About Our Company
Umkomaas Lodge Dive Charters is located in the small town of Umkomaas, 40km south of Durban on the South African coastline. Established in 1985, the dive centre is the only one in the area directly located on the beachfront, and the only one in town offering caged shark dives to the public. It is the oldest PADI dive centre in South Africa and holds a five-star Gold Palm resort certification.
The Plight Of The Shark
Since the Lodge’s owner, Bryan Vivier, began diving with the sharks of Aliwal Shoal eighteen years ago he has worked to build public awareness of those sharks, and for the conservation that is so necessary for their continued existence on our coast. Previously, the diving industry in Umkomaas has revolved around exactly that- divers. Bryan realised that in order to introduce shark awareness and appreciation to a wider audience, he needed to be able to target those who weren’t already comfortable in the water.
Safety Always First
The concept of using a cage to get close to sharks is that it provides a visual and tactile deterrent to the sharks, enabling divers to experience them in complete safety. Although the Lodge has never had a single incident with our sharks even when encountering them outside the cage, we appreciate that for some, the added assurance may be appealing. We feel that nothing should stop people from experiencing the beauty and wonder of a shark encounter.
No Experience Needed
To dive in the cage, guests need no previous experience, either with diving or with swimming. You need only a sense of adventure, and the desire to experience some of the planet’s most exciting species up close and personal. The cage that we use is specifically designed and strengthened to withstand the rigours of cage shark diving on the South Coast. It is SAMSA (South African Marine Safety Association) approved, and has passed engineer inspection. It can safely and comfortably accommodate up to five people at a time.
At Umkomaas Lodge Dive Charters, we guarantee that you will see sharks during your experience. On every dive, we encounter between five and fifty oceanic blacktip sharks, and during the summer months we frequently see the beautiful and misunderstood tiger shark.
Throughout the year, it is possible to see bull sharks, and the winter months bring with them the elusive dusky shark. The beauty of these sharks is unparalleled, and we often hear that encountering them has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our guests.