Cage diving with great white sharks in Gaansbai, South Africa, is one of the best wildlife experiences you can have.
Gaansbai is only a few hours drive from Cape Town and is an extremely exciting thing to do.
Want to get in a cage with a great white shark swimming by?
This is what to expect.
You can book a tour to go cage diving with great white sharks in Gaansbai here.
Shark Cage Diving in Gaansbai
The town you leave from is called Gaansbai and has many boats that can take you out. It is only a 15 minute boat trip to go to where you can see the sharks.
When there the crew will get the cage set up in the water and start chumming. Chumming is a soupy mix of fish guts and blood etc to attract the sharks.
Sharks have a very good sense of smell and are drawn in by the chum.
Although the chum is rather nasty to human senses!
Chumming the water:
Sharks being wildlife you will have to wait sometimes to get a sighting, but other times you can be surrounded by them within minutes.
The first sign of that shark fin in the water moving towards the boat, and the sharks dark shadow in the water, is fun to watch.
Especially some of the reactions from others on the boat!
The first sign of a great white shark:
With the cage now set up, they send you down in teams of 5-6 at a time with wet suits on for the freezing water temperatures.
You are given a face-mask to see the sharks when they come at you.
You don’t dive with scuba gear (check these dive computers out if you do dive).
Getting into the cage.
The crew will then throw large fish heads in front of the cage to help attract the sharks. This combined with the chum normally does the trick.
The first sign of a shark from within the cage gets the senses racing.
Great white comes to the cage with the fish head bait being thrown in:
When a shark is spotted you will be told to go down. This is where you hold your breath and submerge under water.
You have to lean back against the cage and don’t put your hands on the front bars, or the shark could rip them off!
The fish head is put in front of the cage to and then drawn in towards you as the shark goes for it to bring it closer for you to see.
Sometimes the great white will ram into the cage when trying to get the bait.
Great white rams the cage:
Seeing the huge jaws and teeth of the great white when going for the bait, you get a good idea why this is the top predator in the sea.
They will even stick their heads out of the water jaws open to get the bait as it is pulled away.
Great white shark with head out of water:
Some people get a little nervous, and understandably so, while others get a great feeling of awe at this awesome creature.
It gets very cold in the water so normally 30 minutes is enough to view them as they come and go.
Getting slapped on the head by the fish head as it is constantly thrown in the water and brought back again over the top of you, and being swamped in the chum as it floats past you in the water, is not very nice, to put it mildly.
But you forget about all of that as the shark approaches.
Great white approaches the cage:
The reason there is so many great white sharks here is because there is an island just off shore full of seals. The great whites love eating seals.
With the seals swimming from the island and near the coastline, means this area is swarming with great whites.
They happily call this area ‘shark alley’.
Rotting fish head as bait:
After a great day out you go back to shore a little chilly but super happy. One of the greatest wildlife experiences you could have.
With a nice hot shower to warm up and to get that fishy smell of you, you return to Cape Town.
Check out this video of free diving with a great white shark!
Cage Dive With Great White Sharks in Gaansbai
There are many operators that can take you out to see the great white sharks. The average price is around $100-130 and you can find a tour through hostels in Cape Town.
The best time of year is between March and September for water visibility, but you can see the sharks year round.
Alternatively you could stay in Gaansbai for the night.
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