Large – they grow to over six metres – White sharks are regularly spotted in Gansbaai and scientists believe that the abundance of particularly large animals is due to the large prey population of Cape fur seals that live on the nearby Dyer Island.
Sharks can be seen in the bay all year round but the population is not resident and one female which was being monitored via a satellite tracking device was recorded swimming all way to Australia.
In 1991 South Africa became the first country to legally protect White sharks from fishing.
There are many shark diving operators based in Cape Town, Gansbaai and elsewhere along the coast. Most excursions take four to five hours with two to three hours on the water but some are longer.
Participants are provided with all the necessary equipment and given safety briefings before departing on the viewing and diving boats. Some operators also offer picnic lunches on the way back to shore.
On reaching an appropriate position and before lowering the cages crew members spread chum (animal or fish blood and offal) into the water to attract the sharks.
Some sharks surface right next to boats providing both thrilling and frightening viewing.