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“The #1 adventure tour in South Africa”

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.
Huntington Beach, California
Level Contributor
604 reviews
326 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 238 helpful votes
“The #1 adventure tour in South Africa”
Reviewed January 10, 2013

Booking was easy on their web site. I booked several months in advance. I called the day before the dive to find out where and when I would get picked up for the ride to the boat. I recieved a text at 4:30 PM with the details. I was pleasantly surprised that they had 2 trips the following day and I was on the second trip.
I was picked at 8:45 AM. The driver was prompt. We pcked up several more people. The minivan holds 12 passengers. It took us about 2 hours to get to the boat in Kleinbaai. We had lunch and waited for the boat to return. We had a briefing and walked to the boat at about 1 PM. The boat holds 40 people. There were only 33 passengers on my trip and 5 people didn't plan to go in the cage. They also had a great time as the best viewing is from the ship. You can see the sharks from further away. The pictures from the boat are far superior to the ones taken from the cage.
We arrived at the first dive site in about 25 minutes. The crew put out the chum and after a short time a shark was attracted to the boat. The first group of 8 people suited up. The wetsuits are thick and they have a hood. You also put on booties. After getting a mask and a waitbelt, you enter the cage. The water wasn't very cold (about 66 F, 18 C). The shark at this site wasn't very active. The visablity was poor (only about 4.5 feet, 1.5 meters). They apologized for the poor visability. There had been a storm the past 2 days. They weren't able to go out for those 2 days. I felt fortunate to be going out today. We moved to another site. The sharks were more active. After the sharks are near, they throw out a float with 2 big fish heads attached. The float is thrown out about 6 feet in front of the cage and drawn toward the cage. When you are in the cage you can't see the sharks swimming around until they approach the bait. The dive master will say "Down left, down right or down at the bait". You hold your breath and go below the serface of the water. You do not use a snorkle. The sharks come very close to the cage and you can easily see them. Sometimes the sharks bite the bait and if they are coming toward the cage they can be "pulled" right to the cage. This is the most thrilling.
They also have a black foam lure shaped like a seal. The sharks also go after this lure. The sharks bit 3 of these lures in half. We went to 2 more sites which were even better than the first 2 sites. The biggest shark was about 11 feet long. We saw plenty of sharks and this is the low season. Everyone got a lot of time in the cage usually at least 2 dives. We were out in the water for 4.5 hours. We returned to shore and watched the video. I was returned to my hotel at 8:30 PM. I was very happy with this tour.

Visited January 2013
6 Thank charles6346
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Canton, Ohio
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“upclose experience”
Reviewed December 29, 2012

I have been diving for over 20 years. The main concern is safety in those years and Brian with his team are for safety. After a great breakfast spread upon arrival there was a briefing at the store. This was in detail and informative. The boat was well designed for the purpose with seats to provide excellent viewing. The supplied gear; wet suit, mask, booties was in great condition. The 11 degree water temp was minor concern with the 7 mm wet suite. Multiple times in the cage were provided, but some just stayed on the boat the entire time. While out of the water food was plentiful, A great addition was talking to Brian while he was perched looking for the sharks. His knowledge was better than naturalist i have encountered elsewhere.

Visited December 2012
Thank wayne g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orlando, Florida
Level Contributor
2,461 reviews
1,420 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2,658 helpful votes
“WE DID IT!!!!! :) lol”
Reviewed December 20, 2012

Again, words cant describe how your body feels in that cage...simply incredible!!!! The Company was outstanding and very professional. (They were used in Shark Week the past few years). I would definitely recommend taking some sea motion medicine as almost half our boat that day (15 people, myself included) totally "yacked" overboard like 2 or 3 times. It had nothing to do with the company, but with the extreme choppy sea conditions!!! But man oh man...what an amazing experience! They are THE Company to go with!!!

Visited September 2012
3 Thank Steve R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed December 19, 2012

We booked the Great white shark tours after reading all the many good reviews about them. When we arrived, the breakfast was good and the briefing average with standard safety precautions being communicated. As soon as we got on the boat, the staff were busy playing around and goofing around with each other. They led us into the cage 8 at a time and at the time when I was in the cage, there were 9 people in the cage due to someone on the tour "sneaking" into the cage. This could have had serious repercussions in the event of an emergency and not everyone was accounted for during the time when we are in a cage with sharks! This made it seem as if the crew were not taking the safety of the people onboard seriously.

During the time when we are waiting our turn to see the sharks, there was no attempt to talk about the sharks and maybe some information about their biology/breeding or behavioural patterns. I know it is not meant to be an educational tour but this would have added value to the tour and increased our appreciation of the fish.

When we were in the water, one of the crew member was luring the fish towards us and at times it seemed as if they did not respect the fish and even caught sight of one crew member teasing another into jumping into the water. Playfully of course, but this came across as unprofessional to us.

Although the experience of diving with the great whites was an experience of a lifetime, I believe there will other better operators who may be able to give you a better onboard experience.

The great white shark diving as an activity is highly recommended but we will not recommend this tour operator.

Visited December 2012
1 Thank Shamala_Ravee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sharky41, Manager at Great White Shark Tours, responded to this review, December 24, 2012
As the owner and skipper of Apex Predator, used by Great White Shark Tours, I was astounded to read the negative review.

During my briefing I end it by stating that should the tourists have any questions regarding the sharks and their activities I will be happy to answer them. As far as shark information is concerned we try our best to inform the tourists of relevant shark facts, such as size, breeding habits etc., on the placemats set on the tables used for breakfast. In addition each diver receives a diving certificate incorporating a multitude of facts about the great whites.

Whilst on board I noticed no difference in the performance of my crew in carrying out their duties. As professionals they do try to create a relaxed atmosphere especially for persons who appear to be wary of entering the cage. Thus, the lighthearted “playing around”, in no way compromises the safety of our passengers since they are all trained professionals.

The lid of cage needs to be lifted for anyone to enter or leave, so it is difficult to imagine how any passenger could “sneak” into the cage.

No crew member jumped into the water. We saw at least 8 sharks on the trip in question!!

Finally, there is not much I can do at this stage to improve the experience of the reviewer, but I know that my crew and I do our utmost to make the visitor’s tour “a never to be forgotten” experience and success.

Brian McFarlane
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aarschot, Belgium
Level Contributor
29 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Greatly recommended”
Reviewed December 8, 2012

Very professional outfit. Very knowledgeable. Highly recommended company. Not very expensive either if you compare it to some other companies. Snacks and drinks available all day. We saw about 8 great whites. One of the highlights of our holiday with a great company.

Visited November 2012
1 Thank Stijn112233
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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