Face to Face with Jaws: Shark Diving in South Africa
By Kate Turkington
It's not hard to get swept up in the frenzy that is the Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week. If watching the great white sharks on TV doesn’t soothe your curiosity, then head to Gansbaai, South Africa May through August (a.k.a Prime Great White viewing season). About a 2 ½ hour drive from Cape Town, this Western Cape town is the self-proclaimed Great White Shark capital of the world. The town is decked out in shark-themed paraphernalia. Keep an eye out for buildings decorated in disused diving cages and murals fringed with triangular white teeth.
For the very brave, you can get face to face with Jaws in specially designed shark cages (www.sharkcagediving.net). Those who don’t fancy actually diving with sharks, but still want to experience the powerful creatures, can take a boat trip to Dyer Island (www.white-shark-diving.com), home to 50,000 cape fur seals—the Great White’s favorite treat. Success rates are good, as rarely a day goes by without spotting at least one Great White. If you're lucky you’ll get calm seas, 30 feet visibility, and a "player" or two (the term used by operators to describe an individual shark that hangs around the boat).
If you time things right, you could head for the Eastern Cape coast in July to intercept the Sardine Run (www.sardinerun.com), when millions of sardines (and the Humpback whales, dolphins, and sharks that eat them) make their way up South Africa’s Eastern coast to find warmer waters. Many SCUBA charters, including Reefteach (www.reefteach.co.za), offer daily excursions for experienced and non-experienced divers or those who want to watch from the safety of the boat.
Photo credit: Kathryn Moos
Member Comments (2) Post a Comment
Been to south Africa myself, Durban is a lovely place, didnt get to see the Sharks, but i will do next time. If you get the chance when in Durban, check out Dave Monks, he is a Celtic Musician and Gospel Musician.. http://www.davemonks.com/monks-cds.htm you wont regret it. South Africa is beautiful though, really worth seeing and experiencing, and do enjoy the music too..
Only as long as they allow you to pee in the wet suit.
Fodor's Top News & Features
- 10 Top Bakeries Across the US
- World's 10 Best Trips for Wine Lovers
- 20 Gorgeous Seaside Towns in Italy
- Pot Tourism: How to Buy Marijuana in Colorado
- 10 Castles You Can Actually Afford to Sleep In
- Romantic Getaway: Long Weekend in San Juan
- World's Best Destinations for Solo Travel
- 10 Best Lakeside Hotels in the US
- Cheap and Chic: 10 Affordable Hawaii Hotels
- 5 Best Perks of Flying in Premium Economy
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Fodor's Go List 2014: Where we are going in 2014
- World Cup Fever: Start planning your trip to Brazil!
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- $119 & up -- 4-Star San Diego Hotels, up to 75% Offtrivago
- $129-$169 -- Colorado: Aspen 4-Star Hotel, Reg. $399Westin Snowmass Resort
- $161 -- Colorado 4-Star Vail Riverfront Resort, 65% OffThe Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain
- $179 & up -- 4-Star Ft. Lauderdale Resort & Spa, 40% OffThe Westin Beach Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale
- $606* & up -- Fly to Peru from Across the US (R/T incl. Tax)LAN
- $935* & up -- KLM: Europe Spring Fares (R/T, incl. Tax)KLM, Royal Dutch Airlines