Isurus oxyrinchus

Where you can see them:
Simon’s Town


The Mako Shark also called Isurus in the scientific community, is an incredible and extremely fast beast. Today, there are only two living species of Mako remaining. They are called the Longfin Makos and the Shortfin Makos.

The largest is the Longfin with a length of about 4.5 meters (14ft) and adults weigh in around 170 kilograms (375 pounds). Shortfin sharks are usually about half this size and weight.

Both species are easily identified due to their strange (and mean looking) teeth. These teeth are visible even when their mouths are closed. For simple identification, the Mako tends to look like a smaller version of the Great White Shark.

This shark loves jumping out of the water. Scientists still aren’t sure why they do this, but it’s theorized that they are searching for prey over the water surface.

Long pointed snout and streamlined body; lunate tail with pronounced keels on the caudal peduncle; metallic blue or dark grey above. The teeth are large awl shaped and non-serrated


It inhabits offshore waters along the South African coast and rarely ventures close inshore. Usually avoids water colder than 15°C.


The female matures at approximately 230 cm and the male at 160-170 cm. Little is known of the breeding habits. Aplacental viviparous development; litter size is 6-10; birth takes place at 70 cm. Maximum size is in the region of 300 cm.


The teeth are designed to grasp prey swimming in open water, such as small sharks, game fish and squid which may be swallowed whole.


This species is extremely fast swimming and is regarded as a game fish in many parts of the world. When hooked, it is known to jump clear out of the water. There have been numerous cases of the Mako attacking and jumping into or over boats. This species is dangerous but rarely ventures very close inshore.

The likelihood of encountering a Mako Shark when on a diving safari to South Africa?

Mako Sharks are encountered with the Blue Shark about 35 km south of Cape Point, in the cold waters, between 12°C and 16°C, and in amongst the “kelp rafts” floating on the surface of the water.

This is a full day dive departing Simon’s Town Harbour at about 07h30, and returning to Simons Town Harbour again at about 15h30. The best months to encounter Mako Sharks are October thru July. All Mako Shark dives are “baited” Shark dives. Refer to Dive The Big 5’s Shark Timetable

Shark Time Table

Please note that the Sharks have not read this timetable so they have no idea where they are supposed to be, and when. This Timetable is purely a guide!

Remember, our daily average winter month temperature is higher that the UK average summer month temperature.