What with a number of locations around the globe to shark cage dive and photograph the Great white shark where does one start?
To see a Great white shark on a scuba dive is incredibly rare, and even more unlikely while snorkelling, namely as the Great white shark habitat is not typically in tropical waters and reef ecosystems where these activities occur.
Only five locations in the world have the capacity to report annual Great white shark sightings with enough consistency to have well-established shark cage diving operations.
While each location differs in weather, operations, seasonality, and sightings, every location leaves visitors in awe of the gracefulness and majesty of the ocean’s apex predator.
The best location for Great White Shark Cage Diving is South Africa. A total of 15 operators run out of four bays around the country: Bird Island, Mossel Bay, Gansbaai, and False Bay. All four locations offer surface cage diving with sharks with no prior experience necessary, although underwater visibility varies greatly depending on the bay and the season. False Bay and Gansbaai can get up to 10meter visibility, while Mossel Bay is typically in the 5-10m range.
The first shark cage diving location in South Africa is Mossel Bay which boasts the shortest commute of about 10 minutes to the Island, depending on the season. Cage diving with sharks trips run all year round and great white sharks ranging from 2-5.meter can be spotted. Predation and breaching activity is possible, but most guests will experience surface activity and excellent shark cage diving.
Gansbaai is the Great white shark capital of the world with 9 operators taking visitors to cage dive each day. Permits issued in this area allow Gansbaai shark cage diving expeditions to operate year round. The success rate is excellent at 70%. The only downside perhaps is the experience is commercial with large groups of visitors being catered for.
Seal Island in False Bay has a unique combination of factors that make it unlike any other location in the world. To start, Seal Island is home to one of the largest colony of Cape Fur seals in the world at around 65,000 individuals, second only to the colony in Kleinzee, Namibia. Operating out of Simon’s Town, the island is only a 25 minute ride away with frequent stops to observe dolphins, whales, or other marine life activity.
Shark Cage Diving in Port Elizabeth provides guests with the exhilaration of viewing one of nature’s most respected apex predator, the Great white Shark, in a truly picturesque and remote area where few people have ever ventured. Departing Nelson Mandela Bay, the aim of this tour is to unlock the far reaches of Algoa Bay and offer more than a shark cage diving tour by showcasing the biodiversity of this remote Island group.
South Africa’s shark cage diving season typically runs from February to mid-September. In the first several months, the Great white sharks are typically scavenging on the sick and dead seal pups around Seal Island. The sharks are interested in coming up to the boat and this makes for excellent Great White Shark cage diving. They are not normally in full hunting mode and scavenging is the most common feeding event seen. You’re less likely to see the breaching behaviour at the start of the season, but a close up sighting of a Great White shark will not leave you disappointed.
From mid-May to mid-June natural predation events (sharks hunting seals) will not have peaked yet, but there is still some chance to see a breach. An increasing number of sharks will frequent Seal Island so sightings around the boat and cage diving can be excellent.
As mid-June approaches, historically the frequency of natural predation events increases and the chance to see a breach is high. The number of sharks sighted around the boat will increase, making mid-June to mid-July a great time to see all round behaviour including natural predation, breaching and sharks around the boat for close up viewing and cage diving with sharks.
Throw in the dolphins, whales, and seabird populations of False Bay and you create a marine ecosystem with an incredible amount of activity unlike anywhere else in the world.
Wherever you decide to go, the majesty of seeing a Great white shark will not disappoint!