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5 Top Locations for Freshwater Diving 

Pexels | Tom FiskThe ocean isn’t the only place where you can scuba dive. Diving in lakes, rivers or even caves is an exciting way to explore different underwater worlds. These locations offer crystal clear waters and unique, mind blowing experiences. If you’re interested in diving, these freshwater sites are a must-see. 

Silfra Fissure, Iceland

The Silfra Fissure is found between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates so diving here offers the unique experience of being able to dive between two continents. The Silfra Fissure is filled with cold, glacial water that has been slowly filtered through porous lava for 30-100 years. As a result, the underwater visibility is over 100m and the water is so pure that should you get thirsty during your dive, you can quench your thirst with a glass of water from the fissure once you have finished.

Pet Cemetery, Mexico

Pet cemetery is a prime diving ‘cenote’ or underground reservoir that is perfect for divers with an interest in archaeology. It gets its strange name from a selection of animal skeletons that have been found here since the site’s discovery in 1987. Most notably, the fossilised remains of a prehistoric extinct camel were unearthed in the cenote. Historians believe that before the water table rose, the site was used as a disposal pit for animal bones. The cave system that Pet Cemetery is part of also allows divers to explore different underwater chambers filled with impressive stalactites and stalagmites attracting geology-mad divers to the site too.

Wikimedia Commons | GgerdelQiandao Lake, China

In 1959 Qiandao Lake was artificially created to allow for the production of hydroelectric power. In the process of doing so, the ancient city of Shi Cheng or “The City of Lions” was flooded. Explorers are now able to dive here and swim among the remains. The old city, described as ‘China’s Atlantis’ has been incredibly well preserved, mainly due to the purity of the water in the lake. It has even been reported that wooden beams and stairs can still be found intact. This means it’s easy for divers to imagine what the city would have been like before it was flooded. It really is an underwater time capsule.

Lake Baikal, Russia

Lake Baikal is known to be the deepest lake in the world. Scuba divers take to its waters year-round and seasonally, it can offer very different experiences. Though the lake’s temperatures can reach a pleasant 18°C in the summer, in the depths of winter the water is covered with a thick sheet of ice. This doesn’t deter some divers who cut holes known as ‘maines’ in the ice sheet to reach the waters beneath. Once submerged, divers experience breath-taking sights including ice caves and caverns in what CN Traveller has described as some of the clearest water it is possible to dive in. Lake Baikal has got to be one of the best locations for cold-water freshwater diving.

Wikimedia Commons | SakhalinioOkavango Delta, Botswana

Scuba diving in the Okavango Delta isn’t for the faint-hearted. What sets this dive site apart from the rest is that when you dive here you’ve got 3,000 Nile crocodiles for company. Despite the obvious risk attached to this, many divers visit the site each year. The likelihood of being attacked by a crocodile is minimised by these thrill-seekers by only diving in June or July when the floodwaters are clearest and the crocodiles are at their least active. Divers are also advised to stick to the riverbed whenever possible because crocodiles are known to hunt from below. If you can overcome your fears, diving here is sure to be something that you’ll never forget.

Would you like to give freshwater scuba diving a go whilst exploring one of Africa’s great lakes? Why not volunteer with Frontier and take part in our Lake Malawi Marine Conservation and Diving project?

By Rosie Hynard - Events and Marketing Intern

Frontier runs conservation, developmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

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