Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Hunting season for the endangered great white shark?

From July to December whales can be seen at the shores of South Africa. Holiday makers who have been in the Kruger National Park and are visiting the Western Cape, will be able to see all the 'BIG SIX' or even the 'BIG SEVEN'.That means besides the Big 5 (lion, buffalo, rhino, leopard and elephant), one can see whales and great white sharks as well.

The most common whale in South African waters are the Southern Right Whales. The hotspot for watching whales is generally Hermanus, but they can also be seen from the most southern tip of Africa, Cape Agulhas, and it's neighbouring town Struisbaai.There are two areas where Great White are spotted, Gansbaai and Mosselbaai.

Approx. 12km offshore from Gansbaai (2hrs drive from Cape Town) there are two islands situated next to each other.Due to a number of geographical reasons - one being the shallow and narrow channel that runs between these two islands - Dyer Island has become known as one of only two unique areas in the world, where the chances to view the great white shark, rises exceptionally high. Other wildlife species such as Cape Fur Seals, Cape Gannets, Cape Cormorants, Jackass penguins, whales and dolphins are also likely to be sighted.Mossel Bay is a very rich area with its abundant sea life of diverse fish, seals, whales, penguins and other sea birds, dolphins, the occasional orca and of course a plentiful supply of the Great White shark.

The best time of the year is in April - September, when the sharks are particularly active in their feeding patterns (80-99%). Even though you still have a good chance of seeing the sharks during the other months (October - February), their feeding patterns are different and sightings are less consistent (80%).


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