Shark cage diving has in recent years become one of the most popular extreme sports. The prospect of being in a cage within centimetres of those powerful jaws and razor sharp teeth is enough to send icy chills down anyone’s spine! The adrenaline rush, however, is mostly based on mankind’s irrational fear of the Great White Shark. Movies such as Jaws and the likes have subconsciously brainwashed people into believing these apex predators of the ocean are mindless man eating monsters that will hunt, mangle and devour anything. Thankfully, the truth is far different from the stereotype .
Spending Time With the Great White Sharks
Dives usually last 10-15 minutes and if the weather is good you can get a few dives in per day.
Who Can Dive With Great White Sharks
Some diving operators require a basic level of diving proficiency while others don’t. The dive master on board the boat will quickly let you know whether you can get in the cage or not. Most dives don’t actually require diving per se, snorkeling is the way to go.
All Great White Shark cage diving operators will have the latest safety equipment on board. The gear and cages are regularly inspected by the Government. Paramedics are usually on board. To date, there have been no known shark attack injuries on any of these trips.
Great White Shark Cage Diving Operators
The operators that offer Great White Shark diving, all have excellent safety records and offer similar tours. The price differences usually reflect how many people they are willing to take at one time. The cheaper the tour the more likely that you will have a little less diving time as there may be more divers. Remember that seeing the Great White Sharks isn’t always guaranteed although in the high season the success rate of all these companies is above 90. It is therefore recommended that if you have the time, it’s best to book a tour that lasts a few days.
The Diving Cage
Rodney Fox, an Australian diver, has been credited with inventing the shark cage. Rodney became shark bait while spear fishing in Australia.
The Diving Cage is…
- Safe. The diving cage is specially designed to withstand the bite of a Great White (although they haven’t ever attacked a cage to date) while still allowing the diver a good view of the shark. The diving cages are made from 12mm galvanized steel.
- Easy to use. The good thing about the diving cage is that you don’t need to know how to scuba dive, snorkeling will do for most dives (not in False Bay). Shark cages have tubes going up to the boat, so divers simply suck on the tube to breathe fresh air.
- Able to hold several people. Cages are built to hold two, four or even six people, so you can get to experience the sharks with the whole family.
- Close to the surface. The cage actually floats and doesn’t go deep at all since sharks are surface feeders. It’s therefore easy to keep in touch with the boat crew and you can always get out of the cage quickly if the adventure becomes a little too exciting.
South African Shark sites
Known as the Great White Shark diving capital of the world, the stretch of water between Gansbaai and Dyer Island is also referred to as “shark alley”. Gansbaai is 100 miles from Cape Town, about a 2-hour drive by car. Gansbaai is also just half an hour drive away from Hermanus which is South Africa’s best spot for whale-watching.
There is one Great White Shark Diving Tour Operator offering cage diving in Mossel Bay with a good success rate.
A couple of Great White Shark Diving Tour Operators work out of False Bay which is very close to Cape Town. Cage dives in False Bay require you to have basic scuba certification which is offered on site.