Detailed Itinerary



Flights from Geneva to Cape Town via Dubai, London or Amsterdam

The best time to see White Sharks is during the southern winter months of May to August. The Cape of Good Hope is also known as the Cape of Storms, and this name is well deserved at times.

This period coincides with the arrival of the Southern Right Whales along the coastline and the optimal underwater visibility conditions. As a result the itinerary and schedule of this expedition must remain flexible to make the most of the 12 days in South Africa.

MCS 7610s

Day 1

The sight of the spectacular Table Mountain shrouded with its usual table-cloth welcomes you from the airport. Michael will pick you up from the airport for a scenic drive via Cape Town to the Mariners Guesthouse in Simon’s Town where we will stay for a week.

We visit the nearby African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) colony on Boulder’s Beach.


Day 2

We wake long before the sun rises to drive to the Simon’s Town harbour where we board ‘Shark Explorer’, a 30-ft Butt Cat boat. As we drive the 20-30 minutes to reach Seal Island, the sky slowly changes from black to blue while the high clouds turn red and yellow... and suddenly someone yells ‘Breach!!!’ - A White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias) has just jumped clear out of the water ahead. White Sharks hunt the Cape Fur Seals (Arctocephalus pusillus) as they leave their island colony in the early hours of the morning when very little light penetrates the water, and when White Sharks are best camouflaged. For the next couple of hours, as the sky brightens with the coming dawn and early morning, we look out for these spectacular natural predation events.

When the seal activity becomes less, we will tow a seal decoy behind the boat to lure a White Shark into breaching which gives us the perfect opportunity to immortalise this extraordinary behaviour on film. We then start chumming for White Sharks to observe them from the boat or underwater from the cage. We return to shore by mid-afternoon depending on the Shark activity and the weather conditions. After a well deserved shower and break, we will have a small conference.

IMG 1630s

Day 3

Another early morning awaits us... we take the same boat to drive along the Cape Peninsula, out of False Bay and beyond the famous Cape of Good Hope. We now venture into the open ocean, territory of the pelagic Sharks and big game fish. The water gets deeper, clearer and bluer the further we go. With the meeting and mixing of the Benguela and Agulhas currents the water temperature also rises. Land is barely visible on the horizon and hundreds of metres of deep blue water is awaiting us. We try to spot a few new Sharks species, hopefully, we will see the fastest swimming shark, the Shortfin Mako Shark (Isurus oxyrinchus), another shark from the Lamnidae family, a close relative of the White Sharks. We will also look for the streamlined Blue Shark (Prionace glauca), very distinctive from its colour and shape. We might also encounter dolphins, whales, tuna and sailfish on this excursion.

DSC 0029-3 (1)s

Day 4

If the southern winter weather allows it, we will dedicate this day to a second excursion to discover White Sharks around Seal Island in False Bay. You now know what to expect and your chances at getting that elusive photograph of a breaching White Shark are much higher.

MCS 2361s

Day 5

After a healthy breakfast, we will drive to the base of Table Mountain where we will board the Swiss made cable car to the top of the flat mountain overlooking Cape Town. Once at the top, we will enjoy spectacular views of the ocean, city and the peninsula from 1,067 metres above sea level. This surprisingly flat area, part of the Table Mountain National Park and a World Heritage Site, offers different paths leading to different viewing platforms. The park is an important part of the Cape Floral Region including the Fynbos and the one the richest floral areas in the world, with over 1,460 different species of plants. Populations of Rock Hyrax (Procavia capensis), commonly known as dassies, are plentiful on the mountain and are very photogenic.

DSC 7230s

We will have lunch in the famous V&A Waterfront before heading to the Two Oceans Aquarium. We will be guided to the top of the building, get into diving gear and enter the Predator Tank located behind an enormous 11m-wide by 4m-high acrylic panel in a 2-million litre exhibit showcasing Ragged Tooth Sharks or Sand Tiger Sharks (Carcharias taurus), and an impressive collection of predatory fish from the South African south coast, including shoals of yellowtail, Garrick, dusky cob and black mussel cracker. We will conclude the visit with a guided tour of the aquarium.

The rest of the afternoon and evening are free to roam, shop, visit and enjoy supper at the waterfront or in Cape Town.

CapePointPanoramic Paul-Bruins-1s

Day 6

We set off for a complete tour of the Cape Peninsula... driving south along the east coast of the peninsula to enter the Cape of Good Hope section of the Table Mountain National Park to explore the reserve, go for a scenic hike up to the old and new lighthouses of Cape Point, and down to the Cape of Good Hope, watch baboons wander through the parking area. We then drive north along the western shore of the Peninsula back to Cape Town.

We visit the South African Iziko Museum in the centre of Cape Town, and especially the permanent exhibition Shark World, one of the world’s best and most comprehensive exhibits on Chondrichthyians.

There is another opportunity to spend a few hours visiting Cape Town, and free evening.

 MG 4884s

Day 7

Today is dedicated to the exploration of the kelp forests near the shores. We take a short boat ride along the shore, and we dive in the underwater kelp forests to discover this rich and beautiful ecosystem to encounter the Broadnose Sevengill Shark (Hexanchus griseus) and many other fish and shark species. Admire the kelp rising to the surface as you discover this extraordinary underwater forest. A second dive will allow you to meet the most playful animals of this region: the Cape Fur Seals. You will enjoy their acrobatics around you as they mock your clumsiness in the water.

