11 October 2021
Fiji is an archipelago of hundreds of islands, 106 of which are inhabited. It is known for its beautiful soft corals and its sharks.
The best dive sites in Fiji include those around the islands of Taveuni and Namena. Deep water upwellings in the Somo Somo strait by Taveuni deliver food to the fish and invertebrates there - resulting in a proliferation of life. The Namena Marine Reserve is managed by ten village chiefs who banned commercial fishing back in 1997.
One of Fiji's most famous dive sites in the Beqa lagoon where Bull sharks and others are hand fed. This controversial practice has both positive and negative aspects to it. On the plus side, it is better to feed sharks than to kill them, and the shark tourism provides much more money than could be earned by killing them. However, feeding sharks alters their behaviour and leads to one species increasing in numbers at the expense of the others(1). In Beqa the winner is the bull shark. The smaller tawny nurse shark, silvertip shark and sicklefin lemon shark have become very rare visitors.
When to go diving in Fiji? Fiji's dry season is from June to October. The visibility is best during these months, but the water is colder and it can be windy.
April and May are calm and warm with plankton blooms: poor vis offset by the chance of seeing large, pelagic, plankton-eaters like manta rays.
Avoid December to March as it is the cyclone season. Some resorts close in February and March.
The above video, by Nick Hope of Bubble Vision, shows you what the diving is like around Fiji (and Tonga).
After twenty-one months without visiting divers, Fiji will on 1 December 2021 re-open its borders to travellers. But only to those on the "Green List". Currently this comprises Australia, New Zealand, United States of America, United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Qatar, Germany, Spain, France, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, Japan and most Pacific Island Countries and Territories.
Anyone entering Fiji will have to be fully vaccinated and register a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of boarding their flight.
"This wonderful site is on the outside of a small barrier reef in the Namena ocean reserve. The deep blue Pacific brings plenty of nutrients which keep giant Manta here year-round. Lots of reef sharks and not to mention a massive abundance of fish life and pristine soft coral make this a fabulous site."
Dawie Olivier, January 2018
"Just amazing...I saw pilot whales up so close I looked them in the eye...so surreal, heaps of huge fish coming right past my mask! The soft corals on Vuna Reef, especially in the site wonderland were a tantalising sight: a true vision that seemed magic! I also saw a school of baracuda which I will never forget! Totally immense experience!
I have dived around Australia and the Red Sea, also the Maldives but Fijis warm waters and corals and diversity and abundance of marine life just blew me away...I will definately go back. The Fijian culture is very hippy style. Susies on Taveuni is totally isolated and the place to escape the crowds and get a true taste of Fiji above and under the water! "
"Great open ocean diving on the outer edge of the Vuna Lagoon. Lots of pelagics, sharks, schools of barracuda, plus the whole local selection of soft and hard corals. Only accessible in calm ocean conditions, the swells, and surge underwater, make diving out here impossible on many days."
"Truly a rainbow colored coral show "
"A long reef that seems to never end. Top of reef is 8m/25ft and going down in a gradual slope until where reef meets the sand is 23m/75ft. Between that is just covered with soft corals and hard corals and fish thats so colourful. That's how it got the name. With some current it brings them all out. Just like swimming in fish soup. Barracudas, trevallys, turtles, garden eels, scorpionfish, puffers. You name it you'll find it there. Then dolphins at surface intervals. A must dive. World class. You will never these colors anywhere else in the world, underwater and on land. "
"Breathtaking!! Best Soft Coral Diving ever!"
"This site is a magnet for some large marine life. Expect to see several eagle-rays amongst the hundreds of barracuda that gather around a point in the reef that shoots out into the Koro Sea. Also in the area are dogtooth tuna, grey reef sharks and hammerhead sharks. If you can take your eyes off the big fish for a moment you will be rewarded by lush soft corals, crinoids and gorgonia fans along the reef."
"Renowned as one of Fiji’s top dive sites. Prepare to be awestruck by a steep wall that descends endlessly to the bottom, completely smothered in lush white soft coral. Off the deep edge of the wall you will find some pelagics. Often schools of batfish stop by to greet us while we drift along the wall. At the end of the dive is a deep swim-through cavern providing an exciting exit to an amazing dive."
"Everything about it is top class"
Paul Molloy, UK
" Great white coral on wall. Only one of four places in the world to see it. High speed current but beautiful scenery."
Scubajack, USA, 2008
" This is located in the Somo, Somo straights, Taveuni, Fiji. It has a huge number of soft Coral some which looks like snow flakes, and one dives through a large hole in the wall. There are large numbers of clown fish, parrot fish and other tropical fish, sharks, and barracuda. It is not a hard dive as long as the current is slack, but is probably an intermediate-advanced dive due to the depth."
Marilyn Drath, USA, 2012
"40+ bull sharks being hand fed while you watch a few metres away. Amazing and life changing."
Gavin, Australia, 2014
"Viz outstanding (March). Shark feed (big bulls and tigers). If you have a fascination with 3 - 4 metre bull and tiger sharks I highly recommend the trip. To be within a couple of metres of these powerful beasts is an awesome experience.."
