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Where to Find the Great White Shark in South Africa

Shark Diving Editor | December 1, 2017

The Great White Shark is a species of large mackerel shark which can be found in the coastal surface waters of all the major oceans. The Great White shark is one of the world’s largest known extant macro predatory fish. It is one of the top predators of marine mammals. It is also known to prey upon a variety of other marine animals, including fish and seabirds. Great white sharks are found in almost all coastal and offshore waters in all major oceans, especially those bodies of water surrounding South Africa and Australia which have water temperatures between 12 and 24 degrees Celsius.

Gansbaai

Gansbaai is being named the Great White Capital of the world because it has one of the densest known populations of Great White Sharks. It is best-known for its prime shark researching, viewing and cage diving opportunities. Gansbaai’s economy still revolves around its fishing industry, but an increasingly large part of it now comes from tourism. The main tourist attraction in Gansbaai is cage diving with great white sharks. Great White Shark cage diving trips are offered throughout the year.

The waters off of Dyer Island in Gansbaai are known for their exceptional Great White Shark populations. Dyer Island is situated five nautical miles off the coast of Gansbaai and is arguably one of the best places in the world to get up close with the Great White Sharks. It is named after Samson Dyer, an immigrant from the USA to the Cape Colony in 1806, who lived on the island collecting guano, which he sold to mainlanders as fertilizer.

Running between Dyer Island and neighboring Geyser Rock is the Shark Alley. The Shark Alley is the most highly populated area in the world for Great White sharks, who hunt from the colony of approximately 40,000 Cape Fur Seals inhabiting at Geyser Rock. Shark Alley has been the subject of numerous documentaries, including National Geographic, and makes it the most popular spot for cage diving and breaching. It is also considered one of the best places on earth to study great white shark behavior.

great white shark in cape town

False Bay

False Bay is a great place for viewing great white sharks. It is just around the corner from the Cape Town city center. A large colony of Cape Fur Seals is found in False Bay making it a favorite hunting ground for the great white sharks. Tourists can get to experience the majestic great white shark up close during a cage dive or watch in awe as these powerful creatures propel themselves into the air while on the hunt for seals. It is best to book shark cage diving trips in False Bay during February to September because False Bay is out of season from October to January.

Great White Shark is attracted to the False Bay region as a result of two oceanic currents, the warm Agulhas Current, and the cold Benguela Current, creating a temperate zone just off the South African coast which provides ideal conditions for the Great White Shark in particular.

shark breaching

Simon’s Town

Simon’s Town is a quick 45-minute hop around the peninsula from Cape Town‘s city center. It is a beautiful seaside town on the opposite side of the Cape Peninsula. This town features the country’s naval headquarters. There are a number of companies in Simon’s Town which offer various tours, including opportunities to see and dive with great whites, blue and mako sharks, and broad nose sevengill sharks. It is also the base for many shark dive operations to Seal Island. Seal Island lies just off the coast of Simon’s Town and is home to thousands of Cape Fur Seals. These seals attract predators like the Great White Shark and the Mako Shark making it a popular destination for shark cage diving operators. The unique Great White Shark Breaching takes place on this island.

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