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“As incredible as I expected. and scary - but super safe”

Great White Shark Tours
Ranked #1 of 21 Tours in Gansbaai
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The owner and founder Brian McFarlane is a professional diver and skipper who has always made a living from the sea. He started diving for perlemoen (abalone) at a young age, then moved on to become a commercial fisherman for 6 years and spent another 6 years diving in search of wrecks along the southern coast of Africa. This was followed by the diving for diamonds from the sea-bed for the next 20 years.He has become a local legend with his fascinating tales about the sea and underwater experiences. During the time when Great White Shark fishing was allowed, Brian caught Great Whites, some weighing more than 1 tonne.Today, he dearly regrets this and now spends his time and efforts in finding the great beasts to be observed and photographed at close range. Brian has worked with the Great Whites for 18 years and has only had 6 non-sighting days in the last 10 years.
Somerville, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
32 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“As incredible as I expected. and scary - but super safe”
Reviewed November 4, 2012

This is for Great White Shark Tours / sharkcagediving.net
One of the reasons for coming to South Africa was to cage dive with great whites - how cool is that? So reviewed a lot of these companies and found out that there can be a lot of shadiness going on - so be careful. Went with this company as they were well rated and trusted. When we arrived in South Africa, South Africans all suggested this place too - saying we had chosen well.
We were not sure about the fact that it left a bit later than the others, but that ended up not being an issue at all. In fact, probably better for us as the shark boats all go into the same general area and start attracting sharks, which apparently tend to swim between the boats - so we arrive a little later and the other boats have started attracting the sharks already.
So we arrived and had a nice little breakfast, got a talk by the captain (who was funny), and went off on the boat. When choosing your seat, I would suggest asking the captain which side the cage will be set up on, b/c that's the better side to sit on. They start putting out the chum and attracting sharks (and seagulls - got some amazing pics) and the sharks start rolling in.
I think we saw 8 or 9 different sharks - they came in one at a time and got progressively bigger. The first group jumps in the water when the first shark arrives - it might be a good idea to wait a bit b/c that first one was tiny compared to the huge ones by the end.
Anyway, you take turns, getting into the water (wearing a wet suit, weight belt, and facemask - no scuba gear) - which is COLD - and waiting for the sharks, taking a breath and holding yourself underwater as they attack the bait right in front of you. Incredible
I don't feel like writing anymore - but it was bada55 and this was a solid company.

Visited October 2012
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1 Thank BIteyismyname
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Vancouver
Level Contributor
24 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Meeting with the Great White for the first time”
Reviewed November 2, 2012 via mobile

Shark Cage Diving was definitely at the top of our list of things to do in South Africa. After having been canceled for three days due to inclement weather, we were happy with the fact it was on. The team responded to our emails promptly and gave us a backpackers rate, which was 300R cheaper than usual. They were on time with the pick up and the drive was 2h away from cape town. I appreciated that they stopped @ Hermanus for a ten minute whale watching experience, a bonus i never expected.

When we got to their headquarters breakfast was delicious-- a variety of pastries and meats and coffee to start the day while Brian briefed us. Then we got to the boat which was big and spacious and for a group of 35, well equipped. We sped thru the choppy waters for half an hr and never got sick considering the waves were strong. Advantages of a big boat.
The crew was lovely. You could tell they are well experienced and passionate about this. They were organized and communicated well with each other. They also checked in with the divers in the cage individually. We dove for about 20-30 mins and they gave us an opportunity to dive again. We saw 4-5 sharks, very massive ones and they chummed the water well. The views on the boat were also spectacular. 8 divers went in at a time.

Overall, the crew handled us well. The ride wasnt choppy and i felt super safe. Their videos couldve been better considering they didnt really capture the shark divers but just the shark. And they didnt take photos. However, overall a once in a lifetime experience!!

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Thank Passion8traveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Copenhagen, Denmark
Level Contributor
98 reviews
76 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Loved it”
Reviewed November 2, 2012

I had a great time going shark cage diving with Brian MacFarlane. Plenty of sharks, sandwiches and soft drinks included. Do it, there's nothing dangerous about it.

Visited October 2012
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Thank Soeren S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Level Contributor
21 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“Worth the journey”
Reviewed October 25, 2012 via mobile

Was impressed with the communication from them when booking the trip. For picked up from our apartment in Capetown at 5:30am and driven the 2hr journey to gansbaii. The driver kindly took us to a viewpoint along the way to see Right whales. On arrival at their HQ I was slightly disappointed by the number of people that would be on the boat with us: about 26 in total. Breakfast was adequate although it was a little cramped in their office for all of us. Then given a safety briefing, asked to put on their waterproof coats and boarded the boat which looked a lot newer than the other shark diving boats moored at the harbour and the cage was a lot bigger and secure.

The ride out to the sharks took about 20mins and was a rough ride - make sure you take sea sickness medicine with you. It's also pretty windy so ensure you have plenty of warm clothes and a scarf. We anchored near 4 other boats which made it feel like a bit of a tourist trap. Fortunately none of the other boats stayed out as long as us so we ended up having the place to ourselves.

About 15mins after the chum hit the water we saw our first shark. They got the first 6 people ready to get into the cage. Wetsuits are full length, 7mm with hoods. The masks were good. Once in the cage you hang on with your head above the water until the crew tell you to go under. Then you hold your breath and dunk under the water to see the sharks swimming past. The water is freezing! The crew are really good at making sure you see enough when in the cage so will let you stay in until you ask to get out or have seen some good sharks. Everybody that wanted to go in the cage had ample time in it and those that wanted a second go got to go back in.

Once in the cage was enough for me as I was freezing in the water. Visibility was really poor (only 1.5m) so I felt I got a better view of the sharks from the boat. We saw about 4 sharks in total but saw them lots of times and got some good pictures. They are awe-inspiring creatures. An added bonus was that we also saw a whale about 20m from the boat.

The boat was a little cramped for getting changed in and out of wetsuits. There were ample soft drinks, snacks and sandwiches available on the boat. We stayed out for about 2-3hrs before returning to harbour for a hot drink and to watch the DVD they had made of the day. Then returned to Cape Town via their transfer.

Overall I really enjoyed the day. I felt the company were well organised and that our safety was paramount. Their boat is larger and nicer than the other companies I saw and they gave us longer viewing the sharks than the other boats we saw. It was a shame that visibility was poor and therefore it was hard to see the sharks under water but we got a great view from the surface. I'd have no qualms recommending this company.

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3 Thank scottishlass8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Level Contributor
29 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“First time shark cage diving...”
Reviewed October 22, 2012

It was a very cold (early October) but very rewarding experience. Saw a 4.5m great white and a smaller one too. Very well administered and handled by the staff. Felt very secure and safe.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank MilindaJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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