Gansbaai has earned the title 'Great White Shark Capital of the World' through its large white shark population and jaw-dropping shark encounters. White sharks can reach up to 6m in these waters. Teams of experienced shark handlers are on hand to take shark enthusiasts shark diving (cage diving) or surface viewing. Shark viewing operators are regulated by a strict code of ethics in order to protect the safety of both people who go shark diving and sharks.
A typical white shark diving excursion takes between 3-6 hours, depending on the weather, sea conditions and shark behaviour. Trips depart from Kleinbaai harbour and anchor site depends on the sea conditions, weather and previous shark sightings.
There is the option of surface viewing or entering the water in a secure cage. Those wishing to cage dive do not have to be scuba qualified.
The specially designed shark diving cage is very secure, and floats with part of the cage out of the water. Divers are never more than one meter below the surface and air is supplied from a cylinder on the boat so no bulky scuba equipment is needed. All of the necessary diving equipment is supplied, and all shark diving operators have to comply with strict safety rules set out by the South African government.
The best time of year to view great white sharks is from June to September. During this time 4 or 5 sharks are usually encountered in a day, but as many as 18 have been seen.
This high season corresponds with the South African winter, and winter storms can prevent boats from launching so schedule a few additional days into your itinerary.
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Viewing of these sharks from the comfort of the boat is spectacular as Great Whites are surface feeders.
· To attract the sharks to the boat a mixture of fish products (chum) is released into the ocean. The sharks use their keen sense of smell to pinpoint the origin of the chum slick. The shark is lured even closer using pieces of fish bait or seal-shaped lures. As sharks are surface feeders they are clearly visible from the boat. Book your boat trip here...
All shark diving operators comply with a strict set of safety rules and regulations set out by the South African Government's Department of Labour. Before embarking on the trip a safety briefing is conducted by the guide. The location of all safety and emergency equipment is pointed out to passengers. A full medical first aid kit is available on board the shark boats. Authorities regularly inspect all safety and medical equipment, the boats and cages. Boat crews are trained to handle emergency situations. So don't worry; relax and enjoy!