We arrived in Sodwana Bay late Thursday evening on May 5th. We wanted to make Sodwana part of our itinerary because Merv’s friend Grant lives there. He’s been living there for about 4-5 years and is an underwater videographer. When we arrived we were greeted by his 3 dogs and when I asked how many there were total he said 11. As my eyes got big he explained that 8 pups had just been born a week ago.
Sodwana is a great chill beach town. No commercialism just locals running their businesses. The beach area is part of a nature reserve and building is not permitted on it. The dive concessions operate straight off of the beach. The boats launch from the shore, which is a hairy experience to say the least. A tractor pushes the boat from the beach to the shores edge. After that everyone turns the boat around and begins to push it into the water while waves are crashing and trying to prevent this process. First on is the captain, then the ladies, and finally the men. Once on you are instructed to put on a life jacket and wedge your feet into the foot straps bolted to the bottom of the boat. The craziness is just beginning as you battle the crashing waves. Not for those with weak stomachs. We did one dive at 2 mile reef. It was my first one in about a year and was a good refresher.
Merv filming as we get ready for our first dive
Scuba gear drying out waiting to be packed up.
We spent a total of 4 nights in Sodwana. Grant’s parents and girlfriend were visiting as well so we all took turns making meals and cleaning up. Grant showed us his favorite out of the way spots during the afternoons.The first was Lake Sibaya. I will interject here for a moment about the roads we were traveling on. The lake was 13k’s to the north and it took 45 minutes to an hour to get there. You cannot get far without a four wheel drive vehicle around here. The lake did not disappoint. We were there for sunset. There were two groups of hippos on opposite sides of the lake. We waited until dark in hopes of seeing them coming out of the water but we’re denied. They typically leave the water to graze at last light and return to the water at first light.
Lake Sibaya is the largest fresh water lake in South Africa with a surface area of 77 km² and an average depth of 13 m. The lake was previously connected to the sea and with the closure of the estuary, numerous invertebrates and vertebrates were trapped in a fresh water enviroment.
The second spot is known as Two Baboon Junction. It is a spot only known to the locals, situated on public land where a lot of cattle graze. The junction is where to roads meet in a creek. Trees overhang and provide great shade. You park right in water that is about calf high and spend the day relaxing with a chair in the creek.