• Jessica Kunamalla


Cape Town, South Africa

We went cage diving with Great White Shark Tours in Gansbaai, South Africa. Gansbaai is the considered the great white shark capital of the world. This tour took us out to "shark alley." We actually got really lucky because all other tours in Gansbaai were getting cancelled due to weather conditions. I could not be happier that ours didn't!

The weather wasn't hot, as we were going towards the end of shark season in late September. It was probably 50-60 degrees.

Once you got to the site, they go over what will happen once you're in the cage. And you're off!

The boat ride was about 20 minutes out to shark alley. Once we were there things happened quickly. They asked for the first group of volunteers - of course we jumped at the chance. So we put on our gear, including weights that help hold you under water. Honestly the part I was most worried about was having properly functioning breathing gear. They actually didn't give us any because the top part of the cage was above water. This got rid of any weird claustrophobic fear I had.

The water was freezing even in the wet suit, but you barely think about that. Just the thought of great whites near you is enough to keep you distracted. So you essentially keep your head above water until you heard the guides yelling, "DOWN DOWN DOWN." At that point you hold your breath and go under water just to see a great white charging at you. SO exhilarating.

We were in the cage for about 15 minutes of non-stop action. I was pretty numb from the cold after getting out. However, I would for sure recommend trying to get in the first wave of people in the cage. The second round of people were in the water for 20 minutes without much action. The third group didn't even encounter great whites. A different type of shark was being baited over. You do have a chance to get in the cage a second time, but we had already seen so much, and I didn't want to freeze again after just warming up.

Whenever I tell people that I've cage-dived with great white sharks, they think I'm crazy lol. In reality, it was extremely safe given the circumstance. The guides were really professional and knowledgable. There might be some controversy about how chumming the water and feeding the sharks affects them as a species, but overall I think it's much better to put yourself in an animal's natural habitat versus keeping them caged up in a zoo. This is definitely one of the top 5 experiences of my life. For sure unforgettable, and I know you'll feel the same way.

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