"Biggest Tiger shark ever."
"One of best dives ever, saw everything from turtles to manta rays (swimming round us!) to sharks, rolling beds of blue and red coral, fab nudibranchs, leaf fish and scorpionfish. Incredible!"
"Steep wall, deep blue, fast moving sharks everywhere including Great Hammerhead. Total adrenaline dive."
"Kadavu Island is just not worth more than a one day two dive trip not worth seven days "
Adam Preston, Thailand, September 2016
"Loads of life hovering around these massive limestone rocks, great diving with swim throughs, tunnels, caves (the crystal cavern is awesome)."
Paul Coysh, UK
"Where to start? Pristine reef, super visibilty, turtles, rays, shark etc...and best of all not another boat in sight!"
Paul Coysh, UK
"This is a drift dive near Matangi and Quamea islands. All sorts of soft coral and large ocean going fish which include at times hammer head sharks, white tipped reef sharks, sea turtles as well as tropicals(lion fish, clown fish, tiny blue, large groupers, angel fish) are present. There are huge numbers of giant clams and other sea shells. The soft coral is purple, and there are also sea fans, staghorn coral, brain coral, and there are tiny sea horses hanging on some of the coral and sea worms, giant green moray eels, and spanish dancers. It is effortless and one floats past deep walls covered with sea life. Any level of diver can dive here."
Marilyn Drath, USA, 2012
Fiji Liveaboards - Compare prices online. Book now & pay later.
Nine cabins accommodate up to 18 divers. Visits Lomaiviti, Bligh Water and Namena.
This massive ship has 64 cabins and is not just for divers. Many on-board facilities make it enjoyable for non-divers too, like swimming pool, spa, gym and two bars. For the divers there are two dive tenders to take you to the dive sites.
"I had full charter of the Fiji Aggressor last month (Sept 2016). When we boaded the ship we were told that the Soft Coral Captial of the World had been destroyed by Cyclone Winston and we were taken on a different route to Kadavu Island. Here we spent six boring dive days searching for any signs of marine life. An underwarer desert where the occasional nudibranch became exciting and the handful of clusters of soft corals only made us more sad reminding us what we must be missing in the real Soft Coral Capital of the World.
After our liveaboard we travelled to the the north east Rakiraki Province and stayed at Wananavu Beach Resort with a 5 Star PADI dive center. Imagine our surprise and dismay to see the lovely pictures guests were brining back from their day scuba dive trips in the Bligh Waters. Healthy reefs and colourful corals. And this in the area we were told by Aggressor staff had been "completely destroyed and nothing left to see."
Comfortable but 'tired' - tatty carpets, mould in bathrooms, many sighting of cockroaches. Very poor value for money. Kadavu Island is just not worth more than a one day two dive trip not worth seven days "
Adam Preston, Thailand, September 2016
Beqa Adventure Divers
PO Box 343
Tel: 679 345 0911
Fax: 679 345 0901
"Will love to dive with them again. Cheapest and the closest you can get to rainbow reef. Shore dive is the rainbow reef. Affordable rates. A nice secluded beach to your own. Four bures, five huge tents. Peaceful location. Great value for money. It's not where you stay, it's where you dive. Diving wise it's better than any I've been to. Easy access. Five minutes by boat and you will be in some of the world's best diving."
PO Box 10215
Tel: +679 670 2413
Fax: +679 670 2412
"Very, very professional, especially with handling and explaining sharks...well done."
Clee, Netherlands, 2009
Based in the resort Seashell@Momi, Momi Bay, Nadi.
P.O. Box 2748
Tel: +679 6280190
Tokoriki Island Resort
PO Box 10547
PO Box Box 9168
Tel/Fax: ++ 679 6726111
Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat
P.O. Box 213
Resort Tel: (679) 828 3001
Mobile: (679) 992 4001
Taveuni Tel: (679) 926 0145
"Awesome company to enable divers to experience big sharks in their natural habitat. Not expensive however not dirt cheap. Would and will dive with them again. Boat okay no bathroom / hot water. Excellent value, good dive briefing, professional operation. A better dive experience than some."
Dive Academy Fiji
Viani Bay - off Taveuni
GPS: -16° 44.691' S / 179° 53.561' E (we are only accessible by boat, hence the coordinates)
Tel: +679 7258184 or +679 7258167
PADI 5*Dive Resort, PADI Freediver Center
Dive Academy Fiji with Viani Bay Resort, located in Viani Bay off Taveuni, is the dive operation closest to the sites on the famous Rainbow Reef, offering private diving with maximum 4 divers on the boat and a holiday experience where it feels like visiting friends.
P.O. Box 89
Tel: (679) 8880063
PO Box 149 Levuka
Tel: (+679) 344 0166
Matangi Island Resort
P.O. Box 1B
Tel: +679 888 0286
Fax: +679 888 0288
1. Shark Feeding Dives change Relative Abundances of Sharks, SCUBA News