There are a wide variety of extreme sports that are enjoyed by tourists often. Sky diving, paragliding, canoeing, and ice climbing are just a few to name.
Among all of them is one of the most intimidating yet thrilling sport available, shark cage diving. There are more than 500 species of sharks in the ocean and endless opportunities to see them in the natural habitat. Why not undertake a shark cage diving trip to come face to face with these creatures?
Imagining being locked up whilst huge sharks circle you is not a very pleasant picture. However, it is one of the most exciting experiences you can ever have as well as tackle misconceptions about these creatures as well.
It is also one of the best ways to counter your fear and truly feel alive underwater.
What is shark cage diving?
Shark cage diving is performed underwater where a few divers or participants are locked inside a metal cage. The sharks freely swim around you and you can observe them from up-close. The cage acts as a protective barrier between you and the creature as well as protects the sharks.
It is usually used for scientific observations by researchers, underwater cinematography as well as a tourist activity. This activity has boosted tourism and helped employ local people.
Cage diving is safe and no diving skills as such are needed. However, before you start, you will receive safety lessons and learn how to use the equipment.
Before your arrival, air tanks are filled, boats are fuelled, cylinders are placed inside the cages and all equipment is arranged. Your only responsibility is to follow the instructions given by the guide and enjoy the rest of the experience.
Inside the metal cage, you can learn more about sharks and their conservation. This activity also allows for incredible photography.
But why should you consider going for shark cage diving? Shark cage diving is one of the top things to perform if you are someone who loves adrenaline and adventure. It is truly breathtaking and riveting to be so close to one of the most menacing creatures known. Yet, it can also be a humbling experience as you can see sharks in their natural habitat and learn more about these misunderstood species.
Shark diving in South Africa
You can perform shark diving in popular destinations like the USA, Mexico, Australia, and many more. However, one of the most famous and iconic places for this activity remains the country of South Africa.
In South Africa, sharks are considered a marine tourism species. There are legally controlled tourism activities that decrease disturbances and protect the animals from injury or threat. This sport has given rise to eco-tourism in the country and has become popular among tourists. The best place to shark cage dive in the country is none other than Gansbaai.
Gansbaai and great white sharks
Gansbaai is a small fishing town that has become abundant in great white sharks. It is the country’s acclaimed town, famed for being the best shark diving destination. The sharks move up and down the town’s coastline and travel to Mozambique and Madagascar as well. Some may also travel to extreme distances but most of the great white sharks swim in the Gaansbai waters.
The town is just a 2 hours’ drive away from Cape Town. You can have the most amazing cage diving experience in the picturesque Kleinbaai Harbour. The harbor serves as an entry point for cage diving expeditions to the islands.
Dyer Island and Geyser Island are two unique places where you can spot a high percentage of great white sharks. These islands are situated off 12 km from Gansbaai and located next to each other. Other marine life and wildlife species such as whales, dolphins, African penguins, Cape Gannets and more can be spotted.
Geyser Rock is also home to a huge colony of Cape fur seals. A large number of penguins and seals in this area attract sharks and thus, sightings are guaranteed.
You can also combine your shark diving experience with whale tours as these magnificent mammals are generally spotted from June to November.
The best time to go
During the South African winter which starts from May to October, you can have exceptionally high chances to see white sharks. Although sharks are seen throughout the year, these months are ideal to go shark cage diving in South Africa. Especially on clear mornings, several people embark for this sport near the harbor.
Shark diving trips take into account weather and tidal waves. Since the South African weather can become unpredictable at times, it is recommended to select a tour that lasts for a few days. A shark cage diving trip is decided depending on the activity of sharks. A responsible tour operator will track and follow groups of sharks that are in the vicinity instead of attracting sharks immorally.
You must always choose tour operators that spread awareness about the conservation of sharks and responsibly educate people about them. By contributing to shark tourism, you are also aiding local people, such as the Gaansbai fishing community who then keep sharks safe from illegal activities.
By embarking on a shark cage diving trip, you will understand that sharks are far from the terrifying creatures they are often labeled. They are, in fact, selective, cautious, and intelligent species.
There are loads of opportunities to get up close with sharks whether it is swimming or diving. Shark cage diving is fun, safe, and responsible where you can soak in the exhilarating experience of a lifetime.
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