2018 Itinerary: 4 Day Great White Encounter out of Simon’s Town
Please remember, this is purely a “suggested itinerary”, and we can add to it any which way you like.
Best time of year: Although we conduct trips from mid-January through mid-September. The best & “peak” seasons where there is more “action” is from mid-May to mid-September. If from mid-January to mid-May there is no shark action, we will not run trips out of Simon’s Town, and we will endeavour to change the location to Gansbaai. Should this be necessary, additional charges may apply.
Please note, the Great White Sharks have not read this timetable and have no idea where they are meant to be and when!
Simon’s Town offers the shark enthusiast an alternative to Gansbaai – “The White Shark Capital Of The world!” There are currently 8 “licenced” White Shark dive operators operating out of Gansbaai with the smallest boat accommodating 18 to the largest, accommodating 40, with everything in-between. It’s a traffic jam in the morning to see who gets to the dive location first in order to secure the prime position. Something like being on the Lower Ganges! Out of Simon’s Town there are only 3 “licenced” dive operators, resulting in less congestion and a better overall experience. The Simon’s Town dive charters start off by trying to get the Great White’s to breach (Air Jaws) by towing a decoy in the shape of a seal behind the boat. This is done at first light, as early as possible as Great Whites are the apex predators in the ocean, and tend to be active (hunt) early mornings and late afternoons. After trying to induce natural breaching we then drop anchor for a few hours cage diving. Again, as is the case in Gansbaai, the Simon’s Town area of False Bay is also known as the “Cape of Storms”, and for this reason alone it is advisable to spend at much time as possible at sea so as to maximise your time with these magnificent creatures. This itinerary can also be shortened or lengthened according to the client’s requirements.
Also…, you’ve come this far to dive. Why not take advantage of being in Africa and spend 3 days on safari in the world famous Kruger National Park. We have a 2 night / 3 day safari special for all divers travelling with “Dive The Big 5”.
Arrive Cape Town International Airport, own arrangements. On arrival at Cape Town International Airport you will be met by a representative of Dive The Big 5 for the 1 hour road transfer to Simon’s Town. Rest of the day free. Overnight at The Mariner Guesthouse, in a Superior Room, on a bed and breakfast basis.
Road transfer from Cape Town International Airport to The Mariner Guesthouse in Simon’s Town
Accommodation at The Mariner Guesthouse.
International / domestic air into Cape Town International Airport
Items of a personal nature
At a time advised the previous evening you will be collected from the Mariner Guesthouse by the Dive operator, normally at 06h00, for the 10 minute road transfer to the dive shop. After signing the indemnities, dive planning and kitting up you will transfer to Simon’s Town small craft harbour to board the boat for Seal Island in False Bay. Dive The Big 5 run two Great White trips per day, weather permitting. One that departs Simon’s Town Harbour at first light and the second trip which departs Simon’s Town Harbour at about 12h00. The early trip is the recommended trip to take as Great White’s, being apex predators, are more active in the early mornings – that’s when they hunt. They are also active in the late afternoons, but because the sun sets so early in Cape Town, by the time the sharks become active and start hunting it’s time to up anchor and head back to Simon’s Town Harbour. The early morning trip is by far the recommended trip to take!
Once in the vicinity of Seal Island, about an hour’s boat ride out of Simon’s Town Harbour, the crew deploy the decoy and troll very slowly just off the island. The decoy, which is cut in the shape of a seal, attracts the Great White’s and this is what causes them to breach. This is done at first light, when the Great Whites are hunting. Once the morning wears on and the activity slows down the boat is anchored off Seal Island and the cage is lowered. The rest of the morning is spent cage diving with the Great White’s. After the morning’s activity you will return to Simon’s Town Harbour to arrive there at 12h00. On arrival at Simon’s Town Harbour, you will be transferred you back to the Mariner Guesthouse. Rest of the afternoon is free. Mariner Guesthouse is very centrally situated on a hill overlooking Simon’s Town Naval Base and is in easy walking distance of excellent restaurants, the Naval Museum, The Toy Museum, the African Jack-ass Penguin Colony at Boulders Beach and the railway station which has regular ½ hour trains to Cape Town city centre. You will find loads to do in the afternoon after your Great White experience. Overnight at the Mariner Guesthouse on a bed and breakfast basis.
Return road transfer from the Mariner Guesthouse to Simon’s Town Harbour
Morning spent at sea in the vicinity of Seal Island in False Bay watching the Great White’s breach (Air Jaws) and cage diving with the Great White’s, weather permitting
Services of a qualified Dive Master
Full equipment hire
light snacks and refreshments on board
Accommodation at Mariner Guesthouse.
Lunch, dinner, bar
Additional touring in the afternoon; dinner
Items of a personal nature
After breakfast you will check out of The Mariner Guesthouse before being transferred to Simon’s Town small craft harbour for your last day in the vicinity of Seal Island trawling for then cage diving and / or surface viewing with the Great White Sharks, weather permitting. After the day’s activity you will transfer back to Cape Town International Airport to connect with your onward flight, own arrangements. End of Services.
Road transfer to Simon’s Town small craft harbour
Morning at sea with the Great White’s, weather permitting
Services of a local dive master
Full equipment hire
Light snacks and refreshments on board
Road transfer from Simon’s Town to Cape Town International Airport.
Lunch, Dinner, Bar
Items of a personal nature
Optional purchase of your Great White Experience on DVD
International / domestic air
- Full refund in the event of the dive being cancelled due to bad weather.
- Should we launch the boat for the dive and during the course of the dive the skipper decides to return to shore due to unfavourable weather conditions, there will be no refund.
- The skipper’s decision is final and is based purely on your safety and comfort.
Please note: The Great White Shark activity takes place on or just below sea level. Full scuba gear is not required for shark cage diving, as the cage is attached to the side of the boat and no diving certification or experience is necessary. Your head and shoulders are above sea level until the dive master gives the call to let you know that the Great Whites are approaching. You then submerge your head and shoulders below sea level for the close sightings of the Great Whites, as they swim towards and past the cage. Snorkel equipment and breath holding are the most popular options selected as the scuba gear sounds are found to be distracting to the extremely sound sensitive Great Whites. A “hookah” system, where air is supplied to the divers in the cage, is available on request, should you so wish. When you are not in our 6 man cage, refreshments are enjoyed while viewing the Great Whites and other sea life from the viewing deck.
Itinerary and prices are subject to change without notice.
Other “bits & pieces” of interest:
The cage is a 6 man / woman / person cage, subject to change, and because the total maximum of people licenced to be carried on our boat is 18 including crew, cage time is never a problem. Divers spend roughly 20 minutes in the cage during their first dive session; thereafter divers take turns for subsequent dive sessions. Exact timing differs from day to day, depending on the number of divers on the boat and shark activity.
Great White trips out of Simon’s Town are aimed more at the purist and shark lover wanting to spend more “intimate” time with the animals, say two to three days at least, opposed to the trips out of Gansbaai, which are aimed more at the “day tripper”, been there, done that, got the T-shirt.