While most people come to South Africa to dive in oceans and with terrific sharks, some of the best technical diving occurs further inland, in the North-West Province. Here divers have their pick of three dive sites, all uniquely challenging.
First, Miracle Waters is a former open-cast chrome mine located just outside of Brits. At 4920 feet (1500 meters) above sea level, the clear spring water that has filled the mine is popular with divers of all levels because of the training opportunities it presents. In addition to being an altitude dive, the area offers the chance to become certified in a non-stressful environment. It also has advanced and technical elements for those wishing to further their education. Don’t expect to be bored in the water. There are several navigable items scattered throughout the site, including a bus, helicopter, airplane and computer station.
Marico Oog, a scenic, spring-filled watering hole near Zeerust/Lichtenburg, is a favorite among local divers. The 52-foot (16-meter) deep site offers crystal clear water and abundant plant life, such as the stems of water lilies that create an underwater maze. This site is particularly useful as a night diving training area. However, good buoyancy control is imperative. If the bottom layer of silt is turned up, visibility can plummet to less than 3 feet (1 meter). If you plan to dive in Marico Oog, you must bring your own gear with you as there is no diving facility in the area.
Finally, Wondergat is a natural dolomite sinkhole that is reserved for advanced and technical divers only. The altitude dive drops to 230 feet (70 meters) and includes several caves. As an added bonus, the sinkhole is home to interesting rock formations called stramatalites which take the form of wagonwheel-like formations. Diving services are available in the area, but be warned, the site requires a hike up and down 35 irregular steps carrying a full kit.
Scuba diving in the North-West province of South Africa is possible year-round. However, expect cooler temperatures during the winter season (June-August). Water temperatures can range from 77 to 84°F (25 to 29°C). If you want to advance to a new level in your scuba diving adventure or are looking for something a little different during a dive trip to South Africa, the unique dive sites of the North-West territory are your answer.