Under Water or On Land - Safari's to suit everyone!
Private tailor-made diving trips and wildlife safaris in southern Africa
Our list of adventures include: Shark cage diving: Submerge yourself in a steel cage and get eye to eye with the biggest predatory fish on earth. No diving experience needed to participate in this thrilling adventure. White shark awareness specialty course: Learn why the white shark is so much more than just big teeth and a fearsome reputation. Predator’s feast: Sardine runs (June/July) The annual migration of sardines is, without doubt, one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on Earth. Three-day safari including white shark cage diving: For those in a hurry: Experience safari on land and at sea. Big 5 game and white shark (cage diving) in three active days. Fish River Canyon: Five-day hike in Namibia walking through World’s second largest canyon after the Grand Canyon. A mighty nature experience with spectacular wildlife. Swimming with tiger sharks: Often referred to as the trash bin of the sea, because of its varied diet, this species is a delight to dive with. Flying white sharks: There are very few places in the world where you can find such phenomenal opportunities to regularly spot the white shark breaching into the air. Two-week course & safari South Africa: Indulge in shark diving for two weeks while learning more about sharks than you ever imagined.
There is no refund if you do not see sharks. The chance that you will not see any is very low.
If you are prone to sea/motion sickness be sure to bring some medication with you.
It is recommended that you sort out your own travel and accident insurance before arriving in South Africa.
The length of the adventures varies, anything from a few hours to a couple of weeks.
All participants are to respect that, whether on land or in the sea, these are wild animals and we need to be aware of their boundaries and that they can be dangerous. Listen to your instructor.
All packages are set out accordingly, depending on the duration of the expedition and equipment needed etc.
The dress code is casual. Pack clothes that are comfortable and well suited to the activities you have chosen and climate specific to your trip. Prior to your trip, we will provide you with some guidelines. If you do not have all of the gear needed, you may hire/rent it.
Make sure you book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
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Great white shark cage diving:
Best viewed from the inside of a protective cage, the great white shark can be experienced close-up even by non-divers on a day trip at sea. This will be the absolute highlight of your adventurous trip to South Africa.
This wide-ranging shark is indeed one of the most powerful predators on earth. It is intelligent and inquisitive with a remarkably complex social behavior, something we learn on our educational boat trip. We provide an incredible encounter with the white shark, which is wrapped in an inclusive package to make it a guaranteed memorable safari experience.
Depending on the season, weather forecasts and great white shark sighting reports the location of optimal cage diving will vary. False Bay near Cape Town and Dyer Island near Gaans Bay, are both renowned for their large population of great white sharks, thereby presenting you with the greatest chances of successful great white shark cage diving available.
All great white shark cage diving follow strict ethical standards and has a very strong focus on conservation.
Whether you decide to partake in our White Shark Awareness Distinctive Specialty Diver course or just want to join us for a day of viewing, we promise you an extraordinary experience.
Depending on where you will be staying during your holiday in the Cape Town area, we can arrange to collect you early in the morning and the transfer to the harbor where the shark cage boat is launched from*. Breakfast is provided while the briefing and lecture on great white sharks take place. We will then don lifejackets and foul-weather gear. Then a short boat ride takes us to the island where we throw anchor and deploy the spacious shark cage into the water.
Note: the shark cage is tethered to the boat and as such no diving skills are required to view the sharks. All dive gear needed for the experience is provided and there is plenty of time for everyone to spend some exciting moments in the large shark cage when the curious great white sharks arrive. If you choose not to get into the shark cage your great white shark viewing experience will still be fantastic as you will see just as much from the boat without getting wet.
A marine biologist on board ensures your day at sea is as informative as it is exciting and unforgettable.
Optionally you might also wish to purchase the DVD that our professional underwater videographer records of your great white shark cage diving experience.
There is no age restriction applicable to take part in the shark viewing experience except for the shark cage dive itself where the age limit is 12.
