Sharks & Safety in SA


Jul 11th, 2015, 03:40 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 97
Sharks & Safety in SA

Hello all,

I am a single traveler going to South Africa in September. I will have five nights in Cape Town, staying at the Fritz Hotel.

My main reason for going is to cage dive with the Great Whites (HUGE shark nerd), which I plan to book for my first full day out there in case of weather complications. Any recommendations of companies to book with? Or suggestion on whether Gansbaii or False Bay?

I found a wonderful tour guide for Tabletop Mountain thanks to scanning some of the boards here on occasion, so that will be a definite. Would like to see the Penguins (Cape of Good Hope) and Robbens Island. Is there a best way to get to these places as I will not have a car?

Any other suggestions on what to see/do? I want to experience as much as possible in my short time. For reference, I arrive on a Monday at 1:10pm and depart on Saturday at 3:10pm - I am a female in my late twenties.

Lastly, a lot of family members have expressed concern about safety in South Africa? Should I stay at the hotel during the evening hours? Should I be covered up when I am out about town? As I said, solo, late twenties female traveler and heavily tattooed.

Thanks for all the help!
nightxsky is offline  
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Jul 12th, 2015, 06:29 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,111
We were in Cape Town in February (staying in Simonstown) but traveled to Gansbaai as the shark activity is minimal in False Bay in the summer (we were told by the operator in town who booked us with an operator in Gansbaai - it was great BTW!)

Here is a link to the company we used - this page discusses the conditions by month. They operate in False Bay until the end of September - that might imply the conditions are waning at that time?

Re safety - there are others on this board who are far more knowledgeable about CT but we did spend 3 weeks there. As I understand it the hotel is located in a good neighbourhood and is near restaurants/bars/etc. You certainly need to practice obvious safety techniques (no visible camera/perhaps a money belt or at least a secure purse/no phone in your hand/wits about you/etc) but I don't think you have to stay in the hotel at night. The biggest resource for you is probably hotel management - they know the area best and can make suggestions for you.

As far as heavily tattooed/need to cover up - can't imagine why!

Have a great trip!
Elizabeth_S is offline  
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Jul 13th, 2015, 12:45 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 3,835
The hotel is situated near Long Street which is ok to walk along at night. I would check with the hotel whether it is ok to walk to/from Long Street in the evenings, if not, get a taxi no matter how short the distance. We stayed in Seapoint this year and this area was safe to walk around in the evenings so we had several restaurants within walking distance. It was also pretty close to V&A which is ok to walk around in the evening.
Odin is offline  
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Jul 14th, 2015, 04:16 AM
Join Date: Feb 2015
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Your Cape Town hotel is just one street parallel to busy Kloof Street with restaurants and quirky shops and young artistic people just like you sporting tattoos. It is safe to walk around in the evening, but as suggested, take advice from the hotel on the day as to where best to go (or not to go!) and take usual precautions.

Apex Shark Expeditions operate out of Simon’s Town (False Bay) and are ethical and instrumental in gathering research to protect Great Whites. Ask them whether September is a good time. But why not do one shark dive in Gans Bay and one in False Bay – that way you’ll have the best chance possible of some great experiences.

I’ve been disappointed with the Robben Island tour – it’s been badly managed for years. But do head down to Cape Point/Cape of Good Hope and stop and see Boulders Penguins on the way. Your hotel can advice a tour company you can join for this excursion. If you are sporty you could go to Cape Point with Day Trippers who drop you and a bike in the reserve and pick you up later.

I also suggest that people walk up Table Mountain and take the cable car down. It’s an uphill 2.5 hours (minimum) but worth every step! I also like taking a boat ride from the V&A Waterfront either into the bay or around the harbour for a different view of the city (but not necessary if you are going on the Robben Island ferry).

I know you will love Cape Town and being a solo female traveler with not hinder your enjoyment…you will meet other travelers if you go on some organised excursions…and take one into the beautiful Cape Winelands too.

Carrie, Fair Trade Safaris non-profit operator
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