Shark Cage Diving in Gansbaai – Gansbaai, South Africa - Atlas Obscura
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Gansbaai, South Africa

Shark Cage Diving in Gansbaai

An odd little fishing town that is inundated by tourists looking to be locked up in a cage and attacked by great white sharks, because why not? 

With shark attacks epitomizing the stuff of nightmares, it somehow comes at no surprise that tourists will gladly pay to get as close to that experience without actually losing a limb as possible.

Intrigued? A typical shark cage diving excursion takes about 3 to 5 hours. You hop on the boat and are hustled away to prime shark territory near Dyer Island and Geyser Rock. It’s a rocky ride for some people, so if you have motion sickness this rocking rollicking boat could pose a problem, but you should probably tough it out because, sharks.

The boat is anchored at the shark-infested destination and you get wet-suited up. A Tuna head attached to a strong rope is thrown in the water, and soon you can see the almost cartoonish fins cut through the water. Once there are a good number of the beautiful animals swimming around, you hop into the cage, which is attached to the boat and hold your breath. There is no breathing equipment used here, so your sighting of the shark is contingent on how long you can hold your breath underwater.

After a few languid minutes of paddling around in your safety zone, you almost expect a scary background score to start playing as sharks up to 5 meters long finally take the bait and charge up at you in the cage. A cheap thrill and a sharp adrenalin rush? Yes. A close-up of nature’s incredible beauty? Yes. Smartest way to get a close-up view of the infamous ocean predator? Debatable. For the weak of heart? Definitely not.

The dives are weather dependent and so it is a good idea to stay in Gansbaai, either overnight or for a day or two. the area is beautiful and unspoiled and there are many exciting things to do. There are 8 Shark dive  operators to choose from. Southern right Whales are plentiful from June to December and add to the experience if you spend the time.

Know Before You Go

Travel on the N2 towards Caledon and then onto the R43 past Hermanus and Stanford to Gansbaai. Travel time is approximately 2 hours from Cape Town (around 160km)