My travels on this occasion took me a little further South of my homeland, which is Zimbabwe for those of you who don’t know. Together with my beautiful Mom we caught an early flight from Harare to Johannesburg, South Africa’s biggest city and capital of the Gauteng province. The flight is only an hour and thirty minutes so we arrived with most of the day still ahead of us which was important as we needed to drive from Johannesburg to Sodwana Bay which is located on the North East coast of South Africa approximately 570kms (354miles) from Johannesburg. It is part of the iSimangaliso Coast line and is classified as one of the top dive sites in the world.
At O.R Tambo airport in Johannesburg, my Mom’s friend Colin met us and we climbed into his car and off we went directly towards our destination.
It was certainly a beautiful drive watching the geography change from the vast, flat plains of the Gauteng province sprinkled with pockets of ‘Cosmos’ an indigenous, purple and white coloured wild flower to the rolling, majestic tree-filled hills of the KwaZulu-Natal province. The further East we travelled, the more ‘rural’ it became, quaint little villages nestled on the hillsides with the locals going about their daily business whilst we zoomed past, a blur of white, holiday vibes most certainly on our minds!
After several hours of driving we finally reached our home for the next 5 days, Triton Dive Lodge, which is approximately 10kms from the beach. It was night when we arrived and all that we had to welcome us was the stars above in all their glory, with minimal light pollution in the area they were a sight to behold!
*A note to travellers – Sodwana Bay offers no shore front accommodation as it is a National Park so the beach and surrounding landscape and reefs are preserved areas.
First light the next morning we took the chance to accompany Colin on his first dive of the holiday. Both Mom and I still needed to have a pool session first to acclimate and familiarise ourselves with the diving equipment so whilst Colin went out on the boat Mom and I explored the beach searching for shells and stones and played in the waves. What a magical place this was and we hadn’t even got to the diving yet!
After our pool session later that day Mom and I were set to join Colin and the rest of the divers the following day in the sea. Our instructor Paul did a really wonderful job making us feel comfortable and secure with our equipment and with the environment in which we would be exploring.
There certainly was something quite magical as we held on to the boat and raced outwards, over the waves in the trusted and capable hands of our skipper, Grant, away from the shore towards the two mile reef where we would be diving.
If you have never tried Scuba Diving before I would highly recommend that you do attempt it, the opportunity to explore beneath the waves, a world that is so vastly different from our own is truly amazing and mesmerising. In Sodwana the reef life was just incredible, we saw so many different types of marine life on each dive, probably a highlight was the turtle on our very first dive! Although the larger sea creatures can be impressive, the smaller ones are just as beautiful and to see them all in their natural habitat is very special. What amazed me the most was the proximity to which the fishes allowed us to get to them, they were quite content to swim around us, within arms length going about their business and some of them with what appeared to be an expression of “Bloody tourists!” across their faces.
I couldn’t say I enjoyed one aspect more than another out of the diving experience but something I found which just added to the entire experience was just before I broke the surface of the ocean after each dive. It was necessary for us to remain at a depth of 3 metres for a few minutes in order that we ‘decompressed’ so that we did not ascend too quickly and risk injuring ourselves.
Suspended in the shafts of sunlight which broke through the water and close enough to see through the waves to the blue sky above, this was just mesmerising and it made me feel overwhelmingly blessed to get to experience such a marvellous part of our world.
I would like to take the chance now to say a huge thank you to everyone at Triton Dive Lodge, Eve and her team did a superb job in making us feel welcome and they certainly took care of us very well. Thank you to our instructor Paul, a natural teacher with a very calming nature, we enjoyed our holiday so much that we decided to take our One Star diving certification over the last two nights, thank you Paul for taking the time with us, we both really appreciate it.
“The future is in the hands of those who explore… and from all the beauty they discover while crossing perpetually receding frontiers, they develop for nature and for humankind an infinite love.” – Jacques Cousteau