Great White Sharks

No self-respecting diver can visit South Africa without making the time to dive with the awe inspiring great white shark! Only 2 hours from Cape Town the fishing town of Gansbaai has great white shark sightings all year round. 

In False Bay, only 30 minutes from the Mother City, it is much more common to see great white shark breaching especially from May – August but trips here only run between April and September.

Cage diving with great white sharks is a breath taking experience suitable for divers and non-divers alike. Scuba equipment is rarely, if ever, used as the noise of the bubbles significantly reduces the chances of the sharks coming close. The key to a successful cage dive is to be as still and quiet in the water so that the shark feels relaxed and becomes inquisitive. A simple, yet effective breath hold method is used which only requires divers to break below the surface by a meter or so. For those who would rather stay dry the view from the boat is also truly amazing.

Almost as much controversy surrounds the practise of great white shark cage diving as the animals themselves. Great white shark operators use a method of baiting that spreads a chum slick on the surface of the water and the smell of the fish oil attracts the sharks in the direction of the boat. As the sharks swim up the scent trail they are then visually attracted by a piece of fish at the end of a rope which the bait handler uses to draw the shark closer to the cage. Most operators do their up most to prevent the sharks actually taking the bait, however sometimes the sharks outwit even the most experienced bait handler.

The cage diving industry in South Africa has grown rapidly and has proven to be a great asset in the efforts to conserve and protect the great white shark. Africa Diver only supports cage diving operators who are actively involved with great white shark research and conservation. If you have any doubts about the ethical implications surrounding great white shark cage diving operations please email info@africadiver.co.uk