Hello to Our Sea Life

The Ballito MagazineAugust 8, 2023

I grew up on our pristine coast and have been sand and dip in the ocean daily. However, I’ve realised that I don’t know much about our sea life or the animals that frequent our coastline. So, I went to chat with the people who know more, Tidal Tao. This amazing group of people are passionate about the ocean and the neighbourhood of Salt Rock. They simply love snorkelling and want you to experience the magic of the underwater world! Tidal Tao has a range of safe and fun snorkelling spots, ideal for the entire family. “If you can swim, we can teach you to snorkel.”


As we all know, September is whale season, and we are blessed with beautiful shows by the humpback whales almost every day along our coast as they made their way up to Mozambique. Did you know that calves can consume up to 250 litres of milk daily? That’s 1000 glasses of milk! Although whale season is over, you will still get to see a lot of action in the water. Although whale season is over, you will still get to see a lot of action in the water. Bottlenose dolphins love showing off their moves. Many surfers have had the privilege of having a front-row seat or sharing a wave with these creatures. You might spot them along our coast throughout the whole year!


Vagabond Butterflyfish

December being the busiest time of year and thousands of people enjoying our beaches, puts more pressure on the ecosystems along our shores. Tidal Tao has seen the effects and has come up with a few steps to try to help keep these ecosystems thriving. When you go exploring the numerous rock pools for a swim or snorkel to see the sea life, always look where you walk and place your feet. The amount of life on a rocky shore is incredible. You could be squashing a cool nudibranch or flatworm without even knowing it.


Beware of the damage your fins can cause to coral and other shallow tidal pool life. Be gentle. Kicking and splashing causes a lot of disturbance, so take it easy. You’ll see a lot more and do less damage. Everyone wants to explore and see the marine life living in our rock pools, so to allow others to experience it too, we need to take care of the ecosystems together.


Giant Spotted Hermit Crab

Here is a list of some marine life you can find on the Dolphin Coast. If you find any, cross it off!


  • Vagabond butterflyfish
  • Threadfin butterflyfish
  • Yellowbelly rockcod
  • Peacock rockcod
  • Sixstripe soapfish
  • Ringneck blenny
  • Triplefins
  • Hawkfish
  • White-spotted puffer
  • Spotted toby
  • Rosy goatfish

Doty Dorid Nudibranch




  • Spanish dancer
  • Doty dorid
  • Mottled dorid


  • Ruby flatworm
  • Orange spotted flatworm
  • Ink-spot flatworm

Umbrella sea slugs 

Bubble shells

  • Rose petal bubble shell
  • Polka-dot bubble shell



There are so many different and unusual crabs that can be found on our rocky shore, from tiny specias living in coral heads to larger, powerful animals, many of which exhibit incredible colouring, behaviour or camouflage. You will spot a few crabs and possibly shrimp on our coast.


Next time you go on a rock pool adventure, keep an eye out for all of the marine life you can spot, consider the impact you could have on these ecosystems, and try your best to lessen it.


Words by Kai Coates

Images by Tidal Tao