Looking for Great White Sharks in South Africa

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The view from Gansbaii
The view from Gansbaii

Nature watching excursions are a gamble for baby boomer travelers. The weather must cooperate, you have to be in the right place at the right time and the animals need to participate. That’s what makes it an adventure. You never know what you’re going to get.

When Alan and I traveled to Hermanus, on the South African coast, our group chartered a shark watching adventure from White Shark Ecoventures. I dreamed of the perfectly stunning photo I would click of a great white shark leaping from the water. All I captured was a shot of a flying bird.

A van, driver and guide from White Shark Ecoventures met us at Birkenhed House, our accommodations in Hermanus. After a scenic drive along the coast we were transported to their well-appointed boat, Megalodon II, at Gansbaii. Since it was a slightly windy day, the choppy water provided a bouncy ride to Sharks Alley where we anchored and waited. Two baby boomer men in our group donned wet suits to take their turns in the shark viewing cage.

Great White Sharks in South Africa
No sharks. Just a bird.

Although the boat was anchored, it continued to bob around in the water. The captain advised, “If you have a tendency to become seasick, keep your eye on the horizon.” Well, now you know what I did for most of the day. Sitting on the top deck, I queasily kept my vision peeled on the horizon. However, I didn’t miss much. On this particular day, the great white sharks weren’t very hungry for the chum the deckhands threw overboard. One younger great white did approach the boat a couple of times to nip at the cage. But there was no spectacular jumping into the air. Neither Alan nor I came home with that longed-for photo. You’ll have to visit the White Shark Ecoventure gallery to see what we missed.

But like I said, that’s what adventure is all about. Although the sharks were scarce on our great white shark excursion, we did see beautiful coastal scenery and enjoyed the anticipation of shark viewing while traveling safely with a well-prepared excursion provider.

Have you participated in a great white shark viewing excursion? Join the conversation at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook or send us an email to ask a question or share your experience.

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