Diving the Southern Province

A place of sleepy villages, endless stretches of sandy coastline and Buddhist temples, southern Sri Lanka is a delight to explore. Great Basses Reef and Little Basses Reef are set off the coast offering a spectacular array of coral reefs and shipwrecks to dive. Some of the best diving in Sri Lanka can be found in the south, with wonderful shore dives for beginners as well as the advanced Great Basses. You can expect amazing visibility, depending on the season, but keep in mind these shores are quite unprotected so the diving is seasonal. Starting in the small southern Sri Lankan village of Kirinda, divers can take a 45-minute boat ride out to the Great and Little Basses Reefs. While out there, visitors will also see the Great Basses Lighthouse and the Little Basses Lighthouse. Despite the presence of these lighthouses, the area has always been a very busy but also very dangerous shipping port. This resulted in many shipwrecks over the years. The most famous of which is the treasure ship that went down in the late 1600s or early 1700s that belonged to the Moghul Emperor Aurangzeb. It was discovered in 1961 by the famous writer and underwater explorer Sir Arthur C Clarke and his diving instructor Mike Wilson.

Dive Sites to visit in Southern Province

Featured places to go in Southern Province


In Unawatuna, there are a whole host of different dive sites that can be quite rocky and contain some sensational wrecks

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Wildlife Encounters in Southern Province

There is a whole variety of different maine life to be explored depending on your level of diving. If you are shore diving you will enjoy the rainbow-coloured coral reefs populated by tropical fish and everything from turtles to reef sharks and tiny nudibranch. Trevally and fusiliers are regular visitors to the coral reefs, as are snappers and goatfish. But head out by boat and your dives will take in larger sharks and dolphins, you may even spot a whale shark. Keep an eye out for elegant eagle rays, as well as Giant Maori wrasses, porpoises, tuna, angelfish, and groupers.