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“Good on all fronts” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Coral Divers

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Coral Divers
3.0 of 5 Cabin/Campground   |   Private Bag 320 | Mbazwana, 3974, Sodwana 3974, South Africa   |  
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Certificate of Excellence 2014
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
“Good on all fronts”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2012

Coral Divers is a great choice for anyone who wants good diving in Sodwana, while not breaking the bank to do so.

Firstly, it offers a range of clean, rustic and well-priced accommodation. We stayed in the tents, and although they are adequate and the shared ablution facilities good, I would definitely spring the extra R's for a chalet next time around. The tents are pretty much on top of one another, and we had guests crossing through our "lounge" area on a constant basis. Also, vehicles are parked at the back of the "tent town", so one has to plod through the sand whenever needing anything from the car. Most importantly though, the tents are not monkey-proof. They raided our tent more than once, even though we secured the zipper with a lock.

The resort has a lovely swimming pool (the perfect place to relax after an early morning dive!) and the restaurant serves a good range of inexpensive dishes. Self-caterers are well taken care of too. A huge kitchen is available to all guests, and the bbq facilities are situated right next to the restaurant. (Good produce available at the shop just outside the reserve gates, with an ATM which may or may not have money!)

Which brings me to the issue of service. Although our check-in was handled efficiently, it would have been helpful if the use of communal areas had been explained at the time. But one quickly catches on, so it's not a big deal. What is more of a let-down is the fact that the friendly smiles and warm welcome of the first day fade as the days go by. The staff do not seem to have much interest in the resort or the guests. We visited just before the Easter weekend, so maybe staff were charging their batteries for the big onslaught. However, I missed the SA warmth and hospitality that we had experienced elsewhere during this trip.

And on to the diving. A well-oiled machine would be the best way to describe the dive operation. Dive briefings take place every evening, and one gets to book your dives, sort out equipment and get information. Equipment and divers are transported to the beach (at the exact time, so don't be late) and porters are at hand to assemble equipment for a small fee. Coral Divers seem to be a breeding station for dive masters which means that they may be rather inexperienced and that there is a big turn-over of staff. You will also not see them at the resort after your dives, so you'll need to rely on the information available at reception to figure out where exactly you had dived and what you may or may not have seen. Our dive master on the first dive was really very inexperienced and personally I do not feel that he has the maturity to lead a dive. The following day we had a great dive master, though, so it seems to depend on the luck of the draw. The dives were good, if not spectacular.

I need to get back to the monkeys. They rule Coral Bay! Do not leave anything unattended, do not leave any doors open, and look up when passing under trees. They are clever, naughty and constant. If they can't have your stuff, they will have your patience. You've been warned...

So, after all of that, would I recommend Coral Bay? Yes, I would. Can't compare it to anything else in Sodwana, but they offer everything you need at a good price. Would I go back? Definitely!

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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104 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (33)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Cape Town, South Africa
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
76 helpful votes 76 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2012

We've stayed here on a number of ocassions always in the en suite chalets which are rustic, airy, comfortable but basic. They aren't shy about charging though and R1000.00 a room for that room is more than two of us have just paid in a 4* establishment in America with a super breakfast thrown in. The separate chalets with a large communal area is a wonderful idea though and the dive briefings/bookings each night are sociable and great fun. Its a perfect place to go to with friends and large families because everyone gets to be private but then to meet up at mealtimes. Kudos to to Coral Divers for being the only place we have ever stayed at which not only allows, but makes provision for everyone to eat in the same dining area, regardless of whether they are ordering off the menu or braaing in the provided fires or cooking in the huge communal kitchen or just eating Woolworths cold meats and bread. That's simply amazing - we've been with a crowd and we all sit at the same table with everyone doing exactly as they please but eating at the same time. Something that none of the other operators can compete with is the proximity to the beach and the fact that they are situated within the national park area. Everyone else queues from early morning onwards to enter the national park within which Sodwana bay beach is situated. Plus there is a shuttle that leaves 45 minutes before each dive for the beach from reception with everyone in various stages of undress or kit and from the beach back to Coral Divers a short while after each dive. The divemasters are terribly nice but really inexperienced. Our family are long-time divers so we hang around at the back and do our own thing but I wouldn't like to be a new diver in a pickle under water with only a newly qualified kid to help out. The other problem with the rotational system they have in terms of turnover of divemasters is that they never get to really know the reefs like more experienced divemasters from other outfits and thats really what we want - someone to point out stuff we're sure to miss. Having said which - if you're a family that dives together there's nothing to beat Coral Divers for that combination of privacy and togetherness.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pretoria
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2012

All aspects of the dive holiday to Coral Divers were effortless and a great success. Staff were super friendly and professional and the dives were very good.

Believe the signs about the monkeys though - the little critters grabbed all my snacks and raced off into the trees with my lunch :).

Facilities are also good - nice bar, restaurant and braai area.

Good quality rental gear - I've become kind of used to 2nd-rate hire hard gear with operators in Pretoria/Joburg, whereas Coral Divers' gear was perfect.

When I lost my weight belt when going off the boat the DM immediately located it 20 m below, brought it to the surface, took charge and sorted the issue out where I was bobbing around kinda helplessly - very impressed with that.

The roads from Gauteng are FULL of trucks, so allow enough time - it took us 9 hours to get there from Pretoria, a journey of 635 km.

