22 October 2010 by Roy Barford

Shark cage diving in Gansbaai

Image courtesy Hermanus Backpackers

The Western Cape is one of the very few regions in the world where adventures can get up close to great white sharks. As it is illegal to keep these giant predators in captivity, the only way to do so, is to go out on a boat and, for an authentic view, get underwater with them.

My younger brother Gary is a shark fanatic who lives in Durban. During a recent visit to Cape Town, he took a shark cage diving tour to Gansbaai to fulfill a life-long dream.

Despite his trip being outside peak great white viewing season (which is usually May to October), he saw 3 great whites, one of which was about 3.5m in length. The guides chummed the waters to attract sharks toward the boat.

He says: “The visibility was very clear and it was easy to identify distinct markings on the sharks. One female had been injured, probably by a male during mating, and was very easy to see where she had been bitten on her dorsal fin.”

One female had been injured, probably by a male during mating, and was very easy to see where she had been bitten on her dorsal fin.

He took motion sickness tablets for seasickness and said these worked wonders. “The boat is quite big (capacity of 30 passengers and 5 crew) which probably helps,” he says.

He paid around R1200 for the experience, which included transport from Cape Town to Gansbaai and back (165km each way) as well as breakfast, snacks and the use of a wetsuit and snorkels. Despite being a miserly banker with cobwebs in his wallet, he said it was worth every cent, even though he never saw a shark while underwater in the cage.

He recommends the trip to anyone interested and advises: “don’t worry too much about taking pictures otherwise a lot of the time you miss out on actually seeing the sharks.” He adds that warm clothes for afterward are essential.

The above photo of a great white shark is c

Category: Adventure

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