Seasonal Sightings In Sodwana Bay

Sodwana Bay is a fantastic, year-round dive destination that lies within the boundaries of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park. These reefs are of the most southerly coral reefs in the world and are fed by warm water carried southward by the Agulhas Current.
Sodwana Bay Seasonal Sightings

Seasonal Sightings in Sodwana Bay

January - April
• Whale Sharks
• Manta Rays
• Ragged-tooth Sharks
• Loggerhead Turtles
• Leatherback Turtles
Whale Shark
January - April
May to August
• Humpback Whales
Humpback Whale
May to August
September - December
• Whale Sharks
• Manta Rays
• Ragged-tooth Sharks
• Loggerhead Turtles
• Leatherback Turtles
• Humpback Whales
September - December

The above list is simply to give an idea on when is the best time to see specific marine life in Sodwana Bay, but often is random and some species can be seen all year round.

It only mentions the sightings that are popular. There are still many species that can be seen whilst diving this reef, which are not mentioned in this article.

May to November

Humpback Whale Season

    • Where do the Humpback Whales migrate from and where are they going?

The whales start their migration in the Antarctic waters where they predominantly feed on plankton, tiny crustaceans and other schoolings of small fish. From there they head down the coastline to the warmer waters near Mozambique, where they will breed and have their young.

Sodwana Bay is towards the end of the Humpback Whales migration and when they have had their young, they will start migrating back towards the Antarctic waters.

November to May

Manta Ray & Whale Shark Season

The Whaleshark populations declined in the area, so they are not spotted as regularly as previous years, they are rightfully on most divers lists to see so always keep an eye out on your safety stops as they are mostly spotted in the shallow waters.

Manta Rays are more regularly spotted than the Whaleshark. Both the Reef and Oceanic Manta Ray can be spotted in Sodwana Bay and like to stick more on the surface and in the mid water.

Nesting Loggerhead & Leatherback Turtles

Mid November to February

Each year the Leatherback and Loggerhead female turtles come ashore Sodwana Bay to lay their eggs by burying them in the sand to keep them warm and protected, after laying their eggs the female turtles head back out to sea.

You can do some turtle tours to experience there nesting rituals and the hatching of the baby turtles. A bucket list experience for sure! 

    • How many eggs do the female Loggerhead & Leatherback turtles lay?

Each turtle lays between 80-100 eggs. She carefully digs and makes her nest in the sand to hide her precious eggs from predators.

    • When do the Leatherback and Loggerhead turtle hatch?

It can take up to 70 days for the Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles to hatch. The hatchlings emerge at night to make their way to the sea. This usually occurs from January to February (sometimes through to March)

Ragged Tooth Shark Season

December to February

The Ragged Tooth Shark also known as the Grey Nurse Shark migrate from the northern Eastern Cape to the southern parts of KwaZulu Natal where they congregate to mate. One of the parts are Aliwal Shoal, a famous reef where you can encounter 100’s of Ragged-tooth sharks on just ONE DIVE! 

From there they move to Sodwana Bay for their gestation period.

All Year Round Diving Destination

Sodwana Bay is beautiful, clean and warm all year-round. The fact that no silt-bearing rivers are close to the area ensures that the corals are pristine, and the visibility is normally lovely.  

Want to dive Sodwana Bay?

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About the Author
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Shannon Stewart
Shannon Stewart

I am co-owner/founder of Travel To Dive. Also a PADI Scuba instructor.

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