Recommended. I'll be booking again as soon as possible.

Room Tip: The tents are very close together, so if there's one snorer in the vicinity... (who I believe wa...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Africa
Top Contributor
117 reviews 117 reviews
47 hotel reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2012

I stayed in an ensuite chalet at coral divers this weekend. The accomodation - while small was really comfortable and pleasant. The weather was terrible so we spent way more time than we would have liked at the resort. all round it was great. The food was especially good.

On the last morning they took forever to go and fetch our cylinders from the beach - we were told they would collect them at 6am if the diving was cancelled - diving was cancelled but they onl brought our cylinders back at 9am - in really bad weather aiting around and watching it get worse was not ideal as the roads were already bad - unnecessary bad organisation.

The coral skipper on the first dive was also a problem - he did not check his boat so we circled a number of times in rough surf while he tried to get both engines going. Then while we were kitting up he got involved in helping and did not watch the surf - this resulted in the boat going over a swell at a bad yet avoidable angle - and people being flung into the tanks and getting hurt. This did seem to give him enough of a fright to remain focused on the rest of the trip.

Room Tip: Go ensuite - its the biggest - and did not get as flooded as the rest
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2012

We drove the 10 hours from Joburg (our car broke down) to stay at Coral Divers, and in some ways it met our expectations, while not in others. We stayed in the tents, which are packed among tons of other tents, not nice and alone like in the website pictures. The tents are nice in that they are cheap and they provide beds. Not so nice in that the monkeys run races over the roof starting at about 4am, so I was woken up by a loud clatter that continued for several hours. The monkeys are also a pain in that they stole food out of our tent (ripped the mesh), off our braai AND off our preparation table back at the main area. So beware!

In terms of food, the restaurant was not very good--my companion had a very unexciting chicken sandwich, but we braaied a lot and the Sodwana Bay Lodge has an excellent seafood restaurant named Leatherbacks so you won't go hungry.

The diving was impeccable. Like diving in an aquarium. The dive center was helpful, as we were doing our advanced course, and while we were passed off between three different instructors, everyone was very friendly. Oh and note this place is NOT on the beach. You have to drive to the beach, but it's a decently nice one, especially for running.

The only other thing was perhaps we were there during the off-season, but on Thursday night the place was totally deserted. It filled up a bit more Fri/Sat, but still was significantly more empty than we expected. And the people were generally families or older gentlemen, so do not expect the young backpacker vibe of other places. Nonetheless, we enjoyed ourselves a lot.

Room Tip: Check your tent's mesh before you agree to stay in it and request a different one if it's ri...
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durban, South Africa
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2011

Our group stayed at Coral Divers for the weekend and what a lot of great people they are! From booking in to booking out all went smooth and very well organised..well behaved, organised and trained staff. The facilities were great and the price even greater! Well done to the owner/s of this facility. Let's give due where it's deserved, and they certainly deserve it! We will definately go back again soon. And Oh, the diving was superb!!

Room Tip: We went for diving purposes and found the tents adequately fine for that purpose. It was clean and c...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hengelo, The Netherlands
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2011

The basic huts are very basic. We choose for a tent instead, which was fine. Diving was very well organised and instructors did a great job. Service at the reception and in the restaurant was terrible. We have never seen so unfriendly people working. They actually didn't want to work.... all we asked for was to much and we do not ask a lot! It's a shame because of that we would not recommend people to go there.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Coral Divers

Address: Private Bag 320 | Mbazwana, 3974, Sodwana 3974, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Sodwana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 13 Specialty Lodging in Sodwana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Coral Divers 3*
Number of rooms: 84
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Coral Divers is a PADI 5 star Gold Palm IDC/CDC Centre situated in Sodwana Bay, South Africa. We are proud to be able to provide all levels of PADI scuba instruction from Bubble Maker to Instructor Development Courses as well as accommodation and dive charters. Lying within the boundaries of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park, Sodwana Bay provides the travelling diver with a vast array of unspoilt coral reefs populated with a huge diversity of Indo-Pacific fish & invertebrates. Apart from the great diving & beautiful coral reefs, the area offers fun and excitement for the non-diver too. From quad bike riding, kiteboarding and paintballing to day trips to Makhasa Game Reserve for Rhino or Buffalo tracking on foot, you're sure to find something that appeals to you, your friends and/or family. Coral Divers offers you a very comfortable diving holiday experience while retaining the rustic appeal of an out-of-the-way bush camp. The area is covered with dense coastal forest offering exquisite scenery, bird watching, and a number of small mammals including Bush Babies, Genets, Duiker and Striped Mongoose. Sodwana is accessible by car, however we can arrange transfers from Hluhluwe - Bushlands (The BazBus drop off point) should you not have your own vehicle. Petrol & Diesel are available from the petrol station in the National Park, and there is a small supermarket which can provide you with essentials such as food, drink and sun block. There are a couple of restaurants both within and outside of the Park, as well as our local night club, 'Maak 'n Jol', where you can dance the night away. Sodwana is also within driving distance of a number of amazing game reserves including Makhasa Game Reserve, Mkhuze Game Reserve, Phinda Game Reserve & the Hluhluwe Mfolozi Park. We invite you to take a look through our site to find out a little more about Coral Divers - Sodwana Bay and the diving. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Coral Divers Sodwana, Africa

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