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Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Klein Tafelberg

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The dive site Klein Tafelberg Reef is an offshore rocky reef in the outer Hout Bay area on the Atlantic seaboard of the Cape Peninsula, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

This can be a spectacular dive and there is a wide range of colourful invertebrates to be seen.


Get in

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Map of the dive site Klein Tafelberg.

Access

The site is only accessible by boat. It is about 4.5km from Hout Bay Harbour.

Position

S34°04.442’ E018°19.191’

A pinnacle at the south eastern end of Tafelberg Reef

This site is in a Marine Protected Area (2009). A permit is required.

Understand

Name

The name "Klein Tafelberg Reef" translates to Small Table Mountain Reef, it is a part of Tafelberg Reef slightly separate from the main reef. The alternative names "Salad Bowl" and "Yacht Wreck" refer to the large variety of reef life on the rocks of the bowl shaped hollow in the side if the reef, and the wreck of the yacht that lies in it.

Depth

Maximum about is about 35m, and the top of the pinnacle about 14m


Topography

The site is a huge granite outcrop with big boulders and a sand bottom in the deeper areas. The relief is very rugged and fairly spectacular in good visibility. There are the remains of a small yacht on a ledge part way doewn the north side of the pinnacle, and below that there are other outcrops to the north.

Geology: Granite of the late Pre-Cambrian Cape Peninsula pluton

Conditions

The site is exposed to south westerly swells, which can cause a strong surge. The site is usually at it's best in summer but there are also occasional opportunities in autumn and winter.

This is an area which sometimes has upwellings, caused by strong south easterly winds, resulting in cold clear water, which may develop a plankton bloom over a few days, which will reduce the visibility again.

Keep a lookout for times when the south west swell is low and short period, and there is not too much south easterly wind forecast.


See

Marine life

Lots of great invertebrates on reefs, also seals, kelp, and some hottentot.

Features

Wreck of yacht just north of pinnacle.

Photography

Good site for macro and wide angle photography.

Suggested Routes

Descend on shotline to the reef, swim down to the wreck of the yacht, continue to desired depth, then work your way up the rocks to the top of the pinnacle and deploy your DSMB.

Stay safe

Hazards

Cold water, Nitrogen narcosis in the deeper areas. Strong offshore winds may develop over a short time.

Skills

No special skills are required, but appropriate certification for the depth is expected.

Equipment

It is cold and relatively deep, and a dry suit is recommended. This is a dive site where the use of Nitrox can be worthwhile to extend no-stop time. A compass will help keep you orientated, a light will restore colour and allow you to look into crevices and overhangs, and a reel with DSMB is worth carrying in case you need to surface away from the shot line.

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