Marico Oog

The best inland dive site in SA 

DIVING (click on images with white borders for a larger image)

Entry is via a narrow passage cut between the reeds (see schematic layout on Map page)  and water entry is via a ladder to ensure minimum contact with the bottom. The water is crystal clear but can turn to zero viz if the bottom 1 meter is disturbed. Buoyancy control is a must to enjoy the dive. Because of the small circumference of Die Oog, it is advised that no more than 8 divers are allowed in the pool at any time.

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Marico Oog consists of four swimable parts. The first is a +-10 meter stretch, +-1.8 meter deep and 2 meters wide through a pond covered by floating water lilies. The lilies have stems that trail away lazily to the bottom. The bottom of this passage is covered with a green, broad leaved plant that gives you the impression of swimming over a lush carpet.

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The second part is a smallish pond, +-5 meters at its deepest and +-10 meters across. Also covered by green growth on the surface and walls, it provides you with an awe inspiring view when looking back towards the passage described above.

Marico Oog - Click on image for large view Marico Oog - Click on Image for large view

The long stems of the lilies provide shelter for numerous small fish and it is an experience to weave your way through this .Die Oog that feeds the area is in this pond.  It is very deep but too narrow to dive into. It nonetheless makes an interesting viewing spot.

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The main part is the second pool which is directly across the first pool, in line with the passage. Here the depth drops to 13 meters with just about every conceivable surface covered with green growth of various origins. There is also a cave at the north end of the rock. The cave/rock also presents a swim-through for the brave and trained! Lying on your back, you can see the surface quite clearly and, on a moonlit night, even the stars!!  This part is +- 40 meters in circumference and is made up of three layers, the very bottom part where you get the cave, a middle layer with lush green growth and the top layer of surrounding lilies (as per the above). It is advisable to stay well clear of the bottom as careless divers can turn the visibility into Basslake in a few seconds. Fortunately it settles fairy quickly.

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For the experts at buoyancy control, you can leave this pool and swim amongst the lilies, +- 1.5 meter deep, to the fence that separates the Marico Oog from other 7 farms. At the fence, turn left and proceed +- 4 meters. Here the reeds on the surface and the slightly deeper water makes for another swim through. It is well worth adding an extra kilo of weight to enable the diver to swim to this part of Die Oog.

Marico divers - click here for larger image

It is also a great/safe spot for youngsters (and us oldies) to simply snorkel. With the clear water it is possible to see the activity at 13 meters from the surface or the float. On a clear evening you can turn on your back and literally see the moon and starts from way below!! This makes it a must night dive but for small groups who have their buoyancy well under control. At the wall directly south from the grid you will also find miniature shrimps at night if you look carefully. 

A down side is the fact that Marico Oog can become very congested, and the visibility poor, because of the number of trainee divers that kick up the silt at the bottom of the pool. The placement of a grid (at 4.5 m) in the main hole, directly above the rock and cave has helped to some extent. Fortunately the water clears up in about an hour's time.  Best to find out from the owner what his bookings are like for the weekend you plan to go there.

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Because of the beauty of Marico Oog, steps will be taken against divers who damage Die Oog or the surrounding area. Dive instructors / dive masters are requested to view this matter in a very serious light and to stress this aspect to divers under their care.

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