Aliwal Shoal is one of the country’s major dive sites where ‘raggies’ aka ragged-tooth sharks are in abundance for five months of the year.

The offshore reef in the MPA is made up of soft and hard corals including sponges and fossilised sandstone. The reef lies 5 km offshore from the Umkomaas River mouth, close to the coastal village of the same name. The marine protected area extends 18.3km along the coast between the Mzimayi and Umkomaas river mouths, and extends 7km out to sea, and there are shipwrecks within the MPA borders.

Ragged- tooth sharks, zambezi (bull) sharks, tiger sharks, hammerheads and whale sharks are protected when in the Aliwal Shoal MPA.

From May to November each year humpback whales, as well as humpback and bottlenose dolphins occur here more regularly than other times of the year. Turtles and reef fish habituate the MPA because the reef is a breeding ground and nursery area for them.

Being such a popular dive site and fishing area, the seas are inundated with divers, ski-boat fishers, charter fishers, spear fishers, rock/surf fishers and commercial fishers, which causes a fair amount of conflict. As a result one of the objectives of the MPA is to reduce user conflicts in the Aliwal Shoal MPA as well as to provide protection to conserve the marine ecosystem and marine habitats at Aliwal Shoal MPA.

Managed by:

MPA established date:
1991 –  Proclaimed on   4th June  2004

Length of coastline protected:
18,30 km

Area of ocean protected:
126 km²


  • To contribute to a national and global representative system of marine protected areas by providing protection to the coastal and offshore benthic and pelagic ecosystems of this region;
  • To conserve and protect threatened ecosystems
  • To conserve and protect the biodiversity and ecological processes associated with these ecosystems, including the sardine run;
  • To protect and promote a scenic area and its associated eco-tourism opportunities;
  • To facilitate species management by supporting fisheries recovery and enhanced species abundance in adjacent areas for intertidal resources, line fish and sharks;
  • To facilitate marine and coastal species management by protecting spawning and other aggregations of marine fish species;
  • To support the recovery of line fish by protecting spawning, nursery, foraging, aggregation and refuge areas for overexploited species;
  • To conserve and protect an area of life history importance for migratory species including seabirds, turtles, sharks and other fish;
  • To facilitate species management and sustainable use of line fish and enhance species abundance in adjacent areas; and
  • To protect and provide an appropriate environment for research and monitoring particularly research on fisheries recovery of line fish.

Managed by:

Contact details for MPA office:
MPA Manager: Mr. Sam Bongani Ndlovu
Cell number: 082 559 2843
Office Telephone:039 976 2805
Email: BonganiSam.Ndlovu@Kznwildlife.com