Scuba Diving In Ponta Do Ouro
Ponta Do Ouro (Point of Gold) is 15 km away from the South African border The recent floods and thirty years of civil war has left Southern Mozambique with only the most basic infrastructure. Here you can enjoy miles of unspoiled white sand beaches, with lush coastal bush and sparkling blue sea. The biggest tagging program of Whale sharks operates from this area and they have the most sightings worldwide. October to March is the best time for Whale shark sightings. Sharks, dolphins, rays, manta rays and huge bass are regularly seen. Ponta do Ouro is famous from its 18 high quality off-shore coral reefs. The breathtaking underwater world is difficult to describe, or even to present on the pictures. This is the experience that makes it unique, beautiful and tranquil. Visit Ponta to feel what you see below.
Suggested diving resorts in the area:
White Pearl Resorts
Dive site is 38 m down to 47 m and about 300 m long and lies about 3 km off shore. Atlantis is for experienced divers. Due to the depth of this reef it is not dived very much, therefore not a lot is known about this reef. This reef is so far offshore that the current and visibility is unpredictable.
This reef is between 15 – 17 metres deep. Doodles is a thrilling dive experience with a large variety of marine life that can be found around the reef. Marine life to be seen include, a variety of game fish, moral eels, mantis shrimp, Octopus, potato bass and rays. Doodles is Ponta Do Ouro’s “house reef” as it is about a 10 minute boat ride to this reef. The reef consists of sandstone with very little hard coral, but more soft coral and sponges as decorations. Doodles is by far the busiest reef in Ponta Do Ouro. This abundance of food attracts various game fish and shark species. The sharks most seen here are zambezi or bull sharks. honeycomb rays, sand sharks and Potato Bass are also to be seen.
A small reef very similar in shape and size as that of Bass City. Plenty of seagrass on the reef and lots of small things to see. Ghost Pipe Fish, Nudibranchs, eels, plenty of lion fish / devil fire fish as well as potatoe bass. Being between Doodles and Checkers, lots of what you see on Doodles you will see on Blacks. This reef is suitable for all level of divers. The average depth is 15m with a maximum of 18m.
This is a thin reef and an extension of Steps, and is 19m deep in places. The average depth on this reef is 14 to 16 m. There are quite a few of the Rock Cod or Grouper found on this reef. On a day with a strong south to north current it is a good starting point for dives leading onto Steps.
Steps is about 13m at the top and falls with overhangs and cracks to about 16m at the sand. This reef is quite narrow (10 to 20m), and runs for about 4km along the inside of Ponta Do Ouro Bay. This reef is ideal to dive on days when the current is strong, because of its length. The reef thins and then opens up so that when you dive it you are met with sections where not much happens and other sections that are a hive of action.
Checkers has a depth of 15 -18 m. The variety of fish species on this reef is astounding. Rays are frequent visitors to this reef.
This reef is between 10 – 12 metres deep and is an ideal reef for novice divers and those divers who enjoy an open water shallow reef dive. It got its name from the abundance and wide variety of juvenile fish that can be seen and that occupy the reef. The reef is made-up of different size boulder or rocks on a sandy bottom. The shallow depth and proximity to land make this reef best dived when the swell is not running.
A reef with numerous gullies, crevices and sandy patches. A prospect not to be missed where there are huge amounts of fish life – black cheek moray eels, honeycomb morays, lionfish and large rays are just some of the examples If you want to explore and see pinnacle rocks, sand gullies, plate coral and a variety of fish life especially rays and scorpion fish then this is the reef to experience. This reef is suitable for all levels of divers. The average depth of this site is 12 meters with a maximum of 14 meters.
This reef together with Cloudbreak & Brents are reefs that are not commonly dived as they are very deep and can drop to 50m plus. The reefs when dived are dived by the tech divers who would do it on rebreathers etc. Beyond the level of recreational diving.
This reef lies further out than the others reefs and is between 21 – 25 metres deep, with excellent visibility. It got its name from 3 pinnacles about 50 metres apart from each other. There is an abundance of marine life here including lionfish, moray eels and also Manta rays. This reef is similar to the aquarium as it is quite small. Due to the depth and its location, some rare sightings of the big game fish species like sail fish and black marlin have been reported here. Three Sisters is known for the contrast between the darkness of the reef, the white sand and the blue indian ocean water.
Dive site is 35 – 38 m deep and is a long flat reef made up of big “square blocks” with a ledge that runs along the out-to-seaside. Like the Pinnacles, this reef also attracts the game fish and therefore attracting the sharks. Because this reef runs in a similar depth to the Pinnacles, the currents are sometimes unpredictable. This reef is best during summer.
Dive site; 25 m. This is a large boulder similar to Mavericks and is hollow inside, on the bottom it has big “windows” to look into. The Aquarium is surrounded by small rocky outcrops that house delicate black corals inside the cavity and outside teems with colourful reef fish. It is also home to territorial white & purple leaf fish clinging onto the rocks with their pectoral fins. This small but amazing reef lies in 25m of water. Although this reef is small it is one of the prettiest reefs by far.
The dive site is 18 – 20m deep. This reef got its name from the anchor at the southern inshore end of Kev’s Ledge. There are also 2 parallel ledges with a wide variety and abundance of marine and reef life. This is a long pretty stretch of the reef with the southern part the most interesting. There are a lot of hard and soft corals to look at as well as the odd Anemone and its Clown Fish or family of Domino Fish. During Whale season you can hear whalesongs on this reef.
