Shark cage-diving has been a popular coastal activity for some time now and South Africa offers some of the best sites in the world to view sharks in great numbers in their natural habitat.
South Africa has many bays and small islands that support large colonies of seals and birds, as well as rich stocks of ocean fish which attract large numbers of these apex predators. Due to the growing popularity of the sport, more tour operators are taking visitors out to see sharks, so finding a tour that suits your needs should not be a problem.
The main attraction in South African waters is without a doubt the great white shark, although you will probably see any number of other varieties as well. The best time of year to experience shark cage diving is between April and October. November to March is their mating season, but even so, great whites are encountered almost all year round in South African waters.
Shark cage operators are based in easily accessible harbours along South Africa's coast.
Shark Cage Diving KZN (Kwazalu-Natal)
Tel: +27 82 373 5950
Ushaka Marine World (Durban, Kwazulu-Natal)
Tel: +27 (0) 31 328 8000 or +27 (0) 31 328 8090
Marine Dynamics (Gansbaai, Western Cape)
Tel: +27 (0) 799 309 694
White Shark Diving Company (Gansbaai, Western Cape)
Tel: +27 (0) 21 671 4777 or Cell: +27 (0) 82 559 6858 / +27 (0) 82 371 8715
Shark Cage Diving (Gansbaai, Western Cape)
Tel: +27 (0) 28 384 1418 or +27 (0) 83 300 2138
Prices for shark cage diving average at around R1 400 per person and usually include meals before and after the dive, transport, equipment and (somtimes) a video of the dive.
The best time of year for great white viewing is April to October.
30 minutes in the Cage 5 - 20 Sharks on a dive, the whole trip is about two and a half hours.
There are several excellent sites for cage-diving around the South African coast. Cape Town has a plethora of operators who will accommodate all your cage diving needs in places such as Hout Bay, Gansbaai, Dyer Island, KleinBaai, Seal Island, Mossel Bay and Simon's Town. In KwaZulu-Natal shark cage-diving outfits operate out of Durban and from Rocky Bay.
Shark cage-diving in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. Image courtesy: © Marco Scaravillo
Since you don't actually dive into the ocean at all during a cage-dive, you do not have to be a qualified diver. Shark cage-diving in South Africa is strictly controlled and cages are custom-built for safety and durability.
For those not so keen on getting into the water, the sharks can be observed from the boat as they often circle the cage, and have been known to breach, or leap from the water in pursuit of prey.
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