Great White - Paul Hawkes © 2002

Great White and Seals in South Africa

To meet a Great White face-to-face is an awesome experience and should be on every divers wish list. This well adapted apex predator can reach a good 6 metres and weigh up to 3,000 kilos. Seeing them in their home environment makes it easy to understand why they are at the top of the food chain.

The Cape is the Southern most tip of the African continent, and one of the best places on Earth to encounter Great Whites. The little village named Kleinbaai (Gansbaai) will be our main base during the trip.

South Africa is an amazing country, and no trip here is complete without experiencing some of the local culture and scenery. Between the dives we will explore the local area, have a day trip to Cape Town and eat lunch in one of the off-track townships.

Cage

Cage diving with Great Whites

To save the Great White from extinction, South Africa was the first country to introduce a full protection of the species in 1991, and since 1998 all cage diving has been controlled by the Cape Nature Conservation.

A typical day shark diving starts straight after breakfast, when we leave the harbour in a purpose built boat. The sharks have an exceptionally well-developed sense of smell, so the water is chummed to attract their attention.

An expectant atmosphere develops while we wait for something to happen, sometimes minutes... sometimes hours. Never the less, when the first shark appears all the waiting is forgotten within a fraction of a second. Depending on the shark's attitude, the guides decide if we should enter the cage or not.

In the specially made cage you can safely watch the sharks pass by just a few inches away, unless they decide to take a closer look bumping into the cage! It is impossible to justify such an experience in words, but to meet these magnificent creatures face-to-face is something completely different from seeing them on TV.

Great White - Chris Fallows © 2000Leaping sharks in False Bay

False Bay has been made famous by photographers like Chris Fallows, Charles Maxwell and Amos Nachum. Their stunning photos of leaping Great Whites have been distributed all over the World.

This is the only place where this spectacular behaviour has been recorded, and we will spend a day at sea looking for the sharks as they jump out of the water hunting for seals.

Cape Fur Seals

60,000 Cape fur seals & Shark Alley

Geyser Rock is a 20-minute boat ride from Kleinbaai and is home to a colony of 60,000 Cape fur seals. The intelligent, curious and playful animals can be seen at close range and will become one of the highlights of the trip.

Next to Geyser Rock is Dyer Island, a nature reserve home to most of the sea bird species along this coastline, together with a colony of about 120,000 Cape Cormorants. Between Geyser Rock and Dyer Island is a narrow channel known as Shark Alley. Several documentaries about the Great White have been made here, and this is where we are going to dive - not in the channel, but in the kelp forest around the islands.

According to the experts the sharks don't like to swim inside the kelp, and the shallow waters are not an ideal place for them to hunt. As soon as you enter the water, the seals will surround you trying to play and communicate. They hang upside down blowing bubbles, and if you don't answer fast enough they will nibble at your fins to make sure you are paying attention!

Reef

The Atlantic meets the Indian Ocean

The Cape is where the Atlantic meets the Indian Ocean. Strong currents bring a lot of nutrient-rich water to the surface, creating a very different and colourful reef life.

During our stay we will dive several different reefs, to show you some of the diversity in this area. Here you will find lots of different fish, crustaceans, turtles, corals, sponges and smaller shark species... like Dark shyshark and Pyjama shark.

HMS Birkenhead

Early in the morning of 26 February 1852, the troopship HMS Birkenhead struck a submerged rock off Danger Point. The men were ordered to line up on deck and bravely watched as all the women and children were rowed to safety. The maritime tradition of 'women and children first' took the life of many soldiers, and 445 of the 638 passengers died by drowning or shark attacks.

It is believed that the ship carried gold to pay the army, but several attempts to find and recover the treasure have failed. Strong currents and swells make this a dive for the experienced only, and if the weather conditions allow us we can guarantee an exciting dive on this fascinating wreck.

Southern Right Whale

Southern Right whales

Each year Southern Right whales migrate from the cold waters around Antarctica to the coastal waters of the Western Cape. Here they calve and nurse their young, offering unsurpassed whale watching opportunities between June and December.

The Southern Right whale was almost hunted to extinction, but has been protected since 1937. Today it is classified as vulnerable with an estimated population of 3,000 to 4,000 individuals. One evening during the trip, we will join a whale watching safari looking for these amazing animals that can reach 18 metres and 80 tonnes in weight.

Local hospitality and private chef

Hotels and restaurants don't always give the true feeling of the local life and culture. On this trip we will be accommodated in private guesthouses with our own chef. Karin and Reon will be our always-friendly hosts and help us organize all the activities both above and below water.

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TRIP DATES 2005

2 Sep - 11 Sep

COSTS & BOOKING

£2,150 (all-inclusive)

What is included?

Deposit £215

Booking
Trip specific Terms and Conditions

TRIP INFORMATION

(main page)

Itinerary
Tips, hints and what to bring

Air temp: 14-20°C
Water temp: 14-18°C
Diving depth: 5-30 metres
Visibility: 5-20 metres

Required diving experience