Skilled staff on board the boat does its best to attract the great white sharks by means of creating a small spoor of blood on the surface or a decoy. At no stage are the sharks being fed.
The vessels used take from 8 to 40 people and have a toilet on board. The larger boat even has an upper deck which provides a great vantage point for viewing the great white sharks as they approach the boat. All boats and skippers conform to strict safety rules set by the South African Maritime Safety Authority.
What to bring with you:
Sunscreen Warm clothes and windbreaker Camera Swimwear Seasickness tablets if you are prone to motion sickness a hat or cap Sunglasses.
The White Shark Awareness Specialty Course
One of the most respected creatures on Earth, this is the essential super shark in both complexity and reputation yet, as you will learn, it has astonishingly interesting social structures and intra specific behavioral characteristics.
The Western Cape provides an ideal setting for frequent encounters and opportunities to study the great white shark, drawing international researchers, documentary film crews, and avid shark divers to learn more about the largest predatory fish on the planet. Being the social animal that it is, we directly observe the predatory behavior of the great white shark around the renowned Seal Island. This is followed by in-water sessions learning about its prey, the Cape fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus), and also a number of cage dives to get a close-up acquaintance with the shark.
In this course, led by a marine scientist specializing in sharks, we separate fact from fiction and assemble the latest findings in white shark research. The lectures are peppered with fascinating information in addition to great white shark trivia that you guaranteed didn’t already know. Upon successfully completing a minimum of three intense days of studying white shark biology you will be awarded the not too common White Shark Awareness Diver Distinctive Specialty certification, issued by PADI.
Itinerary / Description
The goals of the White Shark Awareness Diver Distinctive Specialty Course are:
* To increase knowledge of the great white shark, its conservation status, ecology and distribution, population biology, behavior, and to dispel public misconceptions about the species by analysing factual information.
* To make you able to plan and attend organized diving with white sharks in a safe and environmentally sensible manner.
* To have you appreciate the white shark as an ecologically important species and introduce means with which you can get involved in research and conservation efforts.
The White Shark Specialty course consists of knowledge development sessions, an excursion to study white shark predation at Seal Island, a minimum of one scuba dive and shark cage diving to get real close to the species.
The following is a typical schedule for the course but depending on weather and logistics the itinerary may vary:
• Day 1: Check-in at the hotel followed by registration and first lecture.
• Day 2: Early start for the morning excursion to Seal Island where we study the white sharks’ predatory behavior on Cape fur seals followed by a dive at a seal colony.
• Day 3: We try getting a closer look at the white sharks from the safety of a cage. Lecture on the white shark in the afternoon.
• Day 4: Last day of field work and diving. Thereafter certification and transfer back to Cape Town.
Sardine Run South Africa
The spectacular migration of sardines (Sardinops ocellatus) occurs annually during the cooler months of June and July off the eastern coast of South Africa. Seemingly endless number of sardine move in concentrated shoals, attracting hordes of opportunistic marine predators. Sharks, dolphins, and gannets feast on the sardines to the delight of visiting divers who come to the Wild Coast the two months that the spectacle lasts. It is a feeding frenzy of note, the gannets plummeting from the sky, dive-bombing the surface of the water in pursuit of sardine. For the diver closely following the shoal and positioned close to the sardines, the sound of the birds hitting the surface often resembles the sound of gunshots, followed by spiraling tracks of swimming gannets crisscrossing the dense bait balls for a pick of the lot. The ever-present dolphins, ostensibly unaffected by the company of divers trying to shoot their best photos of the activity, skilfully snap sardines out of the bait balls with supreme effort. Lurking beneath and at the outskirts of the bait balls are sharks, principally the copper shark (Carcharhinus brachyurus) which have come to the area from far north to take part in the feast. Like the dolphins, yet not nearly as coordinated, they shoot into the gorge on the sardines, impervious by scuba divers, sometimes even accidentally bumping into us during the heat of the moment. As divers, we are merely spectators, which makes this grand natural phenomenon so appealing, and the opportunities of great footage abound for the trigger happy person.
