Shark Adventures: False Bay (Cape Town)
Apex Shark Expeditions, founded by Chris Fallows, was created
to advance the understanding of sharks. Dyer Island, where most
of South Africa's great
white shark research and viewing was concentrated, was becoming
congested. This made controlled scientific work difficult, so
Chris set out to find an alternative venue where they could escape
commercialization and conduct their research.
During their search for a new dive site, they remembered the
legend of Submarine, a notorious white shark in excess of 6 meters
(20 feet), known to roam the waters of False Bay, located barely
thirty minutes from Cape Town. They made a trip to one of her
favorite haunts, a seal colony in False Bay.
On that first trip they witnessed a shark attacking a seal less
than 10 meters from their boat. A great new area for shark research
and viewing had been discovered. In the four years following their
discovery, they've learned much about the sharks and ecosystem
of the area. They are eager to share their knowledge with you.
Dates: Offered any time of year. The best months to see
great whites, however, are April through September.
Price: $375+ per day, depending on time of year and number
1 to 10 day diving and photographic excursions are available.
Expeditions generally start in Simon's Town, where your day begins
with a briefing on boat safety and emergency procedures. Just
as the sun starts to color the sky, we leave the harbor and cruise
to any of the various shark sites around False Bay. The trip to
a dive site usually takes about 25 minutes, but this may vary
due to weather and other environmental conditions. Since Apex
Shark Expeditions is one of only two licensed operators in False
Bay, you're almost guaranteed a good show.
Itinerary: If you want to dive, we'll run you through
dive procedures and the basics of shark behavior. Bear in mind
that you have to be a qualified scuba diver to get into the cage.
Coming up for air is not always an option. (A divemaster constantly
keeps watch over the cage. Your safety is our primary concern.)
Those who are not diving can enjoy the view and take photos from
the boat. There is so much to see. In late winter, False Bay is
a haven for southern right whales and we have sightings almost
on every trip. Seals abound and their playful nature makes them
a treat to watch. Birds, such as cormorants, gannets, gulls and
penguins are seen everyday. While you're diving or photographing
the amazing scenery, we'll be tagging
and collecting data. (You're welcome to help!)
Day + Trips: On one day trips, we collect you from your hotel
pretty early and transport you to Simons Town, where you are briefed
before going to sea.
Ten Day Trips: Our Great White Shark expeditions at sea
generally start at dawn so we reach the island just as the sun
is rising, the best time to observe predator prey interactions.
Once an appropriate anchoring spot is secured we begin to collect
environmental and hopefully shark data. Lunch is available at
around noon. Weather and shark activity dependant, we may stay
till dusk, although we are usually home by 2:00pm. Weather statistics
predict that on average, 7 out of 10 days meet the minimum conditions
for going to sea. However, it is at the discretion on the skipper
of the boat to decide if conditions are suitable for sea work.
As an alternative, time will be spent exploring Cape Town's many
world-famous landmarks and the well-known Cape winelands. There
is also an excellent golf course 5 minutes away from your accommodations.
Our ten-day adventures include lodging in Simon's Town, some meals,
airport transfers, tours, dive equipment and more.
Vessel: Our 36 ft catamaran has a reputation for stability
and comfortable cruising, even in unpleasant sea conditions. We
are in constant radio and cellular communication with the mainland
and using Global Positioning System (GPS) we can take you to the
best shark sites with pin-point accuracy. There is ample standing/sitting
room available and with good vantage points for all-round vision.
Dives: You will be diving with Great White Sharks in a square
mesh galvanized steel cage, approved by the White Shark cage diving
code of conduct. The cage is 1.5 meters in diameter and 2.1 meters
high and has several viewing ports that allows for viewing, photography
and filming. The cage is securely attached to the boat and has
an emergency air supply. Entering and exiting from the cage is
easy and will be explained to you before the dive. A dive master
will assist you at all times. With a maximum of twelve divers
on the boat at any time, you can pretty much dive till you've
Dive Success: On our one day shark diving expeditions
you can expect a 95% success rate of seeing Great White Sharks
between April and September. During the warmer summer months,
the sharks are more dispersed as they hunt for fish, therefore
much more difficult to find. However, with 7 years of experience
we still manage an 80 % success rate from October to March.
Shark Guarantee: Although we go to the best places at
the best times of year, we cannot guarantee you will see sharks.
If we are unable to go to sea due to weather conditions, etc.,
a great tour of the Cape will be substituted.
Your trip will benefit the Great White Shark: The money
you pay to come on our expeditions helps to pay for our research.
Over the last 9 years, we have tagged and released some 1350 fish
and sharks, many from commercial fishing operations that would
have died without our intervention. We have close ties to the
Sea Fisheries Research Institute, South African Museum's Shark
Research Center and Oceanographic Research Institute.
FAQ: Do I need to be certified? Yes, but only if you want
to dive in the cage. To dive with the sharks (go into the cage),
you need to have a recognized minimum SCUBA qualification (Open
Water) and have your ID card available. If you dive with prescription
lenses in your mask or want your own personal/favorite mask, bring
it along, otherwise we supply everything from the mask to the
weight belt. All expedition members also have to fill out an indemnity
What if I am not certified? If you are not certified, you can
join us and observe the sharks and marine life from our boat.