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Dive Review of SEAL/mboyti river lodge in
Africa/Eastern Cape, Wild Coast

SEAL/mboyti river lodge: "Sardine Run with Seal at Mbotyi", Jul, 2017,

by Wellington Lee, DC, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 7 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 9655.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation N/A Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Well let me just say that this is completely different than any other "dive" trip.

1.)It's 95%+ snorkeling. All of the action is close to the surface, the bait balls are often fast and fleeting (minutes), and visibility low. In addition there is only one tank of air per person per day on the boat anyway.
2.) GEAR: If I go again I am not bringing a BCD/REG. I did 2 dives in 8 days. One was a checkout and the other was a brief baitball encounter. Just rent BCD/REG. You can use full foot fins. There is a boat launch in the morning off a sandy beach that you can do barefoot no problem at all. You need good fins as there is a lot of hard surface swimming chasing action.
3.) Temps are 65 in the water. I had full sun everyday so I was not cold in a 5mm plus 3mm hood, though a 7mm is not a bad idea because if it stormy it would get cold fast. Your going to need to pee in the suit, or pee off the back of the boat.
4.) Luck. It's all luck. You need Gannet birds to find the ball so you can see them and find the ball. You need Dolphins to corral the ball so it doesn't run away. You need other stuff to show up to make it awesome (sharks, whales, pelagics). I hit the jackpot. A Bryde's whale passed me within arms reach 6 times, world class experience. Also saw lots of humpbacks on the surface and one underwater. 80% of the time you jump in "GO GO GO" you might see stuff for a minute or two, or often nothing at all. The other 20% you might be on a sustained baitball with dolphins, birds and sharks + other bonus animals.
5.) The Boats. It's a 24 foot RIB "zodiac". boat launches are intense - off the beach into the crashing surf. Spartan boats, sit on the pontoons all day. Good catering on board. The boat is also beached going full speed. It's something I imagine a Navy SEAL boat driver would practice.
5.)The topside is breathtaking. Rugged coastline. The lodge has a vintage africa feel, food particularly fish is well prepared. Great Bar with Karaoke!
6.) SEAL - probably the most premium operator for the event, however they are highly skilled, courteous, and professional. SEAL knows how to show everyone a good time. Microlight flight, BBQs, hikes, shots of tequila.

Websites SEAL   mboyti river lodge

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Sipadan, Cocos Island, Maldives, Honduras, Belize, Bahamas, Cozumel, Florida Keys, Bonaire, Hawaii
Closest Airport Durban DUR Getting There Arrival Ethiopian through ADD
Return Turkish through Istanbul IST

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 65-65°F / 18-18°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 15-40 Ft/ 5-12 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions SCUBA very limited to non-existent. I did 2 dives in the whole week, one was checkout. Boat only carries one tank per diver per day. Speed of bait ball action and poor visibility limits opportunities. Steel 80s
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales > 2
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 1 stars
Small Critters 1 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments RIB boats have tables on which you can store a camera. Crew is cognizant. No rinse buckets. There is a large chlorinated pool to rinse your camera after the dive on shore.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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