Great white shark cage diving
Swim with the Atlantic’s most ferocious fish in the great white shark capital of the world
Looking for a thrill? Why not take an up-close-and-personal dip in shark-infested waters? That’s right, take a walk on the wild side and experience a great white shark cage diving tour in Gansbaai, the quaint South African seaside town (roughly two hours from Cape Town) that’s best known as the great white shark capital of the world.
Why has this little Western Cape dorp become such a beacon for these ferocious fish? “The fact that about 50,000 – 60,000 seals live just around the corner – providing many free meals for the sharks – might have something to do with it,” grins Nik Walsh, director of White Shark Diving Company, one of the most popular operators in the area. “Nowhere in the world is there a comparable natural food source available for the great white sharks.”
What to expect from a shark cage diving tour
Whether you opt to driver yourself or be picked up for the trek to Gansbaai, your departure time will be slated for the wee hours of the morning.
Upon arrival at Gansbaai, a welcome beverage and muffin awaits. However, keep in mind that a heavy morning meal might not be the best idea before heading out to sea; depending on weather conditions, it can be a bit of a rocky ride.
After an extensive safety briefing and Q&A session, it’s show time! The group (20 people maximum) boards the boat and, weather permitting, the vessel breezes through the famous Shark Alley before finding a good spot to unleash its anchor and throw the cage overboard.
Although nothing beats the ‘real thing’ – a genuine up-close-and-personal encounter with the great white sharks from within the cage – there is also the possibility to tag along for the boat ride without actually diving. For those who opt to keep the great whites farther than arm’s length away, the upper deck of the boat offers a spectacular viewing spot.
Otherwise, four to five people jump in the cage at one time. Although the water temperature might give you a bit of a fright, the adrenaline warms you up rather quickly.
The crew then lures the shark your way, while giving constant updates. “Shark in sight, go down, look right!” You take a deep breath and go down. And there he is, Mr. Shark: humongous and extremely impressive. With the intimidating predator just an inch away, you’ll want to stay under water as long as you can.
Some find diving with the ancient animals the ultimate adrenalin rush, some count it as the most daredevil-ish thing they’ve ever done– but virtually everyone considers it an absolute once-in-a-lifetime experience.
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