We travel to the Wild Coast, a rural part of South Africa with striking scenery and many environmental gems. For scuba divers, a 10-day sardine run expedition will offer the best possibility of success as this length of time will allow for bad weather scenarios and variable degrees of marine activity.
Accommodation is typically in comfortable three-star hotel/lodge and we use large rigid inflatable boats, launched in the morning, to take us out to the center of feeding activities at sea.
June/ July are cooler months on the Wild Coast and wet weather is possible (though not always the case).
• Temperatures (Air) : 59 – 75 F/ 15 – 24 C
• Temperatures (Water) : 59 – 70 F/ 15 – 21 C
Prerequisites: This is a dive trip for the more experienced diver as we operate in the open sea and sometimes under far less than flat sea conditions. Conditions will vary from glass-like seas to flying through giant plunge waves in pumping winds – very exciting and sometimes strenuous.
• Water visibility varies from 2 – 20m/ 6 ft. – 60ft.
The dives are quite shallow and often best-done snorkeling. The lifetime of a bait ball can be quite short, so swift entry and exit are essential for successfully getting the most out of the action when our boat zip from one bait ball to the next.
Fish River Canyon
The deep inclines and roughly hewn rock faces of the mighty Fish River Canyon are second in size only to the Grand Canyon in North America. The canyon is just over 160 km long, and in parts, it is 600 m deep and 27 km wide, but its grandeur lies more in the spectacle it presents rather than in the geological records and data that make up this natural phenomenon. Eroded by the flow of the Fish River -which flows some 800 km before it meets the Orange River -these remarkable rock surfaces boast a network of paths and trails carved into the rock and sand by countless footprints. The last 160 km of the river’s fierce and often breath-taking course winds through the deep canyon that forms the backdrop to Namibia’s most challenging hiking trail. For the first 65 km of its course, the gorge of the Fish River Canyon is in effect, a canyon within a canyon, making for some remarkable hiking. In places, the canyon floor is more than 500 m below the level of the plateau. Fortunately, it is a relatively gentle world of placid pools and mighty boulders are strewn across beds of sand, with little evidence of life. Such isolation presents numerous dangers, but as long as travelers use their common sense and take no chances there should be little to worry about. Your only concern should be the seemingly endless and undulating path that lies ahead.
Itinerary / Description
For this particular expedition arranged by SharkSafaris.co.za we give the sharks a break, don the backpack and hiking boots, and go inland to explore something very different -one of Africa’s absolute iconic hiking trails. In five days we cover about 80 km and remain self-sufficient for the entire hike, carrying everything we need on our backs.
We depart Cape Town on the 5th of August, heading north on a road trip and spend one night in Springbok. The next morning we cross the border to Namibia and travel on to Hobas where we camp one night before starting the descent into the canyon the next morning. The following five days we walk until we reach Ai-Ais.
This particular trail is booked up to a year in advance and a maximum number of people are allowed into the canyon per day, why this is a great opportunity to join our trip which is already planned for months and details sorted out already.
No facilities are provided on the trail and although sleeping in the open a tent is not necessary.
Day-time temperatures are generally pleasant, typically fluctuating between 20 and 25 Celsius. The temperature, combined with the dry air, creates ideal backpacking conditions. Mid-day temperatures of up to 40 Celsius are not uncommon. Evenings are usually mild, although temperatures of 5 Celsius and lower do occur.
On account of the rugged terrain, it is essential for the hiker to be the reasonable fit. A medical certificate for each participant must be completed before the hike and handed in at the starting point.
Please note that this hike is undertaken at your own risk. Should problems arise, there are two exits along the canyon, although while on the trail we really are on our own.
