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“We were all left with a sense of disappointment.” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Shark Diving Unlimited

Shark Diving Unlimited
1 Swart Street, Gansbaai 7220, South Africa
+27 (0) 82 441 4555
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Ranked #10 of 19 Activities in Gansbaai
Type: Tours, Adventure
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Owner description: Shark Diving Unlimited specialises in conservation and education initiatives of all shark species around our coastline Owned by Michael Rutzen who has been working with great white sharks since 1994. Four years later Mike began freediving with great white sharks and is now known worldwide as one of the few people who is able to interact with these magnificent predators outside the safety of the cage!Breathtaking images of Mike have been featured in numerous magazines and documentaries including BEYOND FEAR (National Geographic) and SHARKMAN (Discovery). Mike’s aim is to portray positive images of great white sharks in order to dispel the ‘JAWS’ myth.Mike is a PADI Instructor and the only person in the world qualified to teach the prestigious Great White Shark Distinctive Specialty PADI course. He is a qualified skipper, First Aid instructor, qualified rebreather, nitrox and commercial diver. Your skipper Frank Rutzen has spent his life on the ocean from Kwa-Zulu Natal to the Western Cape. He has worked in the great white shark cage diving industry since 1995 and has a passion for wildlife and an extensive knowledge of the Dyer Island marine ecosystem.Nsunda is a qualified South African tour guide and qualified scuba diver. He will help you with all your diving equipment needs and make sure that your day runs smoothly!Shark Diving Unlimited was the company of choice for HRH Prince Harry, His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein, Leonardo Di Caprio and Brad Pitt.
Sharjah, UAE
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“We were all left with a sense of disappointment.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2010

Yesterday we did the Great White experience, with Shark Diving Unlimited.
Encouraged by a bucket of diluted offal, it didn’t take long for a 2.5m shark to be around the boat, and attacking a large tuna head being thrown around on the end of a rope. Even half grown the shark provided an impressive sight, and the first seven divers dropped to the bottom of the cage for as long as they could hold breath. From the deck there was a good view of the fish, while Ron, St.John and I waited our turn. We climbed into the chill water, and were shouted at to go down almost immediately. The viz was good, and we had a clear sighting of the fish, some 3m away. Came up, and waited for its return. The next sighting was better, the shark swimming alongside the cage, but my camera had steamed up in the very cold water!
Then out of the cage for the rotation of groups. I dried out the camera housing climbed onto the upper deck for a different view of the shark. Everyone got a second set of underwater sightings except our last group – the beast seemingly bored by our game, so no chance of better underwater video than the first wide pass.
Plusses:
1. We had seen a Great White in its natural habitat.
2. The operation was efficiently run, dry towels, soft drinks and sandwiches made available.
Minuses:
1. Little or no information on the sharks themselves as part of the briefing.
2. Too little time in the water – the crew obviously anxious to get back for the next batch of pax.
3. Cost excessive for the short experience (R1,350 each),
Conclusion:
We were all left with a sense of disappointment.
We had chosen Mike Rutzen’s Shark Diving Unlimited, because we believed it to be the most conservation orientated of the numerous White Shark commercial experiences on offer. Nothing we saw gave indication of this – they are just another commercial operation.
Peter Jackson 28.12.10

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Cardiff, United Kingdom
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“A 'Must Do' experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2010

If you are visiting anywhere in South Africa you simply must take a trip out with the guys from 'Shark Diving Unlimited'. Whether you decided to take the plunge into the cage or stay aboard and watch all the action taking place, you will always feel safe in their expert hands. I have never enjoyed myself so much in my life. Thanks a million for the experience and I hope to get back soon for another dip with the fishies !!!

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Kata Beach, Thailand
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3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Don't miss this it's awesome.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2010

Very professional, found the sharks quickly, and let us stay in the water until we were frozen. It's so great seeing the Great White Shark you don't think about the 13 degree water. They provided a 7mm wetsuit and everything need to get in the water. The food was great and the coffee and scones back at the shop we to die for.

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Minneapolis, Minnesota
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Absolutley Amazing Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2010

If you're looking to go Shark Diving while in South Africa you've probably found that there are an abundance of organizations out there. We ultimatley chose Shark Diving Unlimited because of their credibility with organizations such as National Geographic. We drove to their location so can't speak to the transportation portion, but upon arrival we were warmly greeted and given a full English breakfast. They thoroughly explained what would happen for the day and videotaped the entire experience. All of the staff were friendly and constantly talking with the visitors, asking questions and telling stories. On (in) the water I was terrified but again, everyone was friendly and helpful, walking us through the process and helping us to fullfill whatever our purpose was for the trip (getting great pictures, being in the water, etc.) When we got back to dry land we were given a hearty lunch and the opportunity to watch the video of our trip - definetly worth the buy! Their wall is covered with group shots of Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon which was fun to see and surprisingly comforting. Shark Cage Diving is a must if you're in the Cape Town area!

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Norwich, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
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26 attraction reviews
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“Great things come in small packages - tiny town, very large sharks!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2010

Gansbaai is a really tiny town next to the even smaller village of De Kelders about 45 minute drive from Hermanus. Hermanus is the place where everyone thinks the shark diving is, but in actual fact most of the comapnies drive you out to Gansbaai.

We were on the Garden Route, so we stayed over in De Kelders village the night before - it has little or no amenities so we ate in Gansbaai. Just to clarify, there is a choice of about 3 restaurants only in this small town, two looked a bit basic, but Thyme with Rosemary serves a range of delicious dishes, including some beautiful traditional South African meals, and does great coffee and cake also during the day!

We went shark diving in Gansbaai with Shark Diving Unlimited - they are one of two companies recommended in the Lonely Planet and having looked them and the other one mentioned up online, both cost the same amount R1350 and both trips lasted the same amount of time, but we decided to go with Michael Rutzen's Shark Diving Unlimited because they left at 6.30am in the morning and the other company didn't leave until 9.30am. We had other things we wanted to do that day and I was a bit apprehensive so we thought we'd get on with it.

We were visiting in February, so the visibility is apparently not what it is in summer, however we still saw loads and loads of great white sharks.

At 6.30am we met up at their base which is right next to the harbour - the place was really quiet with no-one about. There were about 12 people booked on our tour, we all enjoyed breakfast and a briefing before we launched by about 10 to 7 in the morning. I do get seasick, so I was a bit worried, but having taken two seasick pills, I just hung on and it didn't seem very long before we were at the spot near the island.

Those who want to got changed into wetsuits - there were a smidge damp but they got a lot wetter and they started to hurl the chum in the sea - this was the bit that actually made me feel most ropey as it does really stink.

On our boat, there were two groups of 6 people who took turns to get in the cage, we got two turns each in the cage and saw more than plenty sharks during that time. Our shark spotters were very skilled and the cage was supervised at all times by a really lovely chap who made sure none of us were doing anything stupid.

We had an incredible few hours - the company provided sandwiches,crisps and drinks to eat on the boat, but we were all far too excited to worry about eating.

Both groups had a great shark experience and saw several beautiful, frightening creatures well before any other boats turned up. In fact, we were packed up and ready tohead back before our viewing area was disturbed by another huge boat that was packed with people showed up.

Towels were provided onthe boat, so you could get dry and changed there, or back at their base, people could have a shower and get changed their - hot soup, rolls, scones and cake with hot drinsk were on ofer while we watched the little film that they'd made of us out there.

This is the company that Brad Pitt and Matt Damon use when they go out, - the photos in the office of them with the administration ladies are so sweet - and also the company that the BBC use to make films, so they really do know what they are doing - we had a great morning.

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