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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.

Jesser Point, Sodwana Bay
The rock pools at Jesser Point, Sodwana Bay.

How to get to Sodwana Bay snorkeling location?

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 (30 rands per person and 35 rands per car a day).

Sodwana Bay snorkeling map, South Africa
Sodwana Bay – Jesser Point snorkeling map.

Water entrance for snorkeling Sodwana Bay

Water entrance is from the beach, at low tide, from one of the natural pools facing the beach. The conditions are variable and can be dangerous when the sea is rough, so always ask advice from the lifeguards or National Park guards before getting into the water.

Sodwana Bay snorkeling tips

Jesser Point features several natural pools dug out in the rocks. In the areas sheltered from waves and currents, the depth is never over 6 feet/2 meters. The sea bed is made up of rocks interspersed with small coral, but also sea grass and sandy areas.

Shoal of convict tang in Sodwana Bay
A shoal of convict tang in one of Jesser Point rock pools.

Explore the different pools to observe shoals of convict tang, small groups of sargo and sergeant major, as well as bright yellow raccoon butterflyfish. Here and there, needlefish dart up to the surface, seeking out their prey.

This part of the spot is well suited to children and beginners, who can snorkel in good safety conditions. Only experienced snorkelers in ideal sea conditions can venture to the other side of the rocks.

Coral in Jesser Point, Sodwana Bay
Small coral can be noted on some rocks.

Winter, the less windy season in this part of South Africa, is the best period for snorkeling in Sodwana Bay. The water temperature is fairly cool at this time of year, so don’t forget to wear a rashguard.

Restaurants and accommodation in Sodwana Bay

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, a few minutes’ walk from the beach, offer accommodation and meals to visitors.


  • Level required Beginner
  • Protected areaSodwana Bay National Park
  • Maximum depth8ft/2.5m in the pools
  • Water entranceA bit tricky, from rocks
  • Potential DangersWaves, currents
  • LifeguardYes
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsR30 pp. entrance fee + R35 per vehicle
  • Restaurants nearbyYes
  • Public toilets & showersYes

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.