Shark cage diving in South Africa

Shark cage diving in South Africa

There are a wide variety of extreme sports that are enjoyed by tourists. 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 sports available, shark cage diving.  There are more than 500 species of sharks in the ocean, and there are endless opportunities to see them in their natural habitat. Why not undertake a shark cage diving trip to come face-to-face with these creatures? 

A whale shark with her pup

A whale shark with her pup

Imagining being locked up while huge sharks circle you is not a very pleasant picture. However, it is one of the most exciting experiences you can ever have and helps 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 protecting the sharks.  

It is usually used for scientific observations by researchers, underwater cinematography, and tourist activities. This activity has boosted tourism and helped employ local people.    

Sharks circling around the divers

Sharks circling around the divers

Cage diving is safe, and no diving skills 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 fueled, 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 shark cage diving? Shark cage diving is one of the top things to do 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 do 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.  

The small but famous town of Gansbaai

The small but famous town of Gansbaai

Gansbaai and great white sharks

Gansbaai is a small fishing town that has become abundant with great white sharks. It is the country’s most 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 2 hours drive away from Cape Town. You can have the most amazing cage diving experience in the picturesque Kleinbaai Harbour. The harbour 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 12 km from Gansbaai and are located next to each other. Other marine life and wildlife species such as whales, dolphins, African penguins, Cape Gannets, and more can be spotted.      

The beautiful Dyer Island in Gansbaai

The beautiful Dyer Island in Gansbaai

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 runs from May to October, you have exceptionally high chances of seeing white sharks. Although sharks are seen throughout the year, these months are ideal for going shark cage diving in South Africa. Especially on clear mornings, several people embark on this sport near the harbour.    

A tourist encountering a shark up close

A tourist encountering a shark up close

Shark diving trips take weather and tidal waves into account. 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 determined depending on the activity of the 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 labelled as. They are, in fact, selective, cautious, and intelligent species.   


There are loads of opportunities to get up close with sharks, whether you are swimming or diving. Shark cage diving is fun, safe, and responsible, and you can soak in the exhilarating experience of a lifetime.  


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