With the likes of Kruger National Park and Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa has long drawn in visitors with its abundant wildlife and opulent game lodges; however, South Africa has much more to offer than just game safaris (though they are some of the world's best). If you are travelling to South Africa, why not make it an extraordinary experience with a wildlife encounter that is unlike anything you have experienced:
The first in the world, the Cango Wildlife Ranch in Oudtshoorn has created a new form of extreme wildlife activity and taking inspiration from great white cage-diving has introduced crocodile cage-diving. With each bite a pressure of over two tonnes (four times the pressure of a great white shark bite), this is not for the faint-hearted. As you are lowered into a clear water pool in a bite-proof cage, the four metre long Nile crocodiles will approach the cage, immediately seeing you as their natural prey- providing a blood-pumping, adrenalin-spiking, intensely-thrilling experience.
Shark Alley, a natural sea channel several kilometres off the coast of the small fishing village of Gansbaai (just south of Cape Town), is the ultimate adrenalin junkie destination. This area is home to the largest population of Great White Sharks in the world thanks to the 50,000 Cape fur seals that sun themselves on Dyer Island. As the sharks’ favourite snack, the fast-fined fish trawl the alley in their thousands searching for their next meal. No matter your experience, you can choose between slipping under the water with these deadly creatures in the super-safe cages, or remaining dry and watching from the boat as they glide through the water right next to you. Why not add on to your wildlife encounter with a spot of whale-watching. Anytime between May and December, Southern Right Whales calve and nurse their young, providing the perfect spot to see them swimming along the Gansbaai coast.
A spectacular phenomenon that is even visible by satellite, the world-famous sardine run takes place every year between May and July. Billions of sardinops sagax spawn off Agulhas Bank and then head up the eastern seaboard. The dark cloud of the sardine shoals spreads 15 kilometres long, three and a half kilometres wide, and nearly 40 metres deep. Having swum for more than 30 days to reach the KwaZulu-Natal coast, the sardines are then joined by dolphins, which employ a tactical hunting strategy to herd the shiny fish into densely packed groups, called bait balls, towards the surface. Thus begins the feeding frenzy where dolphins, large fish, sharks, whales, diving sea birds and even fisherman pillage the bait ball from all directions. Watching as the caravan of predators from the earth, sky and water band together, you can enjoy the run from the coast, on the boat deck, or for an absolute once-in-a-lifetime opportunity underwater in the heart of the frenzy.