Shark Encounters is an ethical shark cage diving operator in Gansbaai, South Africa. Gansbaai is known as the White Shark Capital of the World. It certainly is the most accessible white shark population with only a twenty-minute boat trip before you can view this majestic beauty in its natural environment. Our hope is that your encounter will leave you with a deep respect and understanding of the great white shark as an important apex predator.

We work around the unique Dyer Island ecosystem in Gansbaai, South Africa. Dyer Island is an Important Bird Area and the colony of 60 000 Cape Fur seals across the way on Geyser Rock are an important reason that great white sharks visit the area.

*Animal sightings never guaranteed as we are working with wildlife.



The Great White Shark

The South African population of great white sharks is considered vulnerable and it is a privilege to see one in its natural environment. The total number of great white sharks worldwide is not known but they could be endangered or even critically endangered. We work around the unique Dyer Island ecosystem in Gansbaai, South Africa. Dyer Island is an Important Bird Area and the colony of 60 000 Cape Fur seals across the way on Geyser Rock are an important reason that great white sharks visit the area.

The white shark population is transient, and a shark may spend a few weeks to a maximum of a few months per visit in Gansbaai. We are grateful to see many returning sharks that we recognize and can tell you more about their personalities. Yes, sharks have personalities. White sharks in Gansbaai can range from juveniles to adults 5metres or more. White sharks make extensive migrations and tracking studies show they may head up to the warmer waters of Mozambique, or perhaps the West Coast, or off the continental shelf. One famous shark by the name of Nicole was recorded going all the way to Australia and back. White sharks have never been seen mating or pupping so these areas could be important in ways we are still learning about. Sadly, these sharks face many threats from bather safety nets, drumlines and coastal fisheries.

Bronze Whaler Sharks

The bronze whaler shark otherwise known as the copper shark because of its distinctive colouration, is also a regular visitor. This species grows up to 3,3m and is usually seen in active groups, enthralling divers. The only other opportunity to see this species is if you are a qualified diver.



We ask that you arrive an hour earlier for check in, a meal, and time for a safety briefing, before you are kitted up and head to sea. We have strict launching times.

You will be on sea for approximately three hours and we aim to give everyone the same experience and time in the cage, but we are dependent on shark activity.

Our white sharks patrol the shallow areas so it is often there that we will position our vessel. In the winter season, we may work around the island system. We position our boat where the sharks are found. As a shark does not need to surface to breathe, they are not an easy animal to observe, so we attract the sharks to the boat with a method called chumming. Chum is a mixture of fish oils or fish by products not used in the fishing industry. It is mixed with sea water and then put back into the ocean. This produces a scent trail extending from our boat that sharks in the area pick up on and then will start to approach. There is no feeding of sharks. Once the sharks are around the boat, we use a bait or decoy to keep the shark’s attention and do our best to give you an underwater view of this incredible animal



Our boat is named DreamCatcher and is purpose built for cage diving and for your comfort and safety.

We have various viewing decks for best photographic opportunities. Please note that we have two restrooms on the boat.

We have very experienced skippers and crew in the company with years of experience on sea and our on-board marine biologist can answer all your questions.

We have a dedicated bait handler and decoy handler responsible for getting the sharks up-close and personal as well as our chum ‘master’ at the back of the boat.


No scuba diving experience is necessary as only a breath hold is required meaning anyone can do this activity. Our specially designed cage will be lowered into the water and then attached to the side of the boat. You will see that the cage floats. It does not become detached from the boat at any time.

Our guides are always just above you if you need any assistance. The cage can accommodate between eight to ten people comfortably so should you wish to get into the water as a group, please advise us and we’ll make sure to place you accordingly. Once in the cage take a few moments to find the foot rail and the handrail in front of you. The handrail will be about waist high which you will use to pull yourself under the water to see the sharks as they swim by.

The foot rail is at the bottom of the cage and we highly recommend using this lower rail to keep you below the water leaving your hands free, should you wish to take underwater footage.


What to bring?

Click here to ensure you are fully prepared for this experience
– We provide a meal on arrival, snacks on board, and soup & bread on return.
– Your bathing costume – we change into our wetsuits on board, so we recommend you wear your costume beforehand.
– Camera should you wish to take some images
– Sunscreen
– Warm clothes – it can get chilly on sea no matter the season. Layered clothing is best. Beanies and jackets a must in winter. We do provide a weather proof jacket.
– We are generally able to put our masks over glasses but we highly recommend you rather wear contact lenses if possible. We do not carry prescription masks and should you have your own, please bring it with.
– Note that we do not use snorkels or scuba.
– Seasickness – Should you be concerned about the motion of the ocean, do take some seasickness pills the night before and two hours before the trip. Any local chemist stocks these. Unfortunately, due to regulations, we cannot provide these.
– We provide diving suits, towels, snacks on board.
Exclusive TRIPS
– Exclusive trips are available at a premium rate. Please contact us for more information.



We have a dedicated shuttle service from Cape Town central or along the route at designated places. Gansbaai is 2,5 hours from Cape Town. We do encourage our guests to consider staying closer to Gansbaai to reduce travel time and explore the region. Towns along our Cape Whale Coast include Hermanus, Stanford and Gansbaai.


Adults R2000 per person
6 – 12 years R 1200
Under 5 Free

Exclusive TRIPS

Exclusive trips are available at a premium rate. Please contact us for more information.


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tel: +27 (0) 66 480 5054

General enquiries:

Tel: +27(0) 66 480 5054

Physical Address:

61 Kabeljou Street, Gansbaai, South Africa


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