Diving With Tiger Sharks
Galeocerdo cuvier, large in size and with a voracious appetite makes a formidable predator in the ocean, instilling respect in anyone encountering the tiger shark, and it astonishes researchers acquiring an improved understanding of the species. While its ill-repute typically used to surpass the facts of its true nature, swimming freely with the tiger shark at Aliwal Shoal in South Africa is a pleasant and exciting, guaranteed thrilling, yet above all a fascinating experience of its own kind. Considered by some to be the ultimate opportunist, the tiger shark displays an impressive variation in diet and there is possibly very little that the species will not eat, judging by the many odd items retrieved from stomachs of tiger sharks.
Over a minimum of three days, we learn about the tiger shark from an avid biologist specializing in sharks. We get down to the scientific facts and findings from research carried out on the species over the last decades while enjoying a personal acquaintance with one the largest predators found in the ocean.
Itinerary / Description of Tiger Shark Course
• Day 1: Arrive in Durban (South Africa)
A representative will meet you at Durban International Airport. Transfer to Umkomaas and settle in at a four-star guest house (B&B, pool, bar). Academic session in the evening with a lecture on general shark diving techniques, introduction to tiger shark biology and other relevant species often encountered in this area.
• Day 2: Diving with the tiger shark
We meet at the center in the morning, receive a briefing about the dive and launch the boat from Rocky Bay. About four nautical miles out to sea lies Aliwal Shoals, a marine protected area, where we do a surface drift dive, either free diving or on scuba. In the afternoon we return to shore and debrief the dive, shower and go back to Umkomaas and the guest house. Another evening lecture on the tiger sharks and other shark species we encountered on our dive. In this session we go deeper into the subject on tiger shark biology, focusing specifically on behavior, shark research, and conservation issues. A tasty dinner completes the day.
• Day 3: Diving with the tiger shark
Our appetite strongly wetted from yesterday’s diving, we return to Aliwal Shoal for another exciting drift dive with the sharks. Same modus operandi as the previous day with regards to time and place, but no two dives with the tiger sharks is ever the same. In addition to the tiger shark, keep your eyes open for the other shark species on this dive.
• Temperature: 18 – 28 degrees Celsius. 5 mm wetsuit is recommended (also available to rent).
• Water visibility varies from 5 m (15ft) to 30 m (100 ft.) with an average of 15 m (50ft).
• The dive is a drift dive with a typical maximum depth of 10 m (30 ft.).
• Seasonality: While the species is present most of the year the best time to view is from December to June.
Breaching Great White Sharks in False Bay, South Africa
Rarely seen elsewhere in the world, the behavior of white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) breaching out of the water in pursuit of their prey, the Cape fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus), is an impressive sight. It is a show that each year draws a large number of people from around the world to False Bay and Seal Island. The white sharks are most abundant around Seal Island during the cooler months when they prey on the young of the year Cape fur seals. The population of seals at the island is at times some 64 000 strong. As the seals leave early in the morning for the fishing grounds miles away offshore the white sharks are present to hunt them when they enter the water. The shark population within False Bay consists of the highest ratio of large white sharks of the areas studied in South Africa. So much so that it is a favored destination for viewing the predatory behavior and social interactions of white sharks and the seals.
This is a day trip where we launch in the morning while it is still dark in order to get to the site in time for the action. A short ride by boat takes us to Seal Island and there we wait for the light to arrive and the predation to start.
If you have your camera ready and remain very alert, you might just be lucky enough to get that fantastic shot of the shark as it launches itself out of the ocean and into the air. In any case, it is a live theatre of natural wonder being performed in front of us as the seals are being ambushed by sharks. Small groups on the boat provide an unobstructed view of the spectacle and snacks and refreshments are provided onboard.
Another species often encountered on this particular marine excursion during the cooler months and spring is the southern right whale (Eubalena australis) as well as a variety of seabirds.
For this trip, it is strongly recommended that you dress warm and bring waterproof clothing (rain/wind jacket and beanie), and if you are prone to seasickness you might also want to take precautions.