MCS 5704s

We drive to the nearby town of Muizenberg to discover the unique system that the community setup to protect their bathers from Sharks: the Shark Spotters. We spend some time on the mountain side with one of the Shark Spotters, and maybe even will spot a White Shark cruising along the shore. We also visit the Save Our Seas Foundation’s Shark Centre in Kalk Bay.

MCS 4057s

Day 8

Today’s plan offers two options: an excursion to discover the multicoloured fields of flowers at the West Coast National Park, or an optional extra day for Sharks (not included in this trip’s price): White Sharks, offshore dive or inshore dive.

DSC 0005-4s

Day 9

From Simon’s Town, we head around 200 kilometres in a south-easterly direction towards the southernmost point of the African continent, to the small fishing village of Gansbaai. This little village has evolved dramatically since the mid-90’s and has become known as the world capital of the Great White Shark.

We arrive at our Sea Star Lodge in De Kelders overlooking the world renown Walker Bay... Some of the best land-based whale watching in the world is the major attraction of this bay, and Southern Right Whales (Eubalaena australis) come to within meters of the rocks that line the edges of kelp beds along the De Kelders coastline. Every year, the Whales come to this part of the coastline of South Africa from July to November to give birth and mate, before returning to their feeding grounds in the colder and much richer Southern Ocean closer to Antarctica.

Kim on Boat 2

We drive to the small harbour of Kleinbaai where we board ‘Shark Lady’, a 33-ft Butt Cat boat, for our first day in this region. We drive five nautical miles to the famous Shark Alley, probably the place most known to documentary viewers. This shallow alley separate two islands, Dyer Island to the north, home to many marine bird species, and Geyser Rock to the south, home to a permanent colony of 50’000 Cape Fur Seals.

We anchor near the island in 8-14 meter deep water where we will wait for White Sharks to follow our scent. For the next few hours, we will observe and cage-dive with White Sharks. The cage is attached to the boat and will remain floating at the surface, and you will enter the cage either just snorkelling or on an Air Line Hookah system, depending on the sea conditions and the Shark activity.

In the afternoon, we will enjoy a fine bottle of South African wine on the rocks of De Kelders, admiring the South Right Whales in the bay, with the backdrop of one of the finest sunsets in the world with the Cape Point silhouetted on the horizon.


Day 10

We wake to the low, blowing sound of Southern Right Whales lazing in the bay, and their fluke wave greeting. After breakfast, we drive to the small harbour of Kleinbaai where we board the boat for our second full day excursion with White Sharks around Dyer Island.

In the afternoon, we drive back to shore taking a drive through Shark Alley to view Cape Fur Seals playing in the waves and resting on top of each other on the rocks. We then take a long drive along the shores of Shark Bay to the north of the islands to see whether any of the sharks have already appeared in the shallow inshore waters.

After a shower at our guesthouse, we walk part of the Klipgat Trail, a seven kilometre long path stretching from the Gansbaai harbour to the Klipgat Cave past a number of rock pools and caves en route that also takes in some of this part of the coast’s rare limestone Fynbos. The trail ends with the Klipgat Cave where some of the oldest remains of modern humans have been found. All along the path, we are able to do some awesome whale watching as these great beasts come within a few metres just beyond the kelp forest.


Day 11

The third and last day with White Sharks around Dyer Island. Upon our return to shore, we visit the lighthouse at Danger Point and the memorial marking the wreck of the famous HMS Birkenhead, sunk off this treacherous reef in 1852.

DSC 0069s

Day 12

An optional boat-based whale-watching excursion or White Shark excursion (not included in this trip’s price).

Alternatively there is an excursion to the nearby (50 kilometres) town of Hermanus where you can visit the local tourist market, numerous arts and craft items, do some shopping, visit a perlemoen or abalone farm, and continue to watch the whales as you walk along the scenic cliff path.

Some superb wines are produced in the beautiful Hemel-en- Aarde valley, and we can sample some of them by following the Hermanus Wine Route.

The Fernkloof Nature Reserve, part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, smallest but richest in the world, in the fynbos-covered mountains that form the backdrop to the town, also offers walks and hikes with splendid views of mountain and sea. Roridula gorgonias, the largest carnivorous plant in the world grows in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve.

DSC 4910s

Day 13

Today we have an excursion to the southernmost tip of the African continent, Cape Agulhas.

We visit the famous Agulhas lighthouse built in 1849 and the nearby memorial marking the southernmost tip of the continent and the geographic meeting point of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

In the colourful harbour of Struisbaai, Giant Stingrays have become accustomed to the fishermen feeding them with the fish discards. We try to attract some of these giants measuring over two meters to the shallow waters near the small pier.

We drive to a small fishing village that bears two names: Arniston or Waenhuiskrans. We visit the magnificent Waenhuiskrans cave, the place responsible for Arniston’s second name, and accessible only at low tide.

MCS 5150s

Day 14

After breakfast and a last good-bye to the whales, we drive back to Cape Town along the scenic, coastal road, via Betty’s Bay where we can visit Hangklip and another small colony of African Penguins.

We head to the Cape Town International Airport by mid-afternoon to check in for our flights home.

DSC 0153-2s

© / Michael Scholl Copyright 2012