Migratory Behaviour

Little is known about the migratory behaviour of Great White sharks in Cape Town. Their breeding ground is in Gansbaai in South Africa, which is about two hours outside of Cape Town. The Great White is the only species belonging to the family of mackerel sharks.

We offer daily shark trips in the Gansbaai region, where you get to personally experience these amazing creatures first hand. Nowhere else in the world will you find such an opportunity as this.

Great White Shark Migratory Patterns - South Africa Shark Adventures

Migratory Behaviour Great White Sharks

Researchers used to attach various shark transmitters to the dorsal fins to investigate the migratory behaviour of the largest predator on earth.

The main Great White shark territories are off the coasts of South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Up until now it has always been assumed that they cross the oceans aimlessly in search of food, however new research has shown that they have a fixed timetable whereby males are in search of a suitable female or vice versa. This could very well explain why some sharks are known to travel over 11,000 km.

The greatest danger posed to Great Whites when crossing oceans is the numerous fishing fleets, by which they are often killed as bycatch. Overfishing of the world's oceans has reduced Great White numbers by about 80% over the last 10 years. Research groups from universities in Cape Town claim that only about 500 White Sharks are native to the coast of Gansbaai. What is known is that their breeding ground is found here.

Various shark species are monitored and tracked by the International Union for Conservation of Nature - IUCN. This organization is the founder of the '' Red List '' of endangered species. The German Federal Ministry for Environment and Nature Conservation is a member of the IUCN organization which is active worldwide.

The winter months of South Africa mark the optimal time period in which to observe these magnificent predators. The Great White can however be visited all year round in the Gansbaai area near Cape Town.

During the months of August to December, Great Whites can be found off the coast of California, where they enjoy a generous offering of sea lions and seals during this period.

Towards the end of December, they travel approximately 4,000 km towards Hawaii, where they remain until July. On their journey around the world, they swim over 70 km per day and swim at depths from 0 to 300 metres. It was also discovered that they reside in higher water temperatures. It is in winter time that they converge in Gansbaai, Cape Town, where they give birth to their young.

The sharks are constantly on the lookout for prey around Dyer Island and Geyser Rock, where numerous seal calves are born at this time. Their menu also consists of penguins which inhabit the bird sanctuary, Dyer Island.

Also playing an important role is the '' Sardine Run '', when millions of sardines hit Cape Agulhas at the beginning of winter. Numerous whales, orcas, dolphins and other predatory fish take part in the festivities as well. It is difficult to estimate when exactly the sardine run will take place.

Located in the middle of the Pacific is the famous '' Great White Cafe '' where increasing numbers of males and females gather. Marine researchers believe that the Great Whites gather here for mating purposes; however nothing is actually known about the love life of the great predator and has not as yet been filmed.

Despite the reduction in Great White stocks, you can still experience a shark trip off the coast of South Africa and witness the oceans largest predator. Own transport can be made use of upon request; otherwise we will pick you up directly from your accommodation. For all hobby divers we would recommend water safaris of 2 or 3 days.

Since South Africa is the only country in the world where Big 6 or even Big 7 tours (whales in the winter months) are possible, you can discover our planets largest land and water animals within three days of travel.

Dolphins Cape Town Day Tours

We would love to host you on a round trip to the African animal kingdom, where you can observe lions, buffaloes, elephants, leopards, rhinoceroses, white sharks, whales (only between June and late November), cheetahs, giraffes and many other wild animals. With a stroke of luck you will also get to observe dolphins on your water safaris, which can be found along the South African Atlantic or Indian Ocean coast all year round.
The prime viewing point is between Camps Bay and Clifton, where the "Cowboys of the Seas" are often seen playing in the waves.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us should you require further information on cage diving.

Your Cape Town Shark Tours Team


Contact for Migratory Behaviour