Underwater playgrounds: suit up and explore this awesome wreck dive

The waters off the Cape Peninsula offer a range of scuba-diving options, but it is the 500 plus shipwrecks that attract divers most of all. Here’s one multi-wreck dive well worth submerging for…

The Smits wrecks, which lie in the picturesque Smitswinkel Bay just outside the Cape of Good Hope section of Table Mountain National Park, offer some of the best diving in the country. Five vessels – two navy frigates (the SAS Transvaal and SAS Good Hope), a diamond dredger (the MV Rockeater) and two fishing trawlers (the MFV Princess Elizabeth and the MFV Orotava) – were scuttled in the 1970s to form an artificial reef, which today is home to a rich display of marine flora and fauna. Despite their depth (36-40 metres) the wrecks are close together, so if you plan properly it is possible to explore more than one wreck on a dive.

The sensation of swimming away from one wreck as the next appears in the murky depths is really quite dramatic. If you plan properly you can actually take in all the wrecks on one dive, but as each wreck is interesting it’s a pity to rush. It’s dark down there, so don’t forget your torch to fully appreciate the beauty and colour of the soft corals, sponges, gorgonian fans and colourful klipfish.

Wreck diving can be dangerous if safety rules are not observed so always dive with a qualified guide – and remember that penetration diving requires specialist training. Many of these wrecks are protected by law – please treat them all with respect and do not disturb, or remove anything from the wreckage.