Tidal Tao can arrange the best tides and locations,
especially considering that many of the better area to snorkel in Ballito are very tide and swell dependent
(compared to snorkeling elsewhere in KwaZulu Natal which are a bit more forgiving) Tidal Tao also has snorkel gear for hire if you require or you’re welcome to come along and bring your own snorkel gear.
When to go snorkeling in Ballito
Ballito is about 30 minutes north of Durban on the N2 highway. Snorkelling in Ballito is easiest in one of the many tidal pools (large man made tidal pools) some of which have excellent coral growth and insane variety of fish, it’s certainly one of the easiest places for snorkeling in South Africa. Your snorkeling gear should include fins at all times to avoid standing on coral and urchins. We tend to find people who have booties stand on the coral yet with fins, your feet float behind you and coral isn't touched. Up to you what snorkel gear you prefer, but please be careful of coral damage and urchins.
Snorkelling in Ballito’s tidal pools has some of the easiest opportunities to go snorkeling in South Africa where you can easily see coral and a huge variety of coral related fish species in relative comfort and protection from the open ocean. Ballito is also in our opinion the best snorkeling in South Africa for Nudibranchs and sea slug
The best time of year for snorkeling in Ballito, as with most snorkeling in Kwazulu-Natal is the winter months when the water viability is excellent, summer rains and onshore winds can make snorkeling in KwaZulu Natal unpredictable in summer months. In winter, you may want to include a wetsuit in your snorkel gear and at least include a rash vest in your summer snorkel kit to stop sunburn
Snorkeling is also normally at its best at a outgoing tide around spring lows, or anything below 0,5m or so. Sea swell can also have a big impact on snorkeling in Ballito, but generally any swell less than 3-5 foot is manageable. Anything bigger than this and you are definitey limited to snorkeling in Tidal Pools
Where to snorkel
One of the most popular beaches in Ballito is Thompson's Bay
which has a huge tidal pool that is ideal for those snorkeling for their first time. Snorkeling in Thompson’s tidal pool is great for many parrotfish, several species of damsels, convict surgeons and always something special to see, Remoras have been seen in the past and Geometric Morays are common when snorkeling here. Also keep an eye out on the walls of the tidal pool for Nudibranchs and other sea slugs.
The other tidal pools in the Ballito area have similar species variety and coral growth. There are also many smaller shallow intertidal pools to go snorkeling in if the tides are very low and snorkeling here always pops us some surprises, especially if you enjoy Nudibranchs.
Further north towards Sheffield Beach
is another great snorkeling spot where a long rocky ledge that protects the inside area. Making this a great snorkeling spot when the inside area is not going through a sandy stage. Sheffield is one of the best spots for snorkeling in KwaZulu-Natal if you want to see octopus and Nudibranchs. Unfortunately marine aquarium collectors and bait collectors also heavily utilize Sheffield and we have been able to see the drop in variety as a result over the years of snorkeling here.
Our website has loads of information on snorkeling in Ballito and other Things to do in Ballito And Salt Rock
We love it here and we think that the Ballito area is one of the best areas for beginners to go snorkeling in KwaZulu Natal (and snorkeling in South Africa for that matter) because of the great snorkeling facilities, guides and protected tidal pools