Divers, including Jacques Cousteau, have celebrated Aliwal Shoal for as long as diving has been around. The site, about 5km off shore from Scottburgh, is where the sailing vessel Aliwal nearly wrecked due to a huge rock on a shoal in 1849. Today, this site is home to hard and soft coral, a rich variety of more than 1200 tropical and subtropical fish species, including rays, eels, dolphins, octopus, tucles, sharks such as ragged tooth and tiger sharks, whales and whale sharks. Two wrecks, the MV produce and SS Nebo, can be explored nearby.
In 2016, both Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks have been identified within expanded Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which aim to conserve the rich biodiversity and health of the ocean.