Is Shark Cage Diving Safe in South Africa?

Shark in deep sea

South Africa is a prime destination for shark enthusiasts, boasting some of the highest concentrations of great white sharks in the world. Shark cage diving as a type of Safari has become an increasingly popular activity for thrill-seekers and marine wildlife lovers alike. But how safe is this adrenaline-pumping activity?

In this blog post, we will explore the safety aspects of shark cage diving in South Africa and provide tips for a safe and unforgettable experience.

Understanding Shark Behavior

shark cage diving
Photo by David Clode

Before diving into the safety of shark cage diving, it’s essential to understand shark behavior. Great white sharks are not the mindless man-eaters often portrayed in pop culture. In reality, they are curious and intelligent apex predators that play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of their marine ecosystems.

Shark cage diving operators in South Africa typically use chumming, a method of attracting sharks by releasing a mix of fish oils and other organic matter into the water. While this practice may alter the sharks’ natural behavior temporarily, reputable operators adhere to strict guidelines to minimize the impact on the animals and their environment.

Safety Measures and Regulations

Shark cage diving in South Africa is highly regulated, with operators required to obtain permits from the Department of Environmental Affairs. These permits ensure that operators adhere to specific safety standards and guidelines, including:

  1. The use of professionally constructed and inspected shark cages.
  2. Proper training and certification of dive masters and crew members.
  3. A comprehensive safety briefing for all participants before the dive.
  4. The provision of appropriate dive equipment, including wetsuits, masks, and weight belts.
  5. Strict limits on the number of participants per dive.

These regulations and safety measures have resulted in an excellent safety record for shark cage diving in South Africa. Injuries and accidents are extremely rare, making the activity relatively safe for participants who follow instructions and guidelines.

Tips for a Safe Shark Cage Diving Experience

  1. Choose a reputable operator: Do your research and select a well-established, highly-rated shark cage diving operator that prioritizes safety and adheres to environmental guidelines.
  2. Listen carefully to the pre-dive briefing: Pay close attention to the safety instructions provided by the dive master and crew, and ask questions if you are unsure about anything.
  3. Stay within the cage: Never attempt to reach out or touch the sharks, as this can provoke an aggressive response. Always keep your hands and feet inside the cage.
  4. Remain calm: While it’s natural to feel nervous or excited, remember that sharks can sense your movements and energy. Stay as calm as possible to avoid attracting undue attention.
  5. Follow instructions: Always follow the guidance of the dive master and crew, and adhere to the rules and regulations set out by the operator.

Who should we use?

Below is the list of reputable shark cage diving companies in South Africa with links to their websites. Please note that it is essential to conduct your own research and read recent reviews to make an informed decision.

  1. Marine Dynamics (Gansbaai): https://www.sharkwatchsa.com/
  2. White Shark Diving Company (Gansbaai): https://www.whitesharkdiving.co.za/
  3. Sharklady Adventures (Gansbaai): https://www.sharklady.co.za/
  4. Apex Shark Expeditions (Simon’s Town): https://www.apexpredators.com/
  5. White Shark Africa (Mossel Bay): https://www.whitesharkafrica.com/
  6. White Shark Projects (Gansbaai): https://www.whitesharkprojects.co.za/
  7. African Shark Eco-Charters (Simon’s Town): https://ultimate-animals.com/

These companies operate in prime shark locations such as Gansbaai, Simon’s Town, and Mossel Bay. They are known for their experienced staff, commitment to conservation, and adherence to safety guidelines. Before booking, it is advisable to check their websites for up-to-date information, reviews, and pricing.


Shark cage diving in South Africa is a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime experience that offers a unique opportunity to observe great white sharks up close.

While there are inherent risks involved in any adventure activity, the stringent safety measures and regulations in place make shark cage diving a relatively safe and unforgettable experience for those who respect the animals and follow the guidelines.

So, gear up and dive in to witness the majestic great white sharks in their natural habitat!

Featured image: Gerald Schömbs on Unsplash 

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