Fun facts about the town and the sharks you could meet
Gansbaai is one of the best regions in the Western Cape for shark cage diving. Not only is it a scenic little fishing town, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, it’s also conservationally significant. As home to places such as the Klipgat Cave in the Walker Bay Marine Reserve and historical khoi sites, it carefully preserves some of South Africa’s most important stories. Incidentally it is also home to one of South Africa’s most famous shipwrecks, the British troop ship the HMS Birkenhead.
Along the coast, you’ll find an array of fishing cottages – and accommodation such as The Roundhouse – which serve as the starting point for your oceanic adventure. And you won’t be alone. Since approximately 1995, shark cage diving has become one of the main ecotourism activities in the area, supporting local conservation and educational efforts, as well as development. After the Kruger National Park, it is estimated to be the second largest tourism draw in South Africa, within the realm of conservation.
5 nautical miles from Gansbaai’s coast, lies Dyer Island, home to one of the largest Great White shark populations in the world. It would take you approximately 15 minutes to reach the island, from the coast, by boat.
The Majestic Great White
Sharks are very good at being aloof and mysterious. As much as we’d like to know more about them, their proverbial wanderlust and elusive ways have kept biologists from understanding them as well as they’d like to. However, extensive tagging, research and monitoring, as well as impact assessments on other parts of their ecological environment have taught us some things about sharks. These are facts which are generally accepted by the broader scientific community.
- Great Whites can reach speeds of up to 65km/h (40+ miles) and are known to cut their way through the water’s surface with ease. They sometimes jump three meters from the water’s surface when hunting specific prey, such as seals – however, these breaches are rarely sighted.
- The collective noun for sharks is either shiver, school, or shoal.
- Despite popular belief and a bad reputation in the media, humans aren’t very appealing as a food source for sharks. Sharks are quite careful predators and it could be argued that humans are generally more dangerous to sharks than the other way around.
- Great Whites are found mostly along the coasts of South Africa and Australia.
- Sharks have unique fins which can be used to identify them to some extent. While they are not as effective as fingerprints are for humans, they still serve as useful markers.
Sharks are tough, strong and formidable predators, uniquely fashioned to play their role in the marine ecosystem but they are not the monsters many humans have made them out to be. Support conservation and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience when you book a shark cage diving in Gansbaai experience.