About Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected Area

Most people know that Aliwal Shoal is one of the country's major dive sites, and one of the best sites at which to spot raggies, or ragged-tooth sharks, particularly as they are in evidence in these waters for five months of the year.

Did you know? From May through November one can sight humpback whales from the shoal, whilst dolphins in the area include humpback and bottlenose dolphins. Divers can also expect to see turtles and reef fish, for the reef is also a breeding and nursery area.

It makes absolute sense, then, that the offshore reef (interestingly not a coral reef - although there is evidence of soft and hard corals, especially sponges - but fossilised sandstone) should have protection within a marine protected area.

The reef lies 5 km offshore from the Umkomaas River mouth just off the little coastal village of Umkomaas.

The marine protected area extends 18.3 km between the Mzimayi and Umkomaas river mouths, and 7 km offshore, including a couple of ship wrecks within its parameters.

Raggies are not the only sharks protected within the MPA. There are also Zambezi sharks, tiger sharks, hammerheads and, every now and again, an enormous whale shark.

However, because it is such a popular dive site and fishing area, the seas are inundated with divers, ski-boat fishers, charter fishers, spear fishers, rock and surf fishers and commercial fishers. Shark diving and chumming is an issue. And it is difficult to monitor the tendency of shark diving operators to disobey the conditions for permits, rules and exemptions.

As a result, one of the objectives of the MPA is to reduce user conflicts over the use of Aliwal Shoal, as well as to protect and conserve the marine ecosystem.

The Aliwal Shoal no-take zones are too small at the moment, and there is not enough protection for marine biodiversity. The MPA is looking at an additional sanctuary and restricted zone.

The aim of a marine protected area is to conserve marine life. They take the form of a collaboration between civil society, communities and government that promote conservation and safeguard threatened marine species and important habitats.

Need to Know

WhereAliwal Shoal Marine Protected Area, Umkomaas, South Coast, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

WhenBest during daylight hours.

Telephone+27 (0)39 973-2233

OvernightStay in Umkomaas Accommodation, KwaZulu Natal


Please note, business details can change. While we endeavour to ensure all information provided by the service provider is correct at the time of publication, we do not assume any liability caused by errors or changes, such as price, cost, time, and location. Please check with the provider that the activity/business is still offered as described, before making any travel plans.


If this is your attraction, you can let us know if anything on this page is outdated or contains inaccuracies, by email. We regret, we do not have any other information, please contact the provider if you have questions.

In the vicinity

Hotels & other accommodation options in Umkomaas

Things to do in the area

Accommodation convenient to Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected Area

FIND / South Africa Accommodation / KwaZulu Natal Accommodation / South Coast Accommodation / Umkomaas Accommodation

Umkomaas as a destination

Want to stay overnight?


When would you like to stay?
Choose dates

Number of Guests

Why book with SA-Venues.com
  • Your card is safe with us; strictest card verification in the industry and we don't store card numbers.
  • No airy fairy service fees; you save!
  • We care. Service with integrity.
  • Multiple payment methods:
    credit card, SID instant EFT, bank transfer.
  • All Umkomaas property owners / managers are verified (our experience protects you from online fraud).
  • Secure your booking
Our Payment Protection Guarantee only applies if your deposit payment is made via SA-Venues.com
South Africa. Explore. Experience. Stay

SA-Venues.com® has been assisting travellers with their South Africa travel plans since 1999, and is the largest, independent online travel guide for South Africa available in both English and German.

Never miss a deal

Subscribe for the latest special offers and travel inspiration.

And, we'll send you a R200 voucher to use on your next booking.