Great white shark diving at Seal Island in Mossel Bay is the perfect shark diving stop if you are exploring the famous Garden Route.
Mossel Bay has its own Seal Island and this one is home to 3000 cape fur seals. It is much smaller than its namesake in False Bay and is 200m long x 50 m wide. As such the seals are jam packed on almost every inch of rock. With the hundreds of cape cormorants that accompany the seals in calling Seal Island home, it is a fantastic wildlife experience to view the colony close up.
However, it is great white sharks that most people are wanting to catch a glimpse of. Great white shark cage diving in Mossel Bay is very popular. You can also do cage diving in Gansbaai, Hermanus and Simon’s Town.
The shark diving site here is unique due the fact of how close the Island is located to shore. A mere 800 meters is all it is. You can literally be sitting on the boat looking at sharks and at the same time be looking at people enjoying a quiet lunch on a balcony of the one of the many high-rise apartments that are strung along the shoreline.
Between 1990 and 1994 the first research exploration trips were conducted here by the White Shark Research Institute (WSRI)in order to gather population information on Great white sharks. And in 2003 the first commercial shark diving company was established by Jimmy Eksteen. Although under new ownership today, White Shark Africa remains the sole permit holder for shark diving in this area.
This area is restricted to one commercial shark diving permit due to its small working area so it is a great advantage to be the only boat looking for sharks. Of course, this means there is only one boat of interest for a curious shark to investigate.
What to expect
The great white sharks that frequent the Mossel Bay area seem to be made up mostly of animals representing the juvenile portion of the population. Although they are smaller than other great whites that can be seen along the coast, they are usually highly interactive around the boat and seem to be rather enthusiastic when it comes to inspecting the baits used for attractants.
This high-energy-wielding shark usually leads to a very exciting Mossel Bay shark cage diving experience.
The sharks do move around the bay on a seasonal basis. During the months of March to October most activity is around the seal colony. Upon the arrival of spring and summer, many of the great whites will move to feed on smaller shark species, such as smoothhound sharks, and migratory fish that can be found along the inshore areas.
The permit conditions allow for shark diving both at the Seal Colony and the inshore area, so shark diving is possible all year round.
South Africa is home to some of the most treacherous seas in the world. Mossel Bay however is said to have one of the mildest climates on the planet. Added to this Seal Island is located very deep in a protected bay and as such is protected from most big swells. It also enjoys a pleasant lee from the prevailing winds.
Seal Island is a short 10-minute ride from the harbour, so coupled with fair weather, shark diving in Mossel Bay is certainly one of the easiest opportunities in the world to dive with sharks. You can also expect shark sightings in Simon’s Town or go cage diving in Hermanus.