Fantastic Sodwana Bay

We continued up the coast to fantastic Sodwana Bay from St. Lucia. After some goodbyes with Mariska and the gang at Bibs Hostel, we were off! A few hours drive found us up near the Mozambique border and the border to Swaziland (now known as Eswatini). We had several recommendations to use a Dive Shop in Sodwana called Reefteach – One recommendation was from the fellow from whom M.C. and I bought our new Mares dive computers –

My new dive computer – we did some dives in Oman without computers and we both missed them…so found an online shop that would deliver to us at our Joburg guesthouse!

The other recommendation came through friends back in Canada who had met a South African fellow in Peru (talk about convoluted). He spoke to the head of NAUI for South Africa who also referred us to Reefteach. The recommendations were spot on! This is why we talk to people and not always rely on the bloody interweb….

Reefteach is run by its original founder Neville Ayliffe whose presence instills confidence in all around him. He was one of the original chaps to scout out the reef at Sodwana and has been diving it since the 80s at least! He has even discovered new fish which are named after him! Both girls did some of their first Sodwana dives with Neville as their Dive Buddy. Neville also had a young Instructor at Reefteach named Ed Vermaak who also blew us away with his depth of knowledge and enthusiasm for scuba diving. We were so impressed with 21 year old Ed, that we had him teach Kaia her PADI Advanced Open Water Course. He also taught Marie-Christine and I our PADI Enriched Air Specialty Course. Marie-Christine is a PADI Rescue Dive and I am a Divemaster so i reckon we are a bit picky when it comes to who will teach our kids. We cannot recommend Ed enough!

Reefteach also has accommodation onsite which was amazing…we had a massive place and just loved it! We loved it so much 4 days of diving turned into 2 weeks. Sodwana had everything – nice place to live, access to food to cook, cheap food if we wanted to eat out and a wonderful crew of people. There are bigger dive operations in Sodwana but for us – Reefteach is THE place.

Entrance to Reefteach – we lived up the right hand stairs ands past the pool – fabulous!
Past the pool over by the big palm trees! Our place also had an outside braai area and a table and chairs for school time!
Our door, table and braai behind the table.

The door to our little piece of heaven….
Our pool was well used by the kids despite being super cold….needles to say M.C. and I never got into the pool!

Our downstairs kitchen, dining room and living room -very large! Yeah it was laundry day….

Living room, dining room and kitchen area
Upstairs common area
Balcony that acted as a drying area. The shame about South Africa is that everything has to be behind walls and bars due to security….
Skye’s bedroom – all bedrooms have en-suite bathrooms as each can be rented separately. We had three of four bedrooms and one was locked for most of our tenure. Then another Reefteach diver – Nick – the English Scallywag – took the fourth room (to the girls delight as he was a lot of fun!)

Kaia and WIllows room
The adults quarters


The diving here was absolutely outstanding. One evening Neville gave a talk about why it is so good. Only one tributary river, lots of fish food and few things that destroy coral. The diversity of both flora and fauna was incredible. So much coral and so many different types and colours, of fish. As it was low season, we had each site to ourselves and our groups were only 6-11 people. If there were more people, the other group would go to a different site – not a big problem as we were a bit limited by the kids depth limits. Both e limited to 15 metres until Kaia did her Advanced Course then she could go to 22m.
Overall between the four of us we did over 40 dives! We saw so much i can’ even begin to list it all but will name a few highlights. Kaia was lucky enough to spot a Ragged-Tooth Shark. Kaia and I had a pod of dolphins accompany our boat home one day. We saw many turtles, octopus, many types of rays and eels, and a few free-swimming eels!! We saw lots of squid, cuttlefish, nudibranch, sea slugs, stone fish, crocodile fish, sole and flounder, cleaner wrasse, many shrimp and crabs, and Nemo’s clownfish relatives. Also tons of small fish like dominos, chocolate dip, and fire goby.

Between M.C. and myself we have been diving at some great places – Sodwana deserves a place at or near the top of our list. We planned to be there for 4 days and it turned into 2 weeks. Big thanx to Reefteach and the staff there – they made it worth staying. We also met some amazing other divers there who inspired us/taught us/befriended us. They also made the experience phenomenal.
Most of our diving was done at 2 Mile Reef – it was spectacular. We were somewhat limited since Skye and Kaia were only allowed to dive to 15 metres – @ Mile had plenty of superb dive sites that they could both dive. Once Kaia did her Advanced Course she could go to 22metres….
Some write-ups about our dives
Another write-up of our main dive sites
Our view down the beach. The little lagoon on the right was used to wash out our wetsuits etc.
View out to sea from our Reefteach tent for preparations. Sometimes the water was a wee bit rough and we had to go out approx 2 Miles (3.2 k in real measurement).

Two of our girls out among the tide pools.

Tide pools

Rough seas.

Reefteach tent on the left of the lagoon

Wandering to the upper area for a snack


Yummy smoothies and shakes. Downside is marauding monkeys trying to steal everything!
Nice spot at Sodwana for a snack or drink.
Sodwana is an idyllic place – the tractors are there to push out the dive and fishing boats. The boats are then pulled back to their ‘bases’ at the end of each day. Days end around noon or one as the water gets too rough. Our boats were brought all the way back to where we stayed.
A view across the Bay. Fishing boats out front. Only large men seem to fish here!

Walk down from hill and snack bar.
Good times in the surf after diving.


Good times!
Fun in the sea!

Beach birds everywhere
The gang on the beach
Post dive – Willow was a rock star as she i s too young to dive. That being said – after listening to her sisters course work she is as educated about diving as any qualified diver. She is just too young at 8 years old. In 14 months she will be a very able diver….
More beach shots

The gang!

A rare pic of all the globetrotting five!
Who doesn’t look good in neoprene? Yes i had a head shave….three months later i cut off the beard….
Another view down the beach. – so open and so vast

Our Reefteach prep tent

Getting set to dive.
Suiting up

The incomparable Neville Ayliffe in blue
Willow suiting up for some snorkeling
Skye suiting up
Putting the scuba gear together
Getting it all back off….
Often the little two did not come out on the water so spent some fun times on shore

Nothing better than diggin a hole

They loved helping out with the gear in the truck!
Cleaner shrimp
Moray eel in coral

Lovely nudibranch among awesome coral – nudibranch means their gills are on the outside

Another nudibranch

Pipe fish – they try and hid among other fish (kinda hard when you are yellow) to hunt

Blue spotted Ray

clown triggerfish – nature is either awesome or drunk…

Clown triggerfish again

More cleaner shrimp

Nemo’s relatives – clownfish hanging out…



Small Sea spider = I think

Anoth3r big moray eel

Sea slug.

Not sure what this was

Another nudibranch

Honeycomb moray eel

Stonefish or scorpion fish – master of disguise = may have been our crocodile fish too

Can you see the fish?

So much cool life

Star fish

Octopus trying to hide

Awesome local style of the back seat.
The girls got to play with these little guys at the local store…

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