Adventure tourism, and SCUBA diving in particular, has become an immensely popular leisure tourism activity, specifically over the past 10 years. SCUBA diving offers a great opportunity for tourists to participate in an outdoor activity with family or a partner, and it encourages tourists to visit some of Africa’s exotic marine locations, from inland lakes and cave systems to coastal shores and islands. Most importantly though, SCUBA diving offers tourists access to one of natures hidden gems – life under water.
In South Africa, for example, one does not associate scuba diving with a city such as Pretoria, yet this Jacaranda City has a large scuba diving fraternity with ample dive training and certification schools. Along South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal coastline, can be found Aliwal Shoal along the South Coast and the gem that is Sodwana on the North Coast, while further north lies Mozambique and its treasure trove of dive sites. Here lie some of the best reefs along the entire eastern Continental coastline, a natural wonderland of vibrant colours and frenetic activity in a spectacularly harmonious setting.
Scuba Dive Training
Perhaps your first port of call is to pop into one of the dive centres listed below with your bathing gear and do a quick and simple introduction to breathing under water. Pretoria has some very good dive schools, offering both the theoretical and practical training necessary to get you into the ocean. You can find a number of these tours on South Africa’s premium online shopping resource, Gumtree as well. Bring along a medical clearance certificate from your doctor and an enthusiastic desire to see the face of life underwater. Just note the minimum age restriction is either 10 or 12 years old, depending on your level of activity.
You will start with an Open Water course, which is a beginner course equipping you with the necessary skills to safely negotiate one of many fabulous underwater journeys. You can then progress to Advanced Specialty courses, Technical Diving, and then the Professional courses like Dive Master and Instructor. Initially, you can hire all the equipment you need from the dive centres, although it is nice to have your own mask, snorkel, fins, booties, and a few other personal items.
Top 5 SCUBA Diving Schools in Pretoria
Dive centres you might stop in at include Reef Divers in Brooklyn – a five-star PADI-registered dive centre that offers good facilities and very experienced instructors. You will find them at 26 Charles Street in Brooklyn, and you can contact them on 012 460 9229 or visit their website at www.reefdivers.co.za.
Get Wet Diving is also a PADI-registered dive centre offering professional trainers as well as a lot of technical equipment, refills, repairs, and more. They are based at 1253 De Villabois Drive in Moreleta Park, and they can be found at www.getwetdiving.co.za.
Ocean Divers Pretoria is another good outfit that is situated in Brooklyn and a NAUI-registered dive centre. You can contact them on 012 460 0746, or visit them at www.oceandivers.co.za.
The Dive Travel Centre offers similarly high standards in SCUBA training. It is a PADI-affiliated centre, and you can find them at www.scubadiving.co.za.
Geko Divers is another shop also worth considering as they are a PADI five-star dive centre and geared towards the young and hip crowd. They can be found at www.gekodivers.com or at 012 991 5311.
Open water courses cost around R3, 500, and this will include course materials, pool sessions, and your qualifying (usually five) dives in Sodwana. Transport and accommodation as well as a diving permit from the national park authorities at Sodwana will be extra. Locally based qualifying dives will usually cost less, and prices, of course, vary between dive centres.
Try to choose a dive centre that does its qualifying dives in either Ponta do Oura in Mozambique or Sodwana, as these are truly great locations for your first diving experience. Set aside a few weeks and then welcome yourself to the thrilling and unforgettable world of SCUBA diving.
Read more about the best diving in Africa by clicking: Best Places To Scuba Dive In Africa