Shark cage diving is a popular tourist activity around the world. One of the reasons is that it’s an illusion of extreme danger without actually placing you in any danger at all. It provides one heck of an adrenalin rush within the safety and security of a metal cage.
There are many highly recommended shark cage diving spots around the world, such as the Bahamas, Great Barrier Reef, Australia, Cocos Island, Costa Rica, and Shark Alley around Gansbaai, South Africa.
Gansbaai is a lovely little town in the West Coast province of South Africa. It’s only about two hours away from Cape Town and is one of the favorite attractions for holiday-makers from the area. Of course, there is also lots to see and do in Cape Town, but nothing compares to diving with sharks! It is considered the shark cage diving destination in Southern Africa.
Shark cage diving is starting to play a major role in South Africa’s tourism industry. In fact, according to Wikipedia, the only activity to draw more tourists to the country is a safari in Kruger National Park.
There are many diving operators that take tourists out to shark alley to get their thrills. Most of them offer more than a trip in a boat and the chance to get up close and personal with one of the greatest and oldest predators in the world. For example, many operators include breakfast in their morning tours and lunch in the afternoons. Some also include drinks and snacks while on the boat. All equipment, including wetsuits, is also included in the tours.
Many of the operators are also involved in eco-projects, such as conservation and education campaigns, so you can be sure of their ethical practices.
As partial as you are to continental breakfasts and onboard snacks, the most important consideration when it comes to choosing a diving company is its safety record. Many operators boast unblemished safety records, but it’s always worth checking the validity of these claims.
Getting To Gansbaai
Gansbaai is an easy 2-hour drive from Cape Town and makes for a great day trip. You can also do it as a part of a Garden Route tour, which as well all know is chock full of stunning places to visit.
For example, you could drive all the way along from Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay, or you can just take in some of the stops like Knysna or Wilderness National Park. The choice is yours!
If you do decide just to go for the day, tour companies will also drive you there and take you back, providing refreshments and food for the day.
Activities Around Gansbaai
Perfect safety records notwithstanding, shark cage diving is not everyone’s cup of tea. Fortunately, there are many, many more things to do in Gansbaai.
- Whale watching: Between July and November (sometimes even up to December), Gansbaai offers amazing whale watching opportunities. You can stand on the shore and watch the magnificent creatures breach and frolic or you can rent a boat and get really close to the mammoth mammals.
- Horse riding: There are horse riding tours for riders of all levels. You can choose to trot gently along the pristine beach, or you can go on a slightly more challenging trek in the mountains.
- Hiking: Speaking of mountains, there are plenty of hiking trails in the mountains around Gansbaai, as well as trails in indigenous forests.
- Strandveld Museum: See an assortment of treasures documenting the town’s origins as a fishing village (and danger to ships) in a house that dates back to the 1860s.
- Dangerpoint Lighthouse: It was only built in 1895, after many horrific shipwrecks (an unfortunately common event along the dangerous south-western coast). It’s an hour away from Gansbaai, but the beautiful drive and views from the lighthouse (especially views of sharks and whales) are more than worth it.
- Eat to your heart’s content: There are many restaurants and coffee shops where you can eat local delicacies (fresh fish, of course) and just sit back and relax while you admire the view.
And these are just a few examples of the many activities that will keep you occupied on your visit.
So, why not take a day or two out of your Cape Town holiday and devote it to exploring the wonderful nature and shark cage diving at Gansbaai. What could be better for extreme sportsmen and armchair adventurers?
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Sandy Cosser lives in Cape Town, South Africa and likes nothing more than exploring the city’s treasures – the popular, like shark cage diving destinations, and the hidden, like hiking on Boyes Drive.