Sodwana Bay Dive Trip!!

Hello beautifuls!!

It’s been so long since my last blog post!! I definitely need to be more consistent here! 
I wanted to share a little bit about my dive trips as I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the dives and the travel, for the dive questions I've decided to answer these in a YouTube video, my first, so I’m hella nervous to be doing one of those, but ill also transcribe when I get a chance, soooooo lets dive in!!

In September I went for a dive trip with a dive company called scuba.co.za to Sodwana Bay (I got my Open Water & Advanced certification with them), this was my first dive trip as all other dives have pretty much solo and as and when I can, this trip was preplanned and the idea was to dive all day everyday, and we did just that! The days went by so quickly after the dives, I now understand why it’s called a dive trip!

They had 2 dive options – 3 night, 4 dive and 4 nights, 6 dives, I went with the first option as I think work commitments required me to be home soonest! Let’s dive in on the trip details

Trip Dates               : 20 – 23 September 2018
Accommodation      : Sodwana Bay Lodge
Acc Inclusives         : Bed, Breakfast and Dinner


Dive Plan
-       2 Dives on the 21st
-       2 Dives on the 22nd
-       Because of the altitude on the drive back, it was recommended to not drive back on the same day as your last dive, so to wait 24 hours before driving back.

Guys, I finally found a dive buddy!!
 

Equipment
I currently have my own wetsuit, fins, mask, snorkel and dive watch, all I needed was a cylinder, a BCD, Regulator and weights – this worked out awesome as Sodwana Bay Lodge is a dive centre (with a well-stocked dive shop as well), so we could arrange for the gear we needed with scuba.co.za, and they arranged with Sodwana Bay Lodge. If you had no gear, you could do a full gear rental there which is pretty cool as well.


Day 2 - when I dived with the Advanced divers :)

Transporting of Gear to the beach
Part of the awesomeness of our trip is that there was a team dedicated to packing, transporting, offloading, collecting and cleaning of our gear daily after the dives, this is important for me cause 2 dives later, I wasn’t trying to still do admin :)

Everyone’s gear was tagged with their name so each day you used the same set of gear/equipment, this is pretty cool cause much as I’ve gotten the snorkel sorted, the idea of sharing mouth stuff via the regulator was a little off putting 

Dive Group
The most beautiful people, needless to say I found home with the crazier lot.. I'm touched by each one of them and so humbled to have them as friends after the trip! 
Advanced Divers Group

Love!

Food
Breakfast
Breakfast was a little bit of a trick as our first dive was at 07h00, this means everyone left the lodge at 6h30 and most hadn’t eaten, the idea was you could go back to the lodge for breakfast buuuuuuuut that’s just too much admin, there’s an awesome place on the beach next to all the dive operators that serves great breakfast and lunch, so often times, breakfast and lunch didn’t happen per ‘times’ so we often had brunch and dinner :) brunch had at the food place on the beach.
Ps, the breakfast served at the Lodge was good, had it on my last day just before checking out, nice variety and the ladies were also very helpful and could cater to your needs/diet.

Dinner
The Lighthouse restaurant has the best pizza I've ever tasted in my life!! I had the priviledge of having lunch here in December after doing my Discover Scuba course with Coral Divers and when I finished my dive, starving, I found this place and legit.. they have the best pizza ever! So with lunch never happening, we had pizza here on the 2ndnight I think. And yes, the pizza was still hella amazing!
Lighthouse
Dinner at the Lodge was also nice, we were a large dive group, maybe about 16? So some of the guys opted to rent a house and live together (they’d just come from a Dive trip to the Red Sea together), so on the last evening I had supper with them, they'd braaid to no end which was pretty cool as well.
Dinner with the Dive Group

Note : I would actually recommend checking the bed fee vs bed, breakfast and dinner especially if you're on a dive trip as thinking back to our trip, of the 3 nights I was there, I had breakfast at the logde once and dinner once.. it’s also a trick driving up and down from the beach as the entry lines can get long especially in the weekend sooooo..**!


Accommodation
Loved : 
  • The bedrooms, bed was so comfortable with clean crisp fresh white linen (Love!), cabin was nice and big enough with your own balcony looking out into the gardens, love!
  • Fridge in rooms means you can bring some of your own snacks
  • Convenient location
Not so much
  • Food was a little oily, I had to rescue my eggs from drowning :) :)



Sodwana Bay
I love this place.. I love the community! Getting around is pretty easy cause everything is relatively close to each other, from the lodge, in about 5 minutes you could walk to a few restaurants and stores so not too much driving.
The beach is a little further down, I would recommend driving especially if you have bags/gear cause once you enter Isimangaliso Park, there’s still quite a bit of walking inside to get to the dive operators side.




Sodwana Bay - Isimangaliso Wetland Park Top 5 Facts

  • Sodwana Bay is home to 1200 species of marine life
  • Its also one of the top ten dive destinations in the world, with coral reefs that contain over 1200 species of fish as well as a variety of underwater seascapes and marine flora (plant life) and fauna (all of the animals in the region)
  • It is home to the Coelacanth (a rare order of fish that was thought to be extinct)
  • Sodwana shores are visited by humpback whales, sharks, dolphins, turtles through the year, perfect place to see these beautiful wonders!
  • Its a marine protected area


Attractions - Must see!
On one of the evenings we went to this beautiful look out spot, I actually took some drone footage (on the 'dive' YouTube video), we had drinks and just relaxed, so lovely. The place is called Mgobezeleni Lake, a must see!


This moment was so special.. it will forever be etched in my heart!!


Purchases
A typical tourist! I bought myself a cute Sodwana Top, and 2 Freediving suits from a freedive store I bumped into, also bought a cute bikini from one of the small shops there, 

My free dive/Surf suit
One of the guys found a shark tooth on one of our dives and gave it to me, this was so special, I then asked one of the ladies that make beads to put it on a string for me so I could wear it around my neck.. I love it! I always believe in supporting any local community you go to in one way or another.
My Sodwana Top with my Raggie tooth necklace
  
Requirements
To be part of the trip you needed to,
-       Be a PADI certified diver, the minimum course being an Open Water Diver which allows you to dive up to 18m.
-       Be medically fit (everyone had to fill in a medical questionnaire, this is a safety thing)
-       Sign an indemnity form, naturally, on trips like this, anything could happen 

Sodwana Bay Beach /Isimangaliso Wetland Park Requirements
In order to dive in Sodwana, because it’s a marine protected area, everyone needed to purchase a dive permit (Angling), you could also purchase it at the Lodge, but I opted to get mine at the post office, it didn’t cost a lot I think just under R200 and is valid for 1 year. 
Ps, you may need to present your dive certification card for verification.



To note 
-       We all had to carry a fair amount of cash as beach entry cost needed to be paid in cash (they don’t accept credit or debit cards). R50 pp per day + R58 per car per day (subject to change)
-       ATM’s are limited in Sodwana so if you’re planning to head out there, sort the cash story out before you get there*
-       They do accept Rhino cards so if you have one, do bring it with

-       When travelling to Sodwana Bai, it is advised to not use the Jozini road to Mbazwana as it’s a dirt road with no cell reception, and because it takes you through the game reserve, should you arrive after 17h00, you would need to turn back and use the main route, careful here!



Link to the YouTube videos from the trip**!

Happy reading and watching, mass love!!

Xx


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