Gansbaai is the best destination in the world for shark cage diving.

Gansbaai may seem like any other small South African town, but driving to the shoreline reveals a fleet of boats lined up at the harbour. These operate daily, weather permitting, taking travellers out on epic shark cage diving experiences. Only a strong cage separates divers from the sharks that rule these waters.

We’ve curated 10 facts about Great White Sharks that will blow your mind while planning your Shark cage diving tour with us:

1. Great White Sharks are actually conflict -avoidant

Great White Sharks rarely resort to combat with each other and humans. Even though shark attacks have occurred, research has shown that sharks are generally picky eaters and are not inclined to prey on humans.

2. Great White Sharks existed before Dinosaurs

Great White Sharks ancestry dates back more than 400 million years. Research suggests that the lifespan Great White Sharks is estimated to be at least 70 years.

3. The largest Great White Shark was found in Mexico

A 20 foot-long, possibly at least 50-year old Great White named Deep Blue was filmed off Mexico’s Guadalupe Island.

4. Great Whites have social hierarchy

Although these sharks are often classified as loners, there is a degree of social hierarchy that does exist among them. Female sharks often dominate males.

5. Great whites never use their tongue

They have a tongue-like structure known as the basihyal, which is a piece of cartilage that sits on the floor of the mouth and usually does not move.

6. Great Whites are industrious and efficient

A Great White can devour a whole seal and won’t need to eat for another three months after that.

7. Greats Whites belong in the wild

These apex predators get stressed in captivity and eventually die when they’re not in their natural environment.

8. Great Whites love warmer water

Although usually found in temperate waters, specifically places such as South Africa, Australia, and California. Scientists have also found that Great White Sharks also love warmer ocean waters such as deep water eddies which are basically warm water whirlpools.

9. Great Whites don’t chew

They use their serrated teeth to shred their prey into pieces. There are approximately 300 teeth in the mouth of a Great White and they only lose 1000 over their lifespan. Each time they lose teeth a new row slides into place.      

10. The Great Whites biggest threat is human interaction

Sharks are hunted for their fins and teeth and are often caught in the nets of commercial and illegal fishermen.

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Image captured by Tom Young from The Great Projects while cage diving with White Shark Projects

Want to experience Africa in your style? Visit the Discover Africa Group webpage!

Published 2nd December 2019

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