This spot has been added by

Remora
Remora

1 spot added - 15 photos shared

Other contributors You can help us keep this page up-to-date by uploading your pictures to the photo gallery, or by sending us your comments via the contact form

Kosi Bay reef is one of the most unique and attractive snorkeling spots in KwaZulu-Natal. Located at the mouth of a river and surrounded by sandbanks, it is home to an abundant underwater life, which earned it its nickname “Aquarium Reef”. Moray eels, scorpionfish and a great diversity of colorful fish await you on this unique spot which is worth the detour if you are visiting the region.

Immaculate puffer at Kosi Bay
An immaculate puffer noted over the sandy beds.

How to get to Kosi Bay Mouth snorkeling spot?

Kosi Bay is located at the far north of the east coast of South Africa, a few kilometers from the border with Mozambique. You can go with a classic vehicle to the entrance of the nature reserve. Park entrance fee is R50/adult (R25/children), +R50/vehicle, +R5pp. community levy (2021). Gate entry times are 6:00 to 18:00.

The entrance gate is accessible by any car, but from the entrance gate to the mouth a 4×4 vehicle is required. You can also walk the approx. 2km to the river mouth. Many nearby lodges also offer 4×4 transfers to the mouth. From the car park at the mouth, a short walk and wade through the water are required to get to the reef.

Kosi Bay Mouth Aquarium Reef snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling Kosi Bay Mouth

Enter the water from the sandbank facing the reef. It’s best to snorkel at high tide because the water pushing in from the sea increases visibility and currents are less strong.

Kosi Bay Mouth snorkeling exploration tips

Enter the water at the edge of the reef and swim above it from one edge to the other. The water depth varies with the tide but is not very deep, just deep enough to comfortably glide above the reef.

Snappers at Kosi Bay
Large schools of snappers are found in the deepest areas.

Snorkeling along the reef, you will come across many fish. Lagoon triggerfish, masked bannerfish and convict surgeons are very common around the reef, in which you may also find moray eels, spotfin lionfish and Indian Ocean lionfish, two very similar species. Huge schools of snappers and grunt also shelter in the deeper areas.

Lionfish in Kosi Bay
Lionfish are frequently seen in the small caves and crevices of the reef.

You should watch out for the currents which do become stronger at low tide but otherwise, it is a very easy snorkeling spot and good for beginners.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

Several lodges and campsites are available near the gate.

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Protected areaKosi Bay Nature Reserve
  • Maximum depth12ft/4m
  • Water entranceFrom a sandbank
  • Potential DangersStonefish, lionfish, eels
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsPark entrance fees (see below)
  • Restaurants nearbyNo

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.