Unforgettable Shark Diving and Big Animal Encounters

Trip Reports

South African Shark Safari 2024

By February 8, 2024April 1st, 2024No Comments
Raggedtooth Shark on our Shark Safar in South Africa.

A day by day account of our epic 2024 South African Endemic Shark Diving Safari!

Dive Day 1:
Great first day on our South African Shark Safari. Our first stop was in East London. This area is notorious for bad viz, but its the best/only place in SA where I have seen brown shysharks.
We also saw pajama catsharks (we’ll see tons of those later), and the beautiful East London colour morph of the leopard catshark which in this region has extremely bold leopard-like spots.
And, we got buzzed by the smallest raggedtooth shark I have ever seen, which was only about 80cm long! Fantastic day at sea!
Brown Shyshark - Haploblepharus fuscus. East London, South Africa. Shark Diving Safari.
East London morph Leopard Catshark.
Very small Raggedtooth Shark in East London, South Africa.
Dive Day 2

No sharks today. We wanted to see what would happen if we dropped a bait canister in deep water in the sand far from the reef. We were hoping for a lined catshark which I recorded on a remote cam a few years ago in this spot, but sadly nothing showed up. Our small group of shark fanatics were super keen to try to shoot a species that has never been seen on scuba before even though it was a risk. I love their sense of adventure. We’ll make up for it tomorrow in Port Elizabeth!

Dive Day 3
A fantastic day in South Africa! Last night we moved to Port Elizabeth where the leopard catsharks have completely different markings; here they have a beautiful reticulated pattern.
Raggedtooth and Pyjama Catsharks everywhere. Plus a handful of Spotted Gully Sharks hunting in broad daylight which is very strange for this usually shy and nocturnal species.
Port Elizabeth pyjama catshark.
Raggedtooth Shark in Port Elizabeth. South Africa Shark Safari.
Spotted Gully Shark in Port Elizabeth. South Africa Shark Safari.
Pyjama Catshark in Port Elizabeth. South Africa Shark Safari.
Dive Day 4

More epic South African shark diving in Port Elizabeth today. Excellent catshark action at Riy Banks and then amazing Raggedtooth Shark and Spotted Gully Shark encounters at Shark Alley. Plus, the biggest stingray I’ve ever seen!

Raggedtooth Shark on our Shark Safar in South Africa.
Leopard Catsharks at Riy Banks during our South African Shark Safari.
Diving with a massive shorttail stingray in South Africa.
Dive Day 5

This was our first dive day in Plettenberg Bay. We attracted some pyjama sharks and dark shysharks but the viz was really challenging so we’re going to move on to False Bay in the morning. That will give an extra day with the sevengill sharks 🙂 Flexibility is one of the benefits of running small group trips!

Pyjama Catshark diving in PLettenberg Bay on our South African Shark Safari.
Dive Day 6

Great day in South Africa. We’re now in False Bay diving with Sevengill Sharks, and lots of catsharks. Can’t wait to get back in the water tomorrow!

Sevengill Shark dive in False Bay, South Africa.
Dark shyshark dive in False Bay.
Pyjama catshark dive in False Bay, South Africa.
Sevengill shark dive in False Bay, South Africa.
Dive Day 7

More sevengill action today in False Bay. Plus, many encounters with pyjama catsharks, leopard catsharks, and dark shysharks at Ark Rock which has beautiful backdrops. Fantastic shark diving!

In the evening we went for night dive at Long Beach in False Bay to look for rays. Loads of minuscule baby catsharks, some only 10cm long! And a very cool Biscuit Skate.

Sevengill shark dive in False Bay, South Africa.
Dark shyshark in False Bay.
Diving with leopard catsharks in South Africa.
Biscuit skate at Long Beach, South African Shark Safari.
Night diving with baby catsharks in South Africa.
Dive Day 8

After a dive at Miller’s Point to look for small sharks, we did a Bronze Whaler Shark Dive at Seal Island. Normally, this would be a cage dive but we were able to scuba dive in open water with this iconic species.

We finished the day with another night dive at Long Beach. This time we found two beautiful Backwater Butterfly Rays!

Bronze whaler shark dive in False Bay, South Africa.
Backwater butterfly ray diving in South Africa.
Dive Day 9

This morning we dragged ourselves away from South African endemic sharks an went offshore in search of pelagic sharks. It was a great day with a nice mako and 5 blue sharks!
On the way back into False Bay we stopped at Miller’s Point for a catshark dive. All the usual supects were there, plus we got some great views of a spotted gully shark circling in a cave. In the evening, we returned to Miller’s for a night dive. Usually this would be illegal inside the park, but we managed to get special permission. It was a great dive. As well as lots of catsharks I managed to photograph a Onefin Electric Ray; a rarely encountered species that I have not seen before.

Diving with mako sharks in South Africa.
Diving with blue sharks in South Africa.
Onefin Electric Ray in False Bay, South Africa.
Dive Day 10

Today we did some experimental shark diving in Langebaan on the exposed west coast of South Africa. We found quite a few dark shysharks on the reef but no other species. The dive sites were really colourful, but the water was bitterly cold. Still, it was an interesting adventure! Although not sharks, it was cool seeing lots of hagfish on the reef.

Dark Shyshark diving in Langebaan, South Africa.
Hagfish diving in South Africa.
Langebaan Reef. South Africa.
Dive Day 11

We are back in False Bay to explore some deep reefs and finish the trip with a final night dive.

We started at Pinnacles which is a beautiful site about 25m deep. Every rock is overflowing with an explosion of colour! All the usual catsharks were swimming around but this site is especially packed with Puffadder Shysharks.

Our second day dive was at Miller’s Point – a favourite site where we see plenty of sharks swimming through the kelp.

Then on our final night dive in South Africa, we a sevengill shark following us around the bay, plus a gigantic and very friendly shorttail stingray, another Backwater Butterfly Ray, and to finish the trip in style, I found this teeny-tiny Tiger Catshark pup. That brings our shark count to 12 species on this year’s endemic shark safari. What an epic trip!!!

Puffadder Shyshark dive in South Africa.
Sevengill shark night dive.
Tiger Catshark pup in South Africa.
Big Fish Expeditions South African Endemic Shark Safari 2026

One of the things I love about this trip is that it evolves every time we run it. On our next trip we’re planning to try a new spot between East London and Durban, and another new spot further west. No one else runs this trip, so if you want to see an amazing variety of sharks (big and small) join us in 2026 for the next South African Endemic Shark Safari! Only 4 spots remaining!!!

South African Endemic Shark Diving Safari.