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Shark Cage Diving in South Africa

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Mare and I love adrenaline adventures. South Africa’s coastal town of Gansbaii is the place for shark-cage diving. We book it, along with a room at Backpacker’s Hostel in nearby Hermanus, where drunken youths revel in obscenities and keep us awake for two nights.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Hermanus, South Africa on a rainy day

We decide to cancel the dive, but not because of the party. A rainy day gives Mare time to do research on cage diving. She felt uneasy about it from the beginning. According to Marine biologists, (not George Castanza):

  1. Sharks will normally disappear at the sight of humans, unless attracted.
  2. Chumming (throwing fish and blood into the water) changes predator behavior…an unnatural situation for sharks. (It happens 250,000 times a year in South Africa)
  3. Great Whites may be associating humans with food, near beaches.
  4. Shark cage diving has been banned in Australia since 2012.
  5. This adrenaline adventure gives a false sense of bravery. I mean, the cage is attached to the boat and simply dropped under water level. It’s too safe!
  6. Taunting sharks is not sustainable tourism.
  7. It’s akin to feeding bears. “A fed bear is a dead bear.”
Photo by Marilynn Windust

On display at the hostel…

Let’s drive to the continent’s most southern point, Cape Agulhas, where warm waters of the Indian Ocean collide with the frigid Atlantic. Wind howls over flat terrain. Waters churn and spray over rocky shores.

Photo by Ron Mitchell

Where the Indian meets the Atlantic

Watch the sun rise over the Indian Ocean, and set over the Atlantic. Nah. That would take all day. Despite the surprising number of beach homes here, there’s not much to do. After munching on fish cakes and squid at a café on a gorgeous beach, we head inland.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

The beach in Cape Agulhas

The road twists around massive wheat farms, hills, mountains, and scrubby terrain. Temperatures soar at 104 degrees Fahrenheit. We’re exhausted after eight hours of driving, when “Ronnie’s Sex Shop” appears roadside in the middle of nowhere.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Ronnie at Ronnie’s

Bras and underwear hang from the pub’s ceiling, where we have a well deserved cold one. Ice cream and T-shirts are for sale next door. Is this a mirage? Actually, the place has nothing to do with sex. Ronnie is a mellow, friendly fellow whose creative gimmick will refresh any long journey.

Photo by Ron Mitchell

With only two bras and three pair of underwear I have none to spare

Finally we relax in the comfort of the Bisibee, an immaculate Guest House in the town of Oudtshoorn. Here, we toast the Great White Sharks.  There are plenty of other adrenaline activities available for our indulgence.


15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks for the info on shark tanks, not that I ever considered. Love Ronnie’s sign! Look forward to hearing more of your adventures!

    January 19, 2015
    • Jill, they take you six miles out into the ocean and lower a cage from the boat. Couldn’t resist Ronnie’s sign!

      January 21, 2015
  2. ma, pa and jack #

    Ronnie IS a gentle, welcoming guy…. haven’t heard “Ronnie” for a very long time.. sure glad you guys opted out of the shark tanks! Great photos and writing…. keep on having fun and staying safe.

    January 19, 2015
    • Ha, Ha, Ma and Pa and Jackaroo. I learned that a Jackeroo is an Australian cowboy!

      January 21, 2015
  3. Skip #


    January 19, 2015
  4. On a scale of 0 to 10, how does S. Africa rate in your travels thus far?

    January 19, 2015
    • Okay, Jennifer. You have me thinking. Every place in the world has its specific two’s and eight’s. Impossible for me to compare fairly. I feel a two and and eight sometimes in the same day in Africa. The stress from staying vigilant rates a two, but the scenery and overall experience rates around an eight. We are driving our way to Kruger Park, so we shall see where it goes!

      January 21, 2015
      • Thanks for your response, Ron. I hear you about the staying vigilant part. I visited the Kruger Park in 2004. One of my most memorable travel experiences. Look forward to your posts about that.

        January 21, 2015
      • Jennifer, I must say that the last several weeks have been in the 10’s!

        February 9, 2015
  5. Tammy #

    I am happy to hear you skipped the shark cage diving. Love your adenture and recall getting adrenline myself from a few of your adventures. Love you both

    January 20, 2015
    • Hi Tammy, I don’t regret passing on the cage diving. Shoot, we’re getting adrenaline around many corners simply driving! We love you too.

      January 21, 2015
  6. I’ve always wanted to shark cage dive, though yeah it doesn’t that nice for the sharks

    January 20, 2015
    • Hello Pilgrim. Don’t get me wrong on the cage diving…no judgments here, just our personal choice to pass. The jury could still be deliberating on the issue!

      January 21, 2015
  7. I’m with you regarding passing on the shark cage! Jeez, I don’t want to have nightmares for the rest of my life! I’ve seen Jaws and that was enough adrenaline rush for me!

    February 10, 2015

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