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Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Castle Rocks

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Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay : Castle Rocks
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Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Castle Rocks

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The dive sites Castle Rocks and Parson's Nose are agroup of rocky reef areas in the Castle Rocks area on the False Bay coast of the Cape Peninsula, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Information is provided which may assist in planning Recreational and Research Scuba diving at this site, and links to photographs of marine organisms that have been found there.

These sites are good for fish and invertebrates, and in many places have spectacular topography. All are accessible as shore dives, but the shore access is not easy.

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Extent of the Castle Rocks Marine Restricted Zone.

Names "Castle Rocks" and "Parson's Nose"

Castle Rocks applies to the point as a whole and the offshore rocks to the South East. The point is a small rocky peninsula that is nearly an island at high tide. The name also applies to the Marine Restricted Zone whic stretches from Rumbly Bay, just south of Miller's point, to Baboon Rock, just south of Partridge Point. Parson's Nose refers to a small rocky point inthe Castle Rocks South area.

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Map of the dive site (Insert site name).


(insert Lat/Long co-ordinates ° ) (Description of location)

This site is (NOT) in a Marine Protected Area (2009)


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The site is exposed to (weather/sea conditions). (conditions which will result in poor diving and/or difficult access). The site is usually at it's best (conditions/season) but there are also occasional opportunities (conditions /season).

This is an area which sometimes has (special circumstances, caused by, resulting in).

Keep a lookout for times when (weather conditions which indicate good diving)

(weather conditions which indicate poor diving conditions)

(weather conditions which may make access difficult, and how to deal with them)


The bottom is generally from (shallow to deep), (exceptions)


(period, formation, description) (Strike, dip) (special comments)


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(site specific hazard list: Access, sea conditions, weather conditions, other)

Skill level

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Marine life (and features)

(general indication of biodiversity: Fish, Invertebrates, algae)

Suggested Routes

  1. North Side: Use the north entry, swim out a few metres, descend and follow the coast toward the point in the kelp forest. As you approach the point, look out for the swim-through. Continue round the point and either return by the same route, or make your way through the gap between the point and the offshore rocks to the south.
  1. Pinnacles: This area is best dived in good conditions as the mood is then excellent. In autumn there are often large assemblies of fish, including schools of Roman, Bank Steenbras and Fransmadam. In winter, when the water is colder, there are fewer fish, but the whole area looks impressive in the better visibility.

Enter at the tip of the point on the north side. Descend and swim out to the north across the sand strip, then follow the edge of the sand to the west until you find the pinnacles. Return by compass or natural navigation to the gap and exit at the black rock.

  1. Point Reefs (Outside Castle):This is a vast area and there are no particular routes. Entry at the black rock, swim out through the gap and explore. Return to the entry point.
  1. South Side (Inner Castle): Concentrate on the boulders and reefs to the south of the point. The sandy bottom of the south cove can be interesting if there is not too much surge, which tends to pick up the fine sand and detritus and reduce the visibility. This area is where you may see sole and sand sharks, and near the boulders, snakelets, Platanna klipfish and Leprous platanna klipfish.
  1. Grand Tour: For the active swimmer, the rebreather diver, or the diver with large cylinders, it is possible to work your way through all these areas on a single dive, entering at the north entry and exiting at the rocky beach, or the reciprocal route.


Views of the site from the shore.

Castle Rocks seen from the roadside at the top of the path leading to the entry areas. The path is at the extreme left foreground of the photo.

The Southern part of Castle Rocks as seen from the road includes the group of large rocks in the middle right of the photo. The water inshore of these rocks is fairly sheltered and has a sandy bottom with scattered rock outcrops where the kelp is visible. This area is suitable for training exercises and night dives.

Castle Rocks seen from the parking area at Miller’s Point

The north entry at Castle Rocks is shown here. It is often convenient to use the sheltered area inshore of the long rounded rock in the middle of the picture, and to swim out round the left end of the rock. In the centre background is Boat Rock, or Bakoven Rock, and the top of Pyramid rock can just be seen closer inshore to the left, beyond the kelp. This entry point can be used for dives to Pyramid, and anywhere on the North side of Castle Rocks. The boat just visible on the extreme right is probably anchored at Outer Castle.

This view of the South side of Castle rocks shows the entry and exit point most popular on this side, which is right beside the large rock in the middle left of the photo.

View of the Point entry

View of the Black rock entry

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