Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Balcony
The dive site Balcony is a rocky shoreline reef in the Rooi-els area on the east side of False Bay, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.
This site is mostly used as a training site or when conditions are marginal. It is not very deep and the reef is not very spectacular, but it is better protected from the swells than most sites in the area.
This site is almost exclusively dived from the shore. Turn off the R44 into Porter street, then turn right into Oceanview street. Right again into Reggia street and then left where it becomes Rockland road. Park near the wooden railings on the right hand side in Rockland road.
View of Balcony dive site from the road. The path is unmistakeable as it starts between the wood railings in the right foreground. The path goes over sand to a pebble and boulder beach.
This view shows the entry points from the North side of the cove. One is a scramble over the boulder beach to the left, and the other is on the ridge to right of centre, where a ledge is convenient if the tide is right. Exit at the same places. Alternative emergency exit at Ankers which may be more sheltered in case of sudden deterioration of conditions.
This site is NOT in a Marine Protected Area (2009). A permit is not required.
Derivation of the name "Balcony" is not known.
Fairly shallow, mostly less than 10m.
Low to moderate sandstone reef quite steeply sloping down to sand bottom.
Geology: Ordovician sandstone of the Table Mountain group, probably ‘’Peninsula’’ formation.
Usually best during or after south easterly winds. The site is fairly sheltered from south west swell, but exposed to north west wind and waves. Usually considered a summer dive, but there may be opportunities at other times of the year. This is a very sheltered cove which may be diveable when not much else in the area is accessible.
None. Security is probably better than most roadside parking, but be sure to lock up. There are baboons which may try to steal any food, and may vandalise in their efforts to find some.
Kelp forest over most of the reef. It is shallow, so there is other seaweed, and various invertebrates, but the site is not very colourful, as it is a bit too shallow.
Not recommended for photography. There are better sites all around, and if you dive here it is for another reason, or conditions are bad.
Swim along the edge of sand and reef in a westerly direction (to seaward).
Shore access is over a small boulder beach or requires a short scramble over rocks.
No special skills required. Suitable for novices and training exercises, snorkelling and night dives.
No special equipment recommended.