Great white sharks
Very little can prepare you for your first sighting of great white sharks in South Africa. Certainly not your own expectations. Without fuss, without ominous music, one will quietly appear off the side of your boat.
And all you'll be able to think is how elegant it is, how very beautiful.
South Africa is by far the best country in the world for great white shark conservation. It has been officially protected since 1991 - and there is plenty of prey. Great white sharks love to eat Cape fur seals, and there are thousands along the country's coastline.
A boat ride lasting less than an hour will take you to a likely spot - Seal Island in False Bay or Seal Island in Mossel Bay. But if you're looking for the birthplace of shark tourism, Gansbaai (Goose Bay) has become a place of legend for shark fans.
There, between Dyer Island and Geyser Rock, which teems with seals, is Shark Alley, criss-crossed by great white sharks on the lookout for food. The sharks have learnt astounding techniques to catch the speedy seals. One is the spectacular 'Air Jaws' manoeuvre - leaping clean out the water in pursuit of fleeing prey.
You're far more likely, though, to see them from a shark viewing boat. On most days, the sighting of at least one shark is practically guaranteed. In winter you could see up to 25 different individuals. What will strike you almost immediately is that these are not the scary, aggressive monsters they've been portrayed to be.
Instead, they seem sleek, cautious, intelligent, graceful.
Although controversial at times, the great white shark tourism industry has made sharks vastly more valuable alive than dead. It is an industry now worth many millions, and that monetary incentive has helped safeguard this majestic predator along South Africa's coastline.