana Bays Reefs vary from a few meters to over 30 meters. Many reefs are found at 18 meters or less. Visibility at Sodwana can be anywhere between 10 to almost 40 meters, with the best visibility to be found in the winter months. Sodwana Bays reef formations are divided into a number of reefs parallel to the shore.
In Sodwana Bay, you will also have the opportunity to dive with sharks. Not the Great White of course, but there are entire shoals of Ragged Tooth Sharks. As far as shark diving is concerned, Sodwana Bay can be one of the best sites in the world. You may also, for example, encounter Thresher Sharks, Bull Sharks and Hammerheads as well as the gentle Giant the Whale Shark.
The sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus), grey nurse shark, spotted ragged-tooth shark, or blue-nurse sand tiger is a species of shark that inhabits subtropical and temperate waters worldwide. It inhabits the continental shelf, from sandy shorelines (hence the name sand tiger shark) and submerged reefs to a depth of around 191 m (627 ft). (Compagno, L. J. V., 1984) They dwell in the waters of Japan, Australia, South Africa, the Mediterranean and the east coasts of North and South America. Despite its name, it is not related to the tiger shark Galeocerdo cuvier; however, it is a cousin of the great white shark Carcharodon carcharias.
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