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There are two musical notes that have the ability to turn anybody’s blood cold. Alternate E and F at a steadily increasing pace – dunn dun – and a four letter word starts making its way the forefront of your mind. It’s typed in blood red and floats precariously above the very thing that it refers to: an incredibly ferocious looking great white shark. We are of course referring to the artwork of the 1975 blockbuster, Jaws – that suspenseful Spielberg creation that changed the way that the world looked at sharks forever.
But it’s their scare-factor that makes these magnificent beasts one of the biggest bucket-list attractions that the ocean has to offer. Cloaked in elusivity, spotting a great white in the wild makes for a story to tell for years to come. And here, off of the shark-infested shores of South Africa, you’re in the best place in the world to find them. So, pack up your Hollywood induced preconceptions and take to the water for a spot of shark cage diving. It will be as educational as it will be adrenaline fuelled – promise.
Once you’re in the moment – having already battled with your wetsuit and adjusted your goggles – yes, your heart is beating a little faster and yes, the rush of adrenaline is very much apparent, but witnessing the ocean’s great ‘villain’ will actually transpire to be a decidedly tranquil experience. Tempted by a scent trail, the inquisitive beings will glide along to cast their beady eyes over the commotion, but you’re the attraction in this reverse zoo situation remember. They’re simply curious spectators.
And that’s the whole point of offering this experience. Chilling visions of inky eyes and glinting teeth have too often been the features used to advertise great whites as indiscriminate killing machines – it’s no wonder that they are under such threat. This diving opportunity will educate you on the important role that sharks play in maintaining the ocean’s healthy balance. So, not only will you get your adrenaline kick but you’ll be part of a conservation project too. Double tick? We certainly think so.
Forget aquariums, this is the only way to get up-close-and-personal to a formidable great white in its natural habitat. And we’ve made sure that the company we’ve chosen is all about the sharks, meaning that the great white comes first. Sorry, not sorry. But as well as having an unforgettable experience, you’re here to learn about these magnificent creatures in a responsible and ethical way, right? Thankfully, in South Africa – unlike in other places around the world – conservation is key, so you won’t have to worry about any malpractice on this cage dive, your guides will be just as in love with sharks as you are.
With the cage taking six people at a time, the bond that you will share with your fellow divers is one that will last forever – after all, who else will understand the experience in the way that they do? And what an experience. Making your way from Hermanus to the shores of Gansbaai makes sense when you realise that you’re in the great white capital of the world. Although never guaranteed, this is the best chance at spotting this icon of the ocean that you’ll ever get.
We know that shark diving isn’t for everyone, but if you opt to add Hermanus as a location, having already selected our Classic base itinerary, you’ll have the chance to add a spot of ‘adrenaline’ into your trip. Head over to our itinerary builder now to see how else you can personalise your South African adventure.
Off of the shores of Gansbaai, a small town down the coast from Hermanus – an area popular with the sharks because of the 60,000 Cape Fur Seals that laze on Geyser Rock. In fact, the ocean between Geyser Rock and Dyer Island has even been labelled Shark Alley.
The set-off time for this experience varies daily depending on the conditions, but this is a morning event and it is worth every second of the early rise. Plus you’ll be treated to breakfast before setting off, so you’ll have time to wake up before making the plunge.
This is a year-round activity, but if your trip happens to be between March and September then you’re in luck because this is when the water visibility is known to be at its clearest.
Your wits about you. No, but really: sun cream, your bathers and a camera/Go Pro, obviously.
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