Sevengill shark diving
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.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Animal Ocean Diving
Tel: +27 (0)79 488 5053
Best time to visit
Although May to August is the best time of year for this dive due to improved visibility, these sharks may be seen all year round. Dives are always weather permitting and subject to favourable sea conditions.
Tours to do
Some dive charters offer a two-dive package in which the second dive offers the option of diving just up the coast among resident seals. If you choose to dive in False Bay, this dive could be teamed with a great white shark cage dive.
What will it cost
Approx. R1 400 per person for two dives. Equipment rental will be approx. R400 per person.
If you’ve never dived before, an introductory scuba diving course (or the full open water course) will ensure that you are able to enjoy the dive with sharks.