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Africa > Southern Africa > South Africa > Diving in South Africa > Diving the west coast of South Africa > Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay > Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Stern Reef

Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Stern Reef

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The dive site Stern Reef is an inshore rocky reef in the Rocklands Point area on the False Bay coast of the Cape Peninsula, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.


Map of the sites at Rocklands Point including the position of Stern Reef
Stern Reef from the parking area at Spaniard Rock. The break in the middle of the picture is on the reef.


  • 1 Stern Reef: S34°13.164’ E018°28.032’ — An extensive area of high to low relief granite corestones on a sand bottom, marked by a rock which breaks the surface at some states of the tide. About 260 m South of Spaniard Rock, towards Miller’s Point.

This site is in a Marine Protected Area (2004). A permit is required.


Maximum depth is about 14 m, and the top of the reef breaks surface at low tide. Other rocks are lower. but the bottom is fairly level.

Stern Reef (centre) on a quiet day, showing the top of the rocks just breaking the surface.


Coarse sand bottom with big granite boulders and reef. Largely fairly high to high relief with some low areas. Quite nice, specially just seaward of blinder, with quite a nice swim-through and some deep gullies between boulders. The reef has not yet been surveyed, but is thought to extend at least 50m to the north, east and west of the breakers. The bottom to the south is sandy.

Geology: Late Pre-Cambrian granite of the Peninsula pluton.


Shore diving is limited by entry and exit conditions. Boat dives may be done in bigger swell with more surge, but the site is fairly shallow and surge will usually reach all the way down.


Same parking area as for Spaniard Rock

Get in[edit]

Optional shore dive from Rocklands Point: Parking at side of main road on gravel shoulder. Access not easy and entry/exit a bit rough if there is much swell.

Can also be done as a boat dive from Miller’s Point. The site is easy to find as there is almost always a break


Marine life[edit]

Kelp on top of shallower reef areas. Heavy encrustations of red bait and feather stars with a variety of other invertebrates typical of the area.


Fairly good site for macro photography.


No specific route recommended.

Stay safe[edit]


The path from the road is steep and slippery and usually in poor repair. Shore entry and exit are over a boulder beach.


No special skills required for boat dive. Some fitness and agility required for shore entry and exit.


No special equipment required. A light is handy for looking into crevices and overhangs. A compass can be useful for keeping track of where you are.


Back to Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay#Rocklands Point

This dive guide to Stern Reef is a usable article. It has information on location and equipment as well as some complete entries on what to see. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.