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WWhat’s so special about an ocean safari in South Africa?

South Africa is famous for its safaris, but its ocean life is just as rich, just as fascinating. On a cruise around the Dyer Island system in Gansbaai, you have the chance to see our Marine Big Five: the great white shark, African penguin, southern right whale, cape fur seal, and dolphin. I challenge anyone to find another place on Earth that can offer such diversity so close to shore.

“I CHALLENGE ANYONE TO FIND ANOTHER PLACE ON EARTH THAT OFFERS SUCH DIVERSITY SO CLOSE TO SHORE”

Alison Towner,
Gansbaai, Western Cape

IIs shark cage diving terrifying?

With Marine Dynamics, we’ve had everyone from a three-year-old to a 100-year-old go in. When you see a great white swim past, you have such a change in perception. It’s a chance to appreciate just how magnificent and elegant they are, to understand they’re not man-eating monsters.

It never gets old to see people leave the cage with that transformation. Experiencing shark cage diving is powerful. The sharks are here year-round, but there’s a higher density from May to September when the cape fur seal pups make their way into the ocean from the Geyser rock colony into the stretch we call Shark Alley.

When is the best time to go whale-watching?

Peak season for southern right whales is October and November. But they start arriving from the Antarctic in May and June and leave again in December. This year, we had a bumper season; more calves were born in these waters than in any of the previous 39 years. Even out of southern right whale season, we still have Bryde’s whales and humpbacks.

Are visitors helping conservation?

When you go out in Gansbaai with Marine Dynamics for shark cage diving, or go whale-watching with Dyer Island Cruises, you’re really making a difference by contributing to the Dyer Island Conservation Trust. The non-profit organisation is involved in vital research and conservation, and it runs the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary, which rehabilitates injured and sick birds.

sharkwatchsa.com


Read the Meet Your South Africa magazine here

DISCOVER MORE

Meet Your South Africa

Guide: The Wildlife Whisperer

South Africa is blessed with abundant wildlife including the Big 5.

Meet Your South Africa, with the people that know it best.

The Whale Coast

On Episode 4 of ITV’s ‘South Africa with Gregg Wallace’, Gregg sets off to explore the Whale Coast Route, from Cape Town to Gansbaai. .

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"South Africa’s a very special country from coast to mountain. Cape Town itself is just an incredibly beautiful place also an incredibly diverse place, you have Table Mountain, you have indigenous forest and then you have this wealth marine life where you can see orcas and seals and penguins and whales and dolphins all on the same day and octopuses, massive invertebrate bio-diversity. I think, Cape Town is one of the most important bio-diversity hotspots on the planet and it’s also home to a huge community of endemic species and endemics are animals that you only find in that specific place and then when we talk specifically about the Great African sea forest, which is, the beautiful home of The Octopus Teacher. The thing about kelp forests is they cover 25% of the world’s coastlines, they are critical eco systems, they absorb carbon, they protect coastlines from storms and swell which is very important at this time because of rising sea levels and then they are just home to this unbelievable community of animals. They have some of the most bio-diverse habitats on Earth but, what’s happening, all over the world, because of climate change, is they are incredibly fragile. What’s incredible about the Greta African sea forest is the habitat is thriving, you know, it’s a very extensive kelp forest. It runs from De Hoop in the east all the way up the west coast to Namibia in the west and it’s healthy and the structure is there and although, you know, it’s not pristine but because the habitat is thriving the way that it is it really could be and you put your heard under the water there and you will see things that you never dreamed were possible and you’ll look up and there will be light playing through the forest and light rays shining down on you, and, it’s a dreamlike experience. It’s like being in a painting". Film Director, Pippa Ehrlich. We congratulate Netflix’s #MyOctopusTeacher​ for winning at The Oscars. The incredibly beautiful story of one of South Africa’s magical marine life and biodiversity, #MyOctopusTeacher​ was nominated for an Oscar award under the Documentary Feature category. Set in a kelp forest in #FalseBay​, #CapeTown​, South Africa, we say #MyOctopusTeacher​ definitely deserves the Oscar! #ShareSouthAfrica

We didn’t choose a location for this film because we never knew it was going to be a film, this is just what Craig does and what the C-Change project does, we live in Cape Town so we dive in Cape Town. And there are incredible dive sites all over the city, right on our doorstep and the incredible power of this film in some ways, and the joy of it from a filmmaking point of view is that, most natural history shoots you get flown off to some exotic location and then you’re under incredible pressure to get everything you need in three weeks. When you live and work in your home, you can be very picky about exactly the shot that you want. You know, you can wait for the best visibility, you can wait for the scariest storm. And the most amazing part of all of it is you go and dive, and you have these mind blowing experiences and you hold that feeling in your heart, and then you sit down straight afterwards and go back to the edit suite like this magical process of alchemy where it just pours into the film that you’re creating, so this was a once in a lifetime filmmaking process. It’s certainly changed my life." Film Director, Pippa Ehrlich. A showcase of South Africa’s beautiful biodiversity hotspot in a Western Cape kelp forest of #FalseBay​, Netflix's #MyOctopusTeacher​ has won an Oscar award under the Documentary Feature category. Good luck to the team for the brilliant story of a once-in-a-lifetime encounter in one of the most exquisitely beautiful environments on earth 🐙 #ShareSouthAfrica​ #CapeTown​ #FalseBay Learn more about the destination on www.southafrica.net

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