This reef stretches about 3km, almost the whole length of Malongane Bay.It has many gullies and caves that you can explore, with a lot of corals and plentiful marine life. This reef starts, on the inshore side, at about 16m and makes its way up to about 13m, before it fades into the sand at 17m on the seaward side. This whole reef is covered with pristine hard and soft corals. Large areas are covered by Stag Horn Coral. Due to its shallow depth and proximity to the beach, this reef is a perfect playground for Juvenile Fish and game fish alike. Juvenile Pickhandle Barracuda can be seen on the inshore side patrolling for their next catch. Spotted Eagle Rays can also be seen gliding over the sand.
This is a 6m rocky ledge and is similar to a wall dive. There is also abundant marine life. This reef ranges from 19m to 25m on the sand. It is the only ‘wall dive’ in Ponta Do Ouro with a big over hang on the bottom where you sometimes find the Hawksbill Turtle sleeping. Many different species of nudibranch are found here. There is a big mound of Maze Coral at the entrance of the overhang that protects the Juvenile Fish. Kev’s ledge comes to a point where all the bigger fish congregate and face the current.
The dive site is 10 -15 metres deep. This is a reef with rock pinnacles, sand gullies, coral and a variety of marine life like rays and scorpion fish.
Ridge dive site
12 – 16m Deep. This reef has a ledge that is about 4 m high with a lot of both hard and soft coral in beautiful profusion. There is a lot of marine life including turtles and kingfish and a variety of other marine life.
Part of the Malongane’s deep reef system, this reef lies in 25 m of water. Wayne’s World has a large swim through and more often than not you will find the resident Potato Bass lurking in the shadows.
18 – 24m Deep. Experience the thrill of swimming through the magnificent arch on the northern side of Kev’s Ledge. This is a dive site that is rich in marine life.
25 – 28m Deep. Mavericks is situated in the Malongane Bay. It is an extension of Malongane’s deeper reef system and is one of Malongane’s deeper dives for more experienced divers. In the middle of the sand is a pinnacle rock that is 20m across & 30m long. There is also has a host of marine life. The reef itself is covered in beautiful hard and soft coral and mushroom coral can also be found.
This reef is between 9 – 19 metres deep. It is one of the larger coral reefs at Ponta Malongane, hence the name. There is a big gully in the centre of this reef and the more daring divers seeking adventure, can swim through the arches and under the overhangs where moray eels can be found. This factor is a highlight of a dive on Texas reef. Various corals like, Plate, Staghorn and table are to be found here, as well as a wide variety of marine life, like cowries, nudibranchs, starfish and giant clams. The major part of the reef is flat but there are drop-offs and caves on the inshore side of the reef. Texas is one of the prettier reefs and is a delight to divers who lean to studying and identifying corals and marine growth and the different species of fish. You cannot appreciate this reef with just one dive so you have to come back for a repeat or two. Because this reef is relatively shallow divers have more than enough time to enjoy the wonders of Texas. It must be pointed out that Texas is so close to the shore, you cannot dive this reef with a big swell running.
20 – 25m Deep. This is one of the best known of Ponto’s dive sites. situated just off the Madejanine Point. It is about a 20 – 30 min boat ride from Ponta Do Ouro depending on the weather. Bass city is famous for the giant territorial potato bass that makes these five interesting mounds of reef their home. They keep a watchful eye on the diving groups and are extremely inquisitive. Bert, the diver’s friend, is famous throughout the waters of southern Mozambique and Bass City is his residence. He is the only potato bass that will come and swim with you. A series of seven rocky outcrops which are home to 4-6 large potato bass. There are emperor angelfish, lionfish, moray eels, black cheek eel and at the north end, you will find Garden Eels on the sandy bottom. Brown stingrays and octopus, as well as juvenile fish, are plentiful and baitfish huddle together in tight shoals over the reef as game fish come to feed on them, causing the shoals to dart and jink in desperate attempts to escape. There are also many different rays like Blue Spotted, Marble Electric and Ribbon Tail Ray. These are found either under the ledges or swimming across the reef. The reef itself is covered with many different types of seaweed and plants and boxer shrimp and mantis shrimp are also found.
Pinnacles dive site
28 – 40m Deep. Here you dive on the edge of a continental shelf and is not recommended for inexperienced divers. The best time to dive this reef is during the summer months. It is about a 20 – 30 min. The boat ride from Ponta Do Ouro and is very dependant on weather conditions. Pinnacles are best during summer when shoals of game fish are encountered.T his reef is 5 km out to sea and diving here can be very different from the inshore reefs.
The dive site is 12 – 18 metres deep This is a chance to experience an under water paradise, hence the name. See beautiful corals, tremendous gullies and overhangs can be swam under, where moray eels live in their cracks and holes, as well as a wide variety of reef fish. Paradise Ledge is a large reef with a depth off 9 to 17 metres. It is predominantly a rock reef, but some coral species can be found here. As the shallow parts of this reef tend towards the flat and bland side, the best place to dive is on the seaward side. Here the reef slopes into the sand with a variety of cracks and overhangs. On days when the current is strong this reef is perfect to dive on as you can just sit back and enjoy the ride. Red Fang Triggerfish are in abundance on Paradise Ledge and one sees them everywhere in mid water going about their business of keeping competitors out of their territory, even the odd diver gets helped along if they stray into this territory.