For a really special dive in a spectacular setting below the Cape Peninsula mountain range, book yourself a date with a prehistoric sevengill shark, in one of the few places in the world that you can dive with these rarely seen marine predators.

Did you know?

Dark Tide, the 2011 film about shark encounters starring Halle Berry, was shot on the Cape coast.

The sevengill shark (Notorynchus cepedianus) is an apex predator and social feeder so it’s commonly found in fairly large groups – 20 or more individuals – which adds to the excitement of diving with these prehistoric creatures.

Their known location off the Cape's False Bay coast means you’re almost guaranteed a sighting as the sharks swim slowly up and down the sandy gullies between the kelp beds.

These sharks are named for their seven gill slits (other sharks have five) and absent front dorsal fin, which make up their distinguishing features.

At around 12m, the dive is not particularly hard. The bottom is sandy and filled with kelp forests that attract other species such as the gully shark, pyjama shark, leopard shark and puffadder shyshark.

Divers get into position and wait for the sevengill sharks to swim past on their regular routes up and down the channels. They appear unperturbed by the divers’ presence and pass within an arm’s length, which offers great photographic opportunities if you have an underwater camera handy.

Sevengill sharks use collaborative hunting methods to feed on seals, sharks and fish, a behaviour which has earned them the nickname 'wolves of the sea'. Females grow to around 3m while males are slightly smaller.

Their inherent curiosity makes interaction with these sharks a superb experience. The sharks also move slowly and appear quite placid as they come in close to observe divers.

A relatively easy open-water shallow dive, minimal surge and sharks aplenty make this a favourite dive option for travellers to the Cape.

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