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Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Stonehenge

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Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay : Stonehenge
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Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Stonehenge

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The dive site Stonehenge is an offshore rocky reef in the Karbonkelberg headland area on the Atlantic seaboard of the Cape Peninsula, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.


It is a good site for varied topography, biodiversity and depth variation.


S34°02.838’ E018°18.316’ (Top of blinder)

South of Duiker Point, below Karbonkelberg

This site is in a Marine Protected Area (2004). A permit is not required.


The area is named "Stonehenge" after a more or less circular ring of rocks which break the surface near a much larger rock which is shown on the charts.


Maximum depth is over 22m, with an average of about 12m to 15m


Visibility will vary with season and weather conditions in much the same way as other sites in this area. On a good day it should be 10m or more, possibly as much as 20m on an exceptional day, and should generally be more than 5m in diveable conditions. However it is possible for a plankton bloom after an upwelling to reduce visibility, particularly near the surface, even when conditions are otherwise optimal.


Big boulders and rock outcrops over an extensive area. High relief in deeper areas with swim-throughs, holes and overhangs.

Stonehenge blinder is a huge granite corestone pinnacle about 65m E-W by 45m N-S at base, tapering to 45m E-W by 25m N-S near the top. There is a narrow crack about 1.5m wide and several metres deep by 15 or more metres long near the south east side, and the north side is very sheer. The top point is a bit away from the north eastern edge and is about 3m deep. The bottom is rock at 20m+.

Geology: Granite of the late Pre-Cambrian Peninsula pluton


The site is exposed to south westerly swells, so best when the south west swell component is low and short. This may occur during or after south easterly winds. The site is usually at it's best in summer, but there may also be occasional opportunities in autumn or early winter.

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

Expect cold water (about 11°C). Temperature ranges between about 8°C to 14°C

Get in[edit]

The site is only accessible by boat. It is about 6.5km from Hout Bay harbour.

See[edit][add listing]

Marine life[edit]

Typical of the big reefs of the Atlantic coast. There is a heavy growth of red bait in shallow areas, Kelp on top surfaces in moderate depths, and fairly bare rock with urchins on relatively flat deep surfaces. Walls, overhangs and other steep surfaces are covered with wide variety of sponges, corals, ascidians and other invertebrates.


Good photographic site. There will always be good subjects for macro work, and wide angle with natural lighting will produce good results on a clear day.


Pinnacle: — Drop in at the pinnacle and descend to the bottom. Slowly ascend as you swim around the pinnacle, observing the various zones. If the sea is calm, a safety stop can be done over the top of the pinnacle, otherwise deploy a DSMB or ascend on the shotline.

Stay safe[edit]


Cold water, Strong surge in gulleys and swim-throughs, and over the top of the shallow parts of the reef. Strong offshore winds may develop over a short time.


No special skills required. The ability to deploy a DSM and use a compass is useful.


A light can be useful to look into dark places and to restore colour at depth. A compass can help keep track of your position, and a DSMB is handy to allow the boat to keep track of ascending divers. Nitrox can extend your no-decompression time if you are well insulated.

Back to Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay#Outer Hout Bay

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