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Posted on: Thursday, 2 August 2012

Shark Cage Diving in South Africa

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A close encounter

A close encounter

The Indian and Atlantic Oceans of South Africa are home to plenty of intriguing marine species. For decades, humans have had a fascination with what lives beneath the salty surface of the sea. Now, thanks to technology and a better understanding of the fauna and flora of the ocean, those visiting different coastal areas of South Africa are now able to have face-to-face encounters with some of the most exciting creatures in their natural marine environment.

Shark cage diving involves being lowered into an area in which sharks are swimming, hunting and interacting with one another within the safety of a metal cage. Sharks may be attracted by fish offered by the conductors of the tour, and are certainly very inquisitive about the metal cage, often responding to the metal and feeling it with their massive bodies. This means that those inside the cage are able to have a very intimate, close encounter with the shark as it swims just centimetres away. However, despite being so near to this predator, those in the cage are absolutely safe, since it has been constructed for this very purpose and will not allow for the shark to enter the cage or harm its passengers in any way, if they adhere to the rules (such as not sticking your arm out of the cage, for example).

Are you brave enough?

Are you brave enough?

These tours are exhilarating, sure to get your adrenalin pumping. But, they are also for the purposes of education; revealing the truth about these feared fish and the realities of the dangers that they face.

All visitors are briefed and informed in full before even boarding the boat, so that their safety and that of the wild animals is first and foremost on each expedition. Often, a video will be shows to the passengers first, so that they have some idea of what to expect. Then, they are given wetsuits and briefed on how to hold their breath so that they can enjoy the maximum amount of time under the water.

A major part of most of the packages on offer is a professional photographer and / or videographer, who record(s) your experience so that you have footage by which to remember it. This is a stunning keepsake that you can share with your friends and family back home. Many of the service providers also give each person a certificate on completion of the experience.

Shark Cage Diving, Gansbaai

Shark Cage Diving, Gansbaai

Gansbaai, a small fishing village in the Western Cape, has become acclaimed as one of the country’s top shark cage diving destinations. Because of the abundance of fish and the baiting used, the waters have become inundated with Great White sharks. The islands of Dyer and Geyser are situated just off the Gansbaai coastline, and are both abundant in wildlife. Species include Jackass Penguins, Cape Cormorants, Gannets, and Cape Fur Seals. Shark cage diving tours may include trips out to these islands so that visitors get a more inclusive perspective of the habitat of the shark, its prey and its position in the food chain.

Each service provider includes different activities and experiences in their individual packages. Therefore, the price of each experience differs from one provider to the next. Meals and refreshments, shuttles to and from visitor accommodation, DVDs and so on, are all added extras that make each experience fun and memorable, and will affect the final cost of the package. Therefore, it is important that tourists and locals wanting to take part in a shark cage dive do their research and decide on a package that suits their expectations and budget.

Gansbaai Links:
Gansbaai Attractions
Things to Do in Gansbaai
Gansbaai Self Catering
Cape Overberg Accommodation


Great White Shark


Amelia Meyer


Amelia is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for all things travel-related. She is based in Knysna, but has studied, lived and travelled further afield. She studied Film, Media and Literature at the University of Cape Town. She began her solo career in the form of Voxate Writing & Editing in 2008 and loves every minute of it. Amelia believes in silver linings, lessons learnt and the responsibility to do what’s right. When she is not writing, she can frequently be found at the local animal shelter, on the bicycle trails of the nature reserves or sampling new restaurants with her family.

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What Others are Saying

1 comment about Shark Cage Diving in South Africa
  1. August 2nd, 2012 at 11:57
    Becky says:

    I did the shark cage dive in Gansbaai with a guy called Brian – it was great, and the shark attacked the cage right in front of me and proceeded to chomp the cage whilst moving sideways – that made my day! The girl next to me was frozen with fear and the French guys were squealing with delight – they made it extra fun!