The diving in the Knysna Lagoon is surprisingly rewarding, and there are some truly wonderful dive sites out in the open sea. The Garden Route is the transitional zone between the cold water kelp forests of the Western Cape and the coral reefs of Northern KwaZulu-Natal.
There are a few dive sites in Knysna but the weather can be very rough at times and with strong currents then it’s recommended for advanced divers only. The water temp ranges from 15-23 degrees and visibility is only between 5-15m but there are some interesting sites to see.
The Knysna Lagoon’s most endearing inhabitant (and most endangered) is the Knysna Seahorse which has gained almost mythical proportions over the years. A scuba dive in the seagrass pockets of the estuary in search of this charismatic little creature is a magical experience and safe for beginner divers.
A very popular dive is the wreck of the ship Paquita between the Heads. The Paquita sunk in 1903 and still in great condition with anchors clearly visible and many other things to discover. The reefs boast beautiful corals especially on the iron plates. Invertebrate life and plenty of marine growth inhabit the area, you can see seahorses, nudibranchs, black tails, two tone finger fin and steenbras. There are only certain times in the day you can dive this site due to strong currents so be sure to check this with your dive centre.
There are also interesting pinnacles and reefs outside of the channel with some corals, nudibranches and a range of different fish species. Dagleish Bank is a large pinnacle covered in corals and home to many big gamefish and rock cod. Not many people visit here so it’s unspoilt and free of other divers. East Cape Reef has lots of overhangs and caverns to explore and you can spend a few dives on this reef to fully appreciate it. Bruce se Bank is another dive site in the area. If drift diving is your thing then you’re going to love the fly dives along the reef but be sure to advise the dive centre of your experience level as a lot of the dives can be very difficult and dangerous if you haven’t dived in these conditions before.
Thesens Jetty is the only real dive site for beginner divers. If you can look past the rubbish in the bay then finding the seahorses that live under the jetty makes it all worthwhile.
It is important to have sound knowledge of the tides and conditions in the area before attempting dives around Knysna. Scuba Diving operators in Knysna will advise you of the best dives to suit your level of experience. The currents are notorious and can be lethal. So make sure you ask them for the best times to dive – usually 45 minutes before the turn of the tide.