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Diving inland in South Africa/Komati Springs

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Komati Springs used to be a mine prior to 1972. When mining because unfeasible, equipment was pulled out, and they ceased pumping out water. The groundwater rose back naturally, thus providing a dive site of note. This left an open hole to 54m, and a cavern and cave system from 9 m to 186m. Water in the hole reached reaches up to 26 degrees in summer, and never drops below 16 degrees in winter. Visibility is 10 – 20m. There are grids at 5, 10 and 30 meters. The site is 915m above sea level, so not as high as the Gauteng sites. Weather is normally good, and dive conditions are always good.

Komati Springs lies between Badplaas and Barberton in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. It is at an altitude of 915m above sea level.


Understand[edit]

Komati Springs, is one of the most popular technical diving and technical diver training sites in inland South Africa due to the depth, accessibility, overhead environment and consistent conditions. Mixed gasses including Air, Nitrox, Oxygen, Trimix and Argon is available on site. Rebreathers are also supported with spares and sodasorb being available. The site is also good for recreational divers as it has an open portion with training grids at 5, 10 and 30 meters respectively.

Position[edit]

S25 56.058 E30 42.648


Komati Springs is about 3 hours drive from Johannesburg. For a map and directions please visit www.komatisprings.com

This site is not in a Marine Protected Area. A permit is not required.


Depth[edit]

Maximum depth in the cave system is 186m, and 53m in open water.

Visibility[edit]

10 to 40m.

Topography[edit]

The area is surrounded by the oldest mountains on the planet dating back to 3.7 billion years. This is a Greenstone Belt area, and these are zones of rocks left over from the original portion of the Earth. It is the oldest well-preserved real estate on Earth. Dotted throughout the area you can also see Komatiites - outcrops consisting of the hottest volcanic lava pipes ever to erupt on the planet. They are named after the Komati River, which in turn carved out the Great Nkomati River Valley. The surrounding grasslands represent the most threatened biome on Earth. .

Geology: The site is an abandoned and flooded mine. The surrounding area has been rehabilitated and is safe.


Conditions[edit]

The water temperature varies seasonally. In summer the surface temperature can rise to 25°C, dropping to about 20°C at about 30m, and 17°C at depth. In winter the water drops to a constant 16 to 17°C throughout the water column.


The site is diveable throughout the year.

Facilities[edit]

  • Permanent platforms at 5m, 10m and 30m with shotlines.
  • 300 bar air filling station on site.
  • Oxygen and Nitrox fills.
  • Helium available for Trimix fills.
  • Argon available for drysuit inflation.
  • Rebreather friendly with sodasorb and small cylinders available.
  • Dive shop on site with good selection of equipment and spares, especially technical and rebreathers.
  • Equipment is available for rental, but must be booked in advance.
  • Camping is available at shady campsites with electrical power at the ablution block.
  • Students in training at IANTD can be accommodated in the dive centre rooms, with full kitchen facilities available.

Get in[edit]

This is a shore dive site. The entry point is steps to the edge, then a ladder to get to the water. Parking is next to dive site.



See[edit][add listing]

Aquatic life[edit]

Features[edit]

The cave system of the abandoned mine is a three-dimensional maze with lots of exploration opportunities.

Photography[edit]

Suggested Routes[edit]

Directions from Johannesburg Take the N12 from JHB to Witbank. Then the N4 towards Nelspruit. (Toll road) About 20-30km past Belfast and past Millies one-stop service station (with the thatch roof) you will get a Carolina turn-off which goes through Machadodorp. Turn Right. Drive into the town and as you get to a church on your right, you will see a sign for Badplaas. Turn left. Follow signs for Badplaas for +- 60km. You will reach a T junction - turn left towards Barberton. 9km further you will find a road sign KOMATI SPRINGS, and at the actual turn-off, a signpost - International Association of Nitrox & Technical Divers - on the Right. Turn right.

Go along the dirt road for 2.7km where you will find Gate 1. Go through the gate for 1.4km to Gate 2. Please sign in - you are now on Nkomazi Game reserve, and their rules need to be followed. Follow the road for 4.3km until you reach Gate 3.

Directions from Durban Take the N2 from Durban & go North. At Gingindlovu take the R68 to Nkwalini/Melmoth. Take the R34 to Vryheid. Take R33 to Piet Retief. Join R29 - head towards Ermelo, But turn off to Amsterdam (R33 again). Follow R33 to Warbarton, join the N17 & turn Right towards Swaziland. Near Lochiel take the R541 towards Badplaas. At T-junction (Badplaas) turn Right. 18 Km further you will find a road sign KOMATI SPRINGS, and at the actual turn-off, a signpost - International Association of Nitrox & Technical Divers - on the Right. Turn right.

Go along the dirt road for 2.7km where you will find Gate 1. Go through the gate for 1.4km to Gate 2. Please sign in - you are now on Nkomazi Game reserve, and their rules need to be followed.Follow the road for 4.3km until you reach Gate 3. Go through it and you will reach our headquarters.

Directions from Nelspruit Take the R40 from Nelspruit towards Barberton. Turn Right on the R38 towards Badplaas (road sign says Carolina). 48 Km from turn you will find a road sign KOMATI SPRINGS, and at the actual turn-off, a signpost - International Association of Nitrox & Technical Divers - on the Left. Turn left.

Go along the dirt road for 2.7km where you will find Gate 1. Go through the gate for 1.4km to Gate 2. Please sign in - you are now on Nkomazi Game reserve, and their rules need to be followed.Follow the road for 4.3km until you reach Gate 3. Go through it and you will reach our headquarters.

Stay safe[edit]

Skills[edit]

Cave certification is required to be allowed entry to the overhead areas, unless you are being trained as a cave diver by a qualified instructor at the time. Certification (recreational and technical) must be appropriate for the planned depth of the dive.

Equipment[edit]

Cave diving equipment is necessary for penetrations. Open Water (recreational) equipment for the open hole.


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