Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Clifton Rocks
The dive site Clifton Rocks is a shore dive in the Clifton area on the Atlantic seaboard 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.
Name "Clifton Rocks"
Named for the large group of large rocks at point at the southern end of Clifton fourth beach.
S33°56.346’ E018°22.222’ (North west corner of rocks)
S33°56.448’ E018°22.371’ (Entry point)
S33°56.487’ E018°22.415’ (Parking area)
This site is in a Marine Protected Area (2009)
This is normally a shore dive. Turn off Victoria Road, Clifton, south of Fourth beach into The Ridge. Drive down to the furthest available parking area. Thr path to the rocks is at the sign for house #93. There is a narrow paved path with steps which passes between the plots and comes out on top of rocks facing to the north. Entry points are a few metres further along the point on large gently sloping north-facing rock with encrustation of black mussels. Entry and exit are easy, and well sheltered from south westerly swell.
Parking may be a problem on weekends as the beach is very popular in summer and it is sheltered from the south easter. Get there early.
The entry and exit area is exposed to north west swell, but protected from the south west. The dive site is exposed to both north and south west swell, which can be extremely turbulent in the narrow spaces between the rocks if large or long. There will almost always be some surge. The site will be best when the swell is low and short, which is often associated with south easterly winds. The site is usually at it's best in summer, but there are also occasional opportunities in autumn and early winter.
Maximum depth is about 14m, average about 7m
Huge granite boulders of the Pre-Cambrian Peninsula pluton, with fine white quarz sand bottom
Granite corestone boulders of large size rising from about 10m depth to in some cases 5 or more metres above the water. Many of the boulders are undercut at the bottom and resting on granite outcrops, so there are deep crevices and overhangs, several smallish swim-throughs and a few fairly narrow gaps. Surge can be strong at times in the gaps. The jumble of rocks gets denser and shallower to the south and surge and breaking waves can be quite impressive. Sand bottom to the north and inshore of the big rocks is mostly quite fine, with occasional areas of shells and coarse sand.
Cold water, Strong surge and breaking waves over exposed and shallow rocks. Sea urchins.
No special skills required. There are areas of sand bottom which would be suited to basic skills exercises, though the main dive site is a bit far for entry level trainees. This is a good area for snorkelling. A reasonable level of fitness is required for shore entries
(photographic equipment suggestions)
(general indication of biodiversity: Fish, Invertebrates, algae)
Views of the site from the shore.