Sodwana Bay

Sodwana Bay is part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a vast wetland area that has been listed as a UNESCO world heritage site since 1999. The coast, bathed by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, and its coral reefs make it the number one destination for diving and snorkeling in South Africa. Jesser Point, with its natural pools sheltered from the whims of the ocean, is the most accessible snorkeling spot in the region.
How to get there?

Sodwana Bay is about a 4-hour drive north of Durban. Follow the N2 to Hluhluwe, then turn off onto the R22 towards Mbazwana. Sodwana Bay is then well signposted. The snorkeling spot is on Jesser Point, a rocky point you will have no trouble spotting when you arrive at the main beach. There is an admission fee to the Park (38 rands per person and 47 rands per car a day).

Water entrance

You enter the water from the beach, at low tide, from one of the natural pools that are easy to find.

Aerial view


The Jesser Point snorkeling spot is made up of a number of natural pools dug out in the rocks. In the areas sheltered from waves and currents, the water level is never over 6 feet (2m). The sea bed is made up of rocks interspersed with small coral formations, but also sea grass and sandy areas. You can explore the different pools and observe, in turn, shoals of convict tang, small groups of sargo and sergeant major fish, and also bright yellow raccoon butterflyfish. Here and there, needlefish dart up to the surface, seeking out their prey.

This part of the spot is particularly well adapted to children and beginners, who can snorkel in excellent safety conditions. Only experienced snorkelers in ideal weather conditions can venture to the other side of the rocks. In this area, the water level rises quickly, as do the observation possibilities and the quality of the coral beds.

Winter is the best period for snorkeling in Sodwana Bay, when there is less wind. The water temperature is fairly cool at this time of year, so don't forget your rashguard. The beach is lifeguarded. The conditions are variable and sometimes dangerous, so always ask advice from the lifeguards or National Park guards before getting into the water.

Restaurants & accommodation

On the main beach of Sodwana Bay, across from the snorkeling spot, a small beach bar sells drinks and sandwiches. A number of lodges and diving clubs (Coral Divers), a few minutes' walk from the beach, offer accommodation and meals.

Snorkeling Report gives the most precise tips possible about the snorkeling spots and potential dangers, but each one of us is responsible for our own safety in the water. For more information, take a look at the snorkeling safety page. If you want to add extra information or make any corrections to the spot descriptions, please contact us.

Spot’s weather forecasts (°C)

Spot tips

  • Type of spot
  • Level of difficulty
    Intermediary level
  • Protected area
  • Maximum depth
    8ft (2.5m)
  • Water entrance
    A little complicated, from rocks
  • Potential Dangers
    Waves, currents
  • Lifeguard
  • Visitor numbers
  • Access costs
    38R pp. entrance fee + 47R per vehicle
  • Restaurants nearby
    Yes, inexpensive
  • Public toilets & showers

Spot map

Spot photos

Underwater spot photos

Species you may spot while snorkeling Sodwana Bay

Common name Scientific name Abundance Fishbase Wikipedia
South African Blacktail
Diplodus sargus capensis
Raccoon butterflyfish
Chaetodon lunula
Convict surgeonfish
Acanthurus triostegus
Reef needlefish
Strongylura incisa
Indo-Pacific sergeant
Abudefduf vaigiensis
You encountered a specie at this spot that is not listed here?