Download GPX file for this article
-34.176983318.4537666Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The dive site Target Reef is an offshore rocky reef with concrete structure in the Simon's Bay area of False Bay, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.


Map of the dive site at Target Reef
Map showing the position of Target Reef in relation to the surrounding reefs
See also: Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay#Understand


  • 1 Target Reef: S34°10.619' E18°27.226' — About 30 m bearing 195° magnetic from permanent navigation buoy at S34°10.604' E18°27.224'

This site is in a Marine Protected Area (2004). A permit is required. It is entirely inside the Boulders Restricted Zone of the Table Mountain MPA


The name "Target Reef" is derived from the disused naval gunnery targets that used to be supported by the concrete structure at the site


Maximum depth is about 22 m. and the top of the structure is about 6 m. Average depth is likely to be about 15 m.


Visibility will vary depending on the season and recent weather conditions. In summer it will usually be better than 5 m in conditions suitable for diving, and in winter it will usually be better, and could exceed 20 m on a good day, though more likely to be between 10 and 15 m.


This is a small nearly circular reef about 40 m across, of rubble, boulders and some granite bedrock rising from sand at about 22 m up to the base of a concrete structure at about 18 m. The structure on top is large reinforced concrete block about 12 m high and 10 to 12 m along each side. It is reported to be identical to the blocks used for the new harbour wall at Simon's Town naval dockyard. The top is severely damaged, presumably by gunfire, as it was a base for targets. Steel reinforcing bar projects from broken concrete all over the top, and large chunks of debris are held in place by some of these bars. Two large chunks of concrete structure have fallen down to the reef. One is right at the base of the main structure, to the north west, and the other has rolled or slid down to the sand edge to the south west. The shallower one has deep holes accessible from the top towards the main block, and the deeper one is open at south west end, with a small opening at the north east end, which looks too small for access. These are shown on the map.

Geology: Pre-Cambrian granite of the Peninsula pluton. The rubble around the base is likely to include concrete fragments of the structure, and possibly other rubble brought to the site when the structure was built. The reef is surrounded by flat fairly fine silica sand.


The site is exposed to wind and waves from the south east, so should be dived when there is no south easterly wind. Conditions are more likely to be good in winter, or at any other time when the wind is westerly. The site is reasonably protected from south westerly swells, but if long period south westerly swells are produced by storms in the South Atlantic then the swell refracting around Cape Point into False Bay may be sufficient to make the site undiveable.

The site will usually be at it's best in winter, but there are also occasional opportunities at other times of the year.

Get in[edit]

See also: Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay#Boat dives

This site is only dived from a boat as it is too far offshore to swim and is in the harbour approaches for the Simon's Town naval harbour

The site is about 6.2 km from Miller's Point slipway, 3.5 km from Simon's Town jetty, or 2.8 km from the pickup point at Long Beach


Marine life[edit]

See also: Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay#The marine ecology

Lots of red bait on top of the broken piece at about 18 m, which is deep for red bait. Otherwise, very heavy redbait encrustation around top of structure, but walls relatively bare Rubble covered with similar benthic invertebrates to Castor reef. Shoals of smallish hottentot over top of structure.


Large concrete structure with a couple of holes big enough for divers to enter.


This is not a particularly good site for photography. The biological diversity is not very high, and the site is small. Macro equipment is most likely to produce good results.

Suggested Routes[edit]

The site is small and can be comprehensively visited on a single dive. The main block of the target base is the start and end point for most dives, and it is worth visiting the large fragment of the structure to the south west at the sand edge, and the other large fragment at the north west corner of the base.

Stay safe[edit]

See also: Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay#Stay safe


There are a large number of projecting steel reinforcing bars all over the top of the structure, and in places on the big fragments. these may be sharp enough to cause injury or equipment damage if bumped into with sufficient force. This may happen if there is a large swell running, or as a result of inattention or clumsiness by the diver. Remain aware of your surroundings when near these bars.


No special skills are required. The central part of the site is shallow enough for entry level divers. Reasonable buoyancy control is recommended, particularly when over the reinforcing bars.


See also: Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay#Equipment

No special equipment recommended.


Target Reef and nearby dive sites

Back to the Alphabetical list of sites, or list of dive sites in the Roman Rock area

Other regional dive sites:

This dive guide to Target Reef has guide status. It has a variety of good, quality information including location, conditions and equipment, and info on marine life and other sights. Please contribute and